Waking up – tourism, climate change and the SDGs

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  1. Waking up – tourism, climate change and the SDGs Prof Susanne Becken Griffith Institute for Tourism 2. Part I: Does tourism contribute to the Sustainable Development…
  • 1. Waking up – tourism, climate change and the SDGs Prof Susanne Becken Griffith Institute for Tourism
  • 2. Part I: Does tourism contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?
  • 3. Best practice – Reducing carbon
  • 4. Best practice – Poverty alleviation
  • 5. Best practice – Partnerships New Zealand’s Tiaki Promise was launched by seven organisations from Government and industry to provide a platform for promoting responsible tourism behaviour.
  • 6. UNWTO: “Public and private sector are committed to SDGs…” Are they?
  • 7. Streetlight effect?
  • 8. www.tourismdashboard.org
  • 9. Poverty Alleviation?
  • 10. Dispersion of Tourism and Equity?
  • 11. Carbon Emissions (aviation)
  • 12. Part II: Climate change An existential risk to humanity (The Club of Rome, 2018)
  • 13. We have 12 years left before reaching 1.5˚ C warmin Decarbonisation is urgent and must start now. Adaptation is inevitable and needs to be embedde in business.
  • 14. https://www.climateinteractive.org/programs/scoreboard/ Emission pathways
  • 15. “Given the importance of Travel & Tourism to the world economy and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the growing imperative to address climate change in a meaningful way, WTTC and UNFCCC are delighted to work together towards a carbon neutral world“. WTTC https://www.wttc.org/- /media/files/declarations/unfccc-climate-change.pdf
  • 16. Part III: Change More than a nudge
  • 17. Growth paradigm, capitalism and structures - Function of capitalism (return on capital must grow): M – C – M’ - Often embedded in neoliberalism (free markets, minimum Govt intervention) - Concentration of capital creates (reinforces) elites - Social Dominance Theory suggests that people with power will always seek more of the desirable things they have at the expense of their subordinates.
  • 18. Tourism firmly embedded in growth (for growth’s sake?) Brandalism campaign, 2016 COP Paris
  • 19. UNWTO, WTTC, IATA etc. Members and partners Respond to members’ aims of economic growth by: • Disseminating data on tourism arrivals and expenditure. • Investing into growth-focused programs. • Advocating for growth-oriented policies with Governments. • Linking with global providers for development finance. • Supporting sustainable tourism with a focus on sustainable growth. Embedded in neoliberal paradigm and growth narrative by: • Producing and demanding growth-related tourism statistics. • Applying for membership to be part of ‘elite’ and obtain preferential access to information and resources. • Requesting finance and other support for development. Academics, NGOs… Subscribe to agenda by: • Co-producing reports • Providing consultancy to growth-oriented programs • Working within accepted parameters and norms Institutions / players
  • 20. Measures of success need to change Government: GDP Tourism managers: arrivals, expenditure Companies: profit, shareholder return Well-being Net benefit of tourism Value creation
  • 21. Well-being as the outcome OECD How’s Life and New Zealand Treasury Living Standards Dashboard (2018). Tourism uses capital(s) to produce services, e.g.: • Development • Land use change • “Social license” • Ecosystem services Tourism rebuilds capital(s), e.g.: • Staff training • Cultural activities • Ecosystem restoration • Carbon offsetting Anna Pollock: Moving from Tourism as an EXTRACTIVE Industry to a REGENERATIVE Industry
  • 22. Disruption and redistribution of power - Collaborative economy, new business models - Cooperatives (capital owned by community) and social entrepreneurs - Circular economy, dematerialisation, decroissance
  • 23. Role of Media – mirror of society or shaping discourse?
  • 24. - Tourism’s carbon footprint increased by 14% between 2009 and 2013, despite reductions in carbon intensity of 12.9% (Lenzen et al., 2017). - Focus on technological efficiency and not behavioural change -> conservation of resources. Moving from incrementalism to profound behavioural change
  • 25. Incentive structures Global advertising budget of US$ 584 billion in 2017 (tourism included). In 2021, the advertisement industry will collectively spend US$757 billion (Statista, 2018) Award schemes???
  • 26. Focusing on positive outcomes
  • 27. - Strongly driven by industry interests (example: CORSIA – IATA & ICAO) - All-too-often reactive and short-term – risk adverse, i.e. by definition mainstream and not revolutionary - Tourism Ministries rarely develop specific climate policy nor do they connect to national climate policies/targets - Increasingly controlled by outside interests (think cruise ships) Tourism policy and governance
  • 28. Local control – including representation of nature
  • 29. Based on L. Dwyer and A. Pollock
  • 30. Why do Academics not speak up? Assuming they believe the current system has failed.
  • 31. External and internal barriers to communicate ‘collapse’ - Difficult to swim against the tide and challenge established leaders, narratives, textbook arguments - Scientists want to be 100% sure (see IPCC process) and avoid ‘panic’; messages need to give hope (i.e. implicit self-censorship) - It is easier to frame the “challenge as one of encouraging people to try harder to be nicer and better, rather than coming together in solidarity to either undermine or overthrow a system that demands we participate in environmental degradation” (Bendall, 2018) - Identity: in particular those involved in sustainability where “self-worth is dependent on the perspective that progress on sustainability is possible and that we are part of that progressive process” (Bendall, 2018)
  • 32. THANK YOU Prof Susanne Becken | s.becken@griffith.edu.au
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