I work in tourism. I declare a climate emergency

I work in tourism. I declare a climate emergency.

So there I was, on the train from Stockholm Central Station, heading towards Arlanda Airport for a flight to the Azores, when I read the blogpost from Jeremy Smith, Tourism, Climate Change (and why I feel like a fraud). I was on my way to the Azores to participate on a panel, with the title, Slow Travel and Changing Consumer Demands. I was to fly from Stockholm via Lisbon to Terceira Island and back, to speak and have an opinion on a subject, which I myself was the exact opposite of.

In the end I was to spend less than 48 hours in Terceira…Yes, I felt like a fraud too and a hypocrite. Especially since I had contemplated this a few times over before eventually deciding on going there in the end.

I work in tourism and I love to travel, while I’m also very passionate about sustainability. The simple way of looking at this is to say that it is a contradiction. How can anything be sustainable if it involves flying? The easy and short answer is that nothing can ever be considered sustainable when it involves some sort of emission of greenhouse gases. But from a holistic perspective on sustainability in tourism and travel, there is more sustainable tourism and there’s less sustainable tourism. Not all trips are bad, while a majority of trips certainly aren’t good. But this isn’t about justifying my own trips and love for travel. But I do love to travel and I won’t stop doing it.

Maybe it is the Viking blood flowing through my veins, that constantly want to explore new places, meeting new cultures, admiring new landscapes and animals? I identify myself with it and it is a big part of me. I can’t stop doing what I love and what I’m passionate about. But this isn’t a justification. I can still make a difference and I can make a change for the better, because even though I love travel and I’m passionate about it, I love my kids even more, and it is their future that I’m mostly passionate and care about.

I work in tourism. I declare a climate emergency.

In my line of work as an advisor and consultant on sustainable tourism development I’m spending a good deal of my work outside of the office, which requires me to travel. Thankfully most of my travel is within Sweden and the Nordic region, whereby train travel is many times a good and the best option, but not always.

I do my part to be as sustainable as possible. When it comes to everyday life where I ride my bike as much as possible, I’m careful with everyday purchases, choosing suppliers for services like renewable energy, I recycle thoroughly, do the composting and I cut out meat several years ago, I’m being a “pragmatic vegan”, being conscious about purchases of clothing and other gear. But I fly. I take more flights than the average person in Sweden does and this is my main challenge and obstacle, which makes me a bit of a hypocrite, which I’m very honest about.

The beauty of having the privilege to speak and educate the youth of today means that you’re constantly scrutinized and questioned. This is what you tell us, but what about yourself…What do you do? I fly too much and it is something that is eating at me, and I share this in class. My flying comes from work and I don’t really want to fly in my spare time as I associate it with work. My challenge isn’t cutting down on leisure flights, it’s related to flying through work. I try to tell myself that there might be some justification in flying, when I can actually do something good with it, such as educating, influencing and raising awareness in a room of students, travel and tourism professionals and consumers, to make better choices and to teach them on holistic sustainable tourism.

It’s about making something good of your travels and the emissions that you cause, but it’s not a justification and a free pass for binge-flying. I have to do more to reduce my number of flights and the emissions they cause. I work in tourism. I declare a climate emergency.

I accept the current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming.

This is my Climate Emergency Plan for 2020,

  • I will continue to take flights for work when needed, but I will reduce these, with the aim of reduction to at least 25% less flights in 2020.
  • I will continue to offset all flights for work, which I’ve done since the start of Fair Travel, but where I aim to double offset these flights in 2020.
  • I will travel by train as much as possible through work when time permits and it is a possibility.
  • I will try to conduct more presentations and educational assignments through online video tools in order to avoid unnecessary flights.
  • I will continue to educate and raise awareness on climate change and advocate for sustainable tourism that has a positive effect, in lectures, keynotes, interviews and talks.
  • I will encourage my industry contacts to also declare and publish their Climate Emergency Plans, starting now…

If you’re reading this, and you work in tourism, please visit Tourism Declares. Over the course of 2020 we’re aiming to encourage and enable as many travel businesses, organisations and individuals as possible to declare a climate emergency, develop and publish their Climate Emergency Plans.

Sustainability Management

Sustainability Management

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020 and businesses within the tourism and travel sector had to start letting people go, permanently or on furlough. YrkesAkademin, a higher vocational, professional level, distance learning educator, acted quickly.

The Pandemic as an opportunity for sustainability?

They saw this as an opportunity to provide educational opportunities for these people to make use of the time to further educated and build competence. With the evident signs shown by increasing interest and demand in sustainability, they contacted Fair Travel, to assist them in putting together a 10 week educational program on sustainable tourism, to get started in short notice.

On May 25th 2020 the first course started, with 30 tourism professionals in management positions. The educational program was based on the official GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program, but as a hybrid that also was to provide training in practical application of the content.

Close to 100 tourism professionals being trained in less than a year!

During three courses from May 25th 2020 until March 17th 2021, roughly 90 tourism professionals in Sweden participated with much appreciation and positive feedback. A majority of these participants also went through and took the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program exam in order to hopefully pass and become certified officially by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Demand is still high in participation and as of this time, YrkesAkademin has applied to get funding for further starts. As of now, the decision is TBD.

Find out more about the course here.

Sustainable Destination Development in Dalarna

Sustainable Destination Development in Dalarna

Fair Travel was employed as an expert sustainability consultant by Visit Dalarna to conduct destination assessments and advisory during the period 2019-2022.

With the aim to assist Visit Dalarna and its 15 municipalities, to further their sustainability actions, Fair Travel is doing destination assessments, based on the GSTC Destination Program, to highlight the strengths and challenges, in order to provide advice and actions in order to become more sustainable.

Make Dalarna one of the most sustainable places to live and visit

Visit Dalarna aim to conduct these destination assessments and GAP-analysis in all municipalities in order to make the whole of Dalarna one of the most sustainable destinations in Sweden for both inhabitants and visitors.

Businesses the center of attention

As part of the assignment, Fair Travel is also conducting sustainability advisory towards the tourism enterprises in the region, passing on the knowledge to the Visit Dalarna staff, in order to incorporate sustainable development in all tourism businesses in Dalarna. By visiting the entrepreneurs on their home turf, discussing sustainability and exemplifying it within their operations and providing them with advise on further improvements.

As mentioned, Fair Travel makes use of the GSTC Criteria for both destinations and businesses, and the GSTC Roadmap for Sustainable Destinations. Jonasson & Son assist Fair Travel on this assignment.

Read more about the project here.

Costa Rica educational trip 2017

Costa Rica educational trip 2017

Due to the success from the previous educational trip in 2016, Fair Travel, Travel Excellence and Air France KLM, organized another trip in November 2017 for the Nordic travel trade. Once again the trip went to Costa Rica focused on community, conservation and sustainable tourism development. The participants was introduced to sustainability and was showcased how it works in practice.

The educational trip went back to Costa Rica due to the great support from the previous trip and to highlight the direct KLM flight from Amsterdam to San José in Costa Rica.

10 operators from the Nordic travel trade participated once again on the trip, and on this edition, there were more lectures incorporated in the program and creative breakout sessions for workshops and discussions in order to establish that the new-found knowledge was taken in and to agree on a plan forward.

Several properties in Costa Rica supported the trip in order to make it successful and making sure to share their knowledge and experience of sustainability.

Fair Travel as key partner

Many of the participants had no prior experience to sustainability and the trip therefore opened their eyes and introduced them to the concept. They were therefore introduced to it from the start in Amsterdam, as we were all invited, behind the scene, to the KLM Catering Service Center, to see the details of the impressive sustainability practices that is set in place for all the flights. A solid and impressive operation to say the least.

Together - Air France KLM, Travel Excellence and Fair Travel introduced all the participants to sustainable tourism development on the trip, where each property and activity in the program, then followed suit, presenting their sustainability work both in presentation but also by showcasing it in practice.

Theory mixed with practical application and continuous discussions allowed them to get acquainted with sustainable tourism development that will hopefully lead to change in their personal lives and within their businesses.

Costa Rica educational trip 2016

Costa Rica educational trip 2016

Fair Travel, in cooperation with partners Travel Excellence and Air France KLM, organized and led a famtrip for Nordic travel trade in October 2016, highlighting Costa Rica with a strong emphasize on community, conservation and sustainable tourism development. The participants was introduced to sustainability and was showcased how it works in practice.

The famtrip came about in order to highlight the inauguration of the seasonal direct flight from Paris to San José in Costa Rica, commencing in November 2016.

10 agents from the Nordic travel trade participated on the trip. Air France wanted to highlight the flight and Costa Rica as a destination, whereby Fair Travel partner, Travel Excellence partnered as the organizers on the ground in Costa Rica.

Several properties in Costa Rica supported the trip in order to make it successful and making sure to share their knowledge and experience of sustainability.

Emphasizing sustainability

Fair Travel has continuously approached various partners in order to include sustainability, through theoretical information and practical application, on the traditional famtrips, and this turned out to be the one. The itinerary and concept was therefore focused on community, conservation and sustainable tourism development.

Fair Travel as key partner

Together with Travel Excellence, Fair Travel introduced all the participants to sustainable tourism development on the first day in San José, where each property then followed suit, presenting their sustainability work both in presentation but also by showcasing it in practice. Many of the participants had no prior experience to sustainability and the trip therefore opened their eyes and introduced them to the concept. Theory mixed with practical application and continuous discussions allowed them to get acquainted with sustainable tourism development.

 

Sustainable Tourism Management

Sustainable Tourism Management

Fair Travel was employed by Frans Schartau Business Institute to investigate the possibility to start an education on sustainable tourism management for tourism professionals. The application was finalized in 2014 and the one of its kind education in Sweden will start up in November 2015 where Fair Travel will be heavily involved in the planning and running of the education. Frans Schartau Business Institute i a prestigious and renowned education institute, focusing on higher vocational education. In 2015, the institute is celebrating 150 years of successful business.

Having been part of a similar process before with the education Business Developer for Sustainable Tourism, the idea of this application and new distance learning program was to really create a unique education that answer to the needs of the tourism industry. In order to tailor the content and setup to match the demand, the application was written based on meetings and feedback from several tourism and travel professional in leading positions, in Sweden and abroad.

Build sustainability within the industry

Through meetings with the industry, there was an early decision to focus fully on an education that target tourism professionals who seek to further develop their skills and build additional knowledge within the industry. A unison agreement was that there is a lack of knowledge pertaining to sustainable development within the industry, while at the same time there is a growing demand for more sustainable practices. By being able to combine ordinary daily work with education at a distance, the participants can directly apply their newfound skills on their workplace and therefore create a win-win situation for all parties involved. The objective is to make an education that can really start to change the tourism and travel industry to take responsibility and to work according to sustainable practices for a better future.

Fair Travel as key partner

Together with Frans Schartau Institute, Fair Travel held a key role with Sustainable Tourism Management in order to keep the quality and content at the necessary high level. Jeppe Klockareson was elected as Chairman of the Steering Committee for Sustainable Tourism Management. The objective was to make an education that could really start to change the tourism and travel industry to take responsibility and to work according to sustainable practices for a better future.

A press release was distributed on the 17th June 2015 and can be read in Swedish here and in English here.

Tourism, Travel and Sustainable Development

Tourism, Travel and Sustainable Development

Back in 2006 I arranged and conducted a full-day seminar in Stockholm, in collaboration with Frans Schartau Business Institute, Basecamp Explorer and the Swedish Ecotourism Society. This event initiated the return in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Frans Schartau Business Institute took the initiative to organize the conference again in 2010 at Quality Hotel Globe in Stockholm, with the objective to inspire by using successful examples from the tourism and travel industry. Fair Travel participated as a speaker via video link from Chile.

When it was time to further develop the seminar and stage it in 2011, Fair Travel was handed the responsibility to manage the project and put together the program and structure. This resulted in an event, which took place in January 28, 2011 at the Quality Hotel Globe in Stockholm, with nearly 220 participants during the full-day workshop, which was created with minimal financial resources and volunteer work.

15 stakeholders

The 2012 edition was a jointly funded event, where fifteen stakeholders provided a financial foundation for the preparations. The aim was to take the next step on the road to become the natural meeting place for the Swedish tourism and travel industry to develop a more sustainable future. Both nationally and internationally.

The event was led by the experienced TV-host and journalist, Joachim Vogel, and provided the 140 participants with inspiring stories and discussions. The theme was to inspire for change.

Business developer for sustainable tourism

Business developer for sustainable tourism

Fair Travel was employed for three consecutive years as a responsible tourism expert by Akademi Båstad, a higher vocational education in the south of Sweden. Akademi Båstad wanted to explore the idea of starting up a new education on sustainable development in tourism and therefore needed the expertise.

As an experienced lecturer and with insight in the tourism industry of Sweden, the idea and initiative was very positive and interesting. There’s a lack of knowledge about sustainability in the industry today while also, there’s a huge gap that needs to be filled by educations to both provide the knowledge through future staff but also to link the educational world with the needs of the industry.

No demand for sustainability?

Three consecutive applications was submitted over three years, where the authorities claimed that there was no need for this knowledge and that the industry isn’t in demand for it. Outrageous claims as studies, reports and industry interviews beg to differ. The previous application was rejected in January 2012 and with that in mind, I wrote a critical article on the issue as a guest columnist in Travel Report, in May 2012. Read it here. The last application written in 2012 was was finally approved in January 2013 and the first class started in September 2013.

Fair Travel part of the management team

Fair Travel was part of the management team for the new education together with other important players from the national tourism and travel industry, with a mission to secure the content and quality of the course.
Do you want to influence, change and make a difference?

The course provided knowledge of work processes, which permeates all levels to achieve sustainable development. Education is required in order to meet increased demands in the future.

Work placement

Work placement allowed development of knowledge and skills in collaboration with one or more companies.

SMURF

SMURF

The SMURF-project is a joint initiative between Fair Travel, Wild Sweden and the Swedish Centre for Nature Interpretation with an aim to explore the possibilities of securing a quality assurance on guiding in Sweden.

The background and need to the initiative can be found in the non-existing guide certification in Sweden. The quality of the various guides that host and lead tourists in Sweden is therefore hard to ensure. The pilot-project investigated what can be found in terms of educations and the need and interest for a certification of safari guides in Sweden.

Conclusion

The conclusion of the project is that there is indeed many different educations catering for future guides but there seem to be a lack for proper training for guides within the industry to enhance quality and status. It also seems that the industry response is positive, which would make a new safari guide course possible, with an aim to raise the quality of guiding interpretation in the Swedish Nature, but also to be used as a tool for quality assurance.

The baseline of this project has led way to the implementation of a certification for nature guides in Sweden, under the management of FUN – Föreningen för nationell Utbildningsform för Naturguider.

TREBLE

TREBLE

The TREBLE – Triple Bottom Line (3BL) Approach in Sustainable Tourism Development in the Baltic Sea Region project is a 12-month assessment program started in November 2013 and is based on the awareness of the huge potential of the tourism sector to contribute to the EU 2020 and European Blue Growth agenda in terms of smart and sustainable growth, and to bring forward sustainable rural development that ensures quality of life and employment opportunities in rural settings of the Baltic Sea Region aimed at SMMEs.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The initiative builds on results from previous activities and programs on Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR and Sustainable Tourism Development, through Swedish Institute partnerships and EU funded projects. The results showcase the needs for practical application and tools for sustainable tourism development and effective types of incentives when promoting CSR activities, in the Baltic Sea Region.

Fostering a green economy

TREBLE – 3BL for sustainable tourism development in the BSR has been developed with the view to implement the CBSS Strategy on Sustainable Development 2010 – 2015 under the main area of cooperation “Sustainable Urban Rural development” and “Development of sustainable tourism strategies” as well as its contribution to fostering a green economy in the Baltic Sea Region that ensures smart and sustainable growth that allows for economic profit while respecting social and environmental needs and boundaries.

Project aim

TREBLE is primarily being developed to assess and analyze the need to build knowledge and capacity among relevant players in the tourism sector on sustainable tourism development in the Baltic Sea Region. Aimed at small, medium and micro sized enterprises, SMMEs, the project is focusing on the application of a triple bottom line approach for a sustainable tourism development in cooperation with relevant travel trade organizations and other stakeholders in the region.
Establishing cross-border network

The project seeks to extend the already existing but fragmented networks of relevant actors with the aim to also establish a relevant network of partners for a second phase, larger project application, to showcase, develop and implement solutions that will not only help SMMEs comply with the ever increasing demands, but also demonstrate that sustainable tourism development based on a 3BL approach, doesn’t necessary mean an additional burden, but increases productivity/profitability while protecting environmental and social values.