May 2007, Issue 88
calls for promoting sustainable tourism practices and
in Central and Eastern Europe
The World Tourism
Organization (UNWTO/OMT), a specialized agency of the United Nations,
is a leading international organization in the field of tourism. It
serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and practical source
of tourism know-how.
growth in Europe has exceeded expectations over the last three years,
with the Baltic States outstanding as strong performers. UNWTO's
long-term global forecast of 4% yearly growth until 2020 is likely
to be matched or even exceeded in this region, assuming that GDP
growth is maintained. Particularly Lithuania has experienced a considerable
increase of both its share of arrivals and receipts within Central
and Eastern Europe.
This strong economic
performance in Central and Eastern Europe goes hand in hand with
the increasing recognition of ensuring sustainable growth in its
environmental, social and economic dimensions, based on solid institutional
and management structures.
These issues were addressed
during the International Seminar on Sustainable Development
of Tourism in Central and Eastern Europe organized by UNWTO
and hosted by Lithuania, from 28 February-1 March, 2007 in the capital
in Vilnius. The event brought together more than 200 participants
from 20 European countries, ranging from tourism policy makers,
managers at national, regional and destination levels, private sector
and academia representatives.
The principles of sustainable
development, as often expressed through Sustainable Development
Strategies, have been embraced by most countries and are finding
their way into national policies.
UNWTO considers the
need for policy-makers to regard the Travel & Tourism sector
as a social activity which cross-relates to vital sectors of the
economy, with important implications and effects on areas such as
employment, transport or infrastructure. Therefore the general sustainability
approach should also be streamlined into tourism policies, bearing
in mind the steady growth of tourism in the coming years.
This favourable inbound
and revenue perspective should foster the initiative to further
develop the natural and cultural resources of Central and Eastern
Europe. These assets represent a basis for sustainable tourism.
The challenge for policy-makers lies in managing the increasing
development pressure in the area, which might pose a threat to natural
and cultural resources.
The achievement of
sustainability - as a balance between environmental, economic and
social aspects - has to build on a set of institutional and management
structures. Therefore creating a solid institutional framework,
which in itself is a long-term process, is a necessary condition
to reach sustainability objectives.
Among the specific
challenges underscored, the Seminar paid particular attention to:
- reducing the seasonality
- maintaining and
enhancing community prosperity in the face of change,
- minimising resource
use and the production of waste; and
- conserving and giving
value to natural and cultural heritage.
The key conclusions
of this UNWTO Seminar are varied and comprise general and specific
aspects, among which the following stood out:
is a cross-border task: Regional co-operation is relevant
to improve the results, as the Pan Baltic approach demonstrates.
The participation of a number of institutions and networking processes
could turn this region into a pilot area for cooperative sustainable
and tools: Experts underline the critical importance
of effective land use planning and development control. These
types of measures must be backed by effective legal empowerment.
measures: Standards and recognition through certification,
such as the Blue Flag award scheme, have proven to be a useful
approach. This example proves the success of a high profile awareness
scheme amongst tourists, which in turn persuades destinations
to maintain required standards.
patterns and behaviour: In order to decrease seasonality
and other negative impacts, demand can be influenced at the source,
for instance through the staggering of school holidays or similar
measures. At the same time, consumer behaviour can also be influenced
by the nature of the product, for example by improving the design,
standards and presentation of accommodation.
success: The tracking of the results of the steps taken
serves as a feedback on the implemented measures and policies
and are an important step towards achieving sustainability. As
this will require regular surveys, the authorities will have to
commit and provide the needed resources.
trade-offs: The effect of climate change might have specific
implications for the pattern of demand, the location of new development
and pressure on natural resources. While natural areas can host
diverse activities, some of these might in turn threaten the environment
or even conflict with each other. These trade-offs need to be
addressed by improved management plans.
- Rural impact:
Tourism can make a strong socio-economic contribution in rural
areas, such as substantive complementary income alongside more
traditional activities. The quality of tourism services in rural
areas need to be improved, alongside with the know-how in small
tourism businesses and staff training in many protected areas
with little experience of tourism.
heritage: Uncontrolled tourism development can have negative
impacts on cultural heritage sites, but if adequately planned
and managed it can promote awareness and support for their conservation,
provide business opportunities for local residents and a high
quality experience for tourists.
The way forward
All these key conclusions
and aspects lead to the challenges facing the development of sustainable
The Seminar concluded
that there is a need not to repeat past mistakes from developments
in other parts of Europe, where the short-term perspectives of increasing
revenues prevented sound planning and protection, hence making a
sustainable approach much more difficult or even less likely.
In this regard, the
European Union's Tourism Sustainability Group, also supported by
UNWTO, has set out a policy and action framework in order to make
tourism more sustainable in Europe.
The experts gathered
at the UNWTO Seminar agreed for the clear need to create sustainable
tourism strategies, which have to involve all stakeholders in the
process, both at a national and local level. Furthermore, strategies
at different levels must relate to each other and be mutually consistent.
UNWTO considers that
there is considerable room for improvement and a real chance to
build principles of sustainability into the design and implementation
of tourism policies.
our next Season Event:
a few seats left ...
An immersed experience of a Do-Tank
May 29 & 30, 2007
Max. 20 Delegates
Registration fee: € 1.300, 980 or 300
LAB Registration at
Moderated by Humberto
Schwab, Director, Club of Amsterdam,
Innovation Philosopher and the Thought Leaders
Laurence Desarzens, urban communicator, beatmap.com
Media & communication specialist for lifestyle companies
Paul F.M.J. Verschure, ICREA research professor, Technology
Department, University Pompeu Fabra
Psychologist. Specialist for wheeled and flying robots, interactive
spaces and avatars
Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Director, Yahoo! Research
Specialist for content and structure organization of a website
and for blogs, vlogs and social networks
Rudy de Waele, Founder, M-trends.org
Wireless communication expert
about the future of Tourism
world's biggest industry ever -- but poorly managed for the environment
by Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental
Tourism is the worlds biggest industry -- indeed the biggest
the planet has ever seen -- and it is growing rapidly. The number
of international tourists worldwide grew from 170 million in 1971
to 635 million in 1998, while the amount they spent soared from
US$ 21 billion to US$ 439 billion. By 2020, the World Tourism Organisation
predicts, 1.5 billion of them will be spending $2 trillion a year
-- or over $5 billion every day. Meanwhile, at least three times
as many people take holidays within their own countries, predominantly
in developed nations. Tourism is a big, sometimes dominant, contributor
to the GDPs of many nations, such as small island developing countries.
It already accounts for a quarter of the total economy of the Caribbean,
and provides a fifth of all its jobs.
List of University Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Programs
The International Ecotourism Society has made available a global
list of university degree programs and courses dedicated to ecotourism
and sustainable tourism.
of Amsterdam blog
of Amsterdam blog
in a reader
and New Media
Future of the Web
about the Future
World Future Council
The World Future Council is a new voice in the global political
arena one that draws on our shared human values to champion
the rights of future generations, and works to ensure that humanity
acts now for a sustainable future.
Despite having the means to tackle many of the problems we currently
face, the existing global system of governance has so far seemed
incapable of addressing them, often failing to adopt available solutions.
The World Future Council will identify and promote successful policies,
using existing networks to connect with over 25,000 parliamentarians,
and more than 8,000 civil society organizations worldwide, arguing
not for an ideology or a nation or a religion or a political party
but for one thing only: our common future.
Technology that scans
and reads printed material to the blind is nothing new, but this
personal reader is the first handheld device to do the job. Combining
a state-of-the-art digital camera with a personal data assistant,
the KurzweilNational Federation of the Blind Reader puts the
best available character recognition software together with text-to-speech
conversion technology, all in the palm of your hand.
Hold the Readers
camera over print - a restaurant menu, directions, or a memo from
your boss - and snap a picture. In seconds you can hear the contents
of the printed document in clear synthetic speech. Scan, read, and
discard pages; store them for later reading; or transfer to a computer
or Braille-aware PDA. The Reader even has a headphone jack so you
wont disturb your neighbors.
Energy: A Framework for Decision Makers
The fast-growing bioenergy
industry offers many opportunities, but also involves a number of
trade-offs and risks, the United Nations said today in its most
comprehensive review of the likely impact of the emerging bioenergy
environmental and social impacts of bioenergy development must be
assessed carefully before deciding if and how rapidly to develop
the industry and what technologies, policies and investment strategies
to pursue, the report warned.
Energy: A Framework for Decision Makers
was prepared by UN-Energy, a group of all UN agencies programmes
and organizations working in the area of energy. It was sponsored
by the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Purpose of the study
was to help ensure that the energy needs of people are met
and the local and global environment is adequately protected,
said UN-Energy Chair Mats Karlsson of the World Bank. We hope
to use the collective strength of the UN system to affect change.
pointed out the many benefits of bioenergy systems in relation to
poverty alleviation, access to energy services, rural development
and rural infrastructure. It reviewed the likely impact of bioenergy
in terms of food security, climate change, biodiversity and natural
resources, employment and trade. It also identified the vital points
decision makers need to consider and stressed that, Unless
new policies are enacted to protect threatened lands, secure socially
acceptable land use, and steer bioenergy development in a sustainable
direction overall, the environmental and social damage could in
some cases outweigh the benefits.
In an apparent reference
to the use of some grains as a biofuel feedstock, UN-Energy noted,
In general, crops that require high fossil energy inputs (such
as conventional fertilizer) and valuable (farm) land, and that have
relatively low energy yields per hectare, should be avoided.
even sustainably"-produced energy crops could have negative
impacts if they replaced primary forests, resulting in large
releases of carbon from the soil and forest biomass that negate
any benefits from biofuels for decades, the report said.
To minimize greenhouse
gas emissions associated with bioenergy production, policy makers
needed to safeguard virgin grasslands, primary forests and other
lands with high nature value, UN-Energy recommended. Governments
should also encourage the use of sustainable bioenergy production
and management practices. An international certification scheme,
including greenhouse gas verification, should be set up to ensure
that bioenergy products, and biofuels in particular, meet environmental
standards all the way from fields to fuel tanks.
On food security, the
report said that the availability of adequate food supplies could
be threatened by biofuel production as land, water and other resources
were diverted from food production. Similarly, food access could
be compromised by higher basic food prices resulting from increased
bioenergy feedstock demand, thus driving the poor and food insecure
into even greater poverty.
On the other
hand the market for biofuel feedstock offers new and rapidly growing
opportunity for agricultural producers, the report said. Modern
bioenergy could make energy services more widely and cheaply available
in remote rural areas, supporting productivity growth in agriculture
and other sectors with positive implications for food availability
Modern bioenergy can
also help to meet the needs of the 1.6 billion people worldwide
who lack access to electricity in their homes, and the 2.4 billion
who rely on straw, dung and other traditional biomass fuels to meet
their energy requirements.
Overall, in taking
decisions, policy makers should ensure that food security
considerations are given priority, the report stressed.
Bringing down trade
was critical of tariff barriers currently erected against ethanol
imports by some countries.
Impeding imports of
more efficiently produced biofuels from abroad while simultaneously
mandating the blending of biofuel with fossil fuels at home could
divert more land than necessary from food production, it said.
As to the
implications for agriculture in general, the report noted that,
At their best, liquid biofuel products can enrich farmers
by helping to add value to their products. But at their worst, biofuel
programmes can result in concentration of ownership that could drive
the worlds poorest farmers off their land and into deeper
the biofuel economy of the future will be characterized by
a mix of production types, some dominated by large, capital-intensive
businesses, some marked by farmer co-ops that compete with large
companies ... and some where liquid biofuels are produced on a smaller
scale and used locally.
the scale of production, however, one thing is clear: the more involved
farmers are in the production, processing and use of biofuels, the
more likely they are to share in the benefits.
UN-Energy said that modern bioenergy held out the promise of dramatically
reducing the death toll caused in developing countries by the kitchen
killer smoke inhalation from cooking with fuelwood
or traditional biomass, which is responsible for more fatalities
each year than malaria. Women could also be freed from the drudgery
of collecting firewood, thus providing them with greater opportunities
for education and employment.
future of Tourism
31 , 2007
Antoniesbreestraat 16, 1011 HB Amsterdam [Next to Nieuwmarkt]
for € 30, € 20 [discount] or € 10 [students]
Managing Director, Tourism Futures Institute
The Future Trends in Tourism: Global Perspectives
Wybren Meijer, Futureconsult
Main Drivers in the Future of Tourism
Director, Switzerland Tourism, The Netherlands
Switzerland's reaction to the climate change challenge
Marc Bolick, Dmarc8 International
The Web and Tourism: The Future of Online Travel
Moderated by Joep
Partner & Consultant, X-markt
Change in the European Alps: Adapting Winter Tourism and Natural Hazards
by Shardul Agrawala
This report presents the first systematic cross-country analysis of
the effects of climate change on snow-reliability in the European
Alps. Following some of the warmest years on record in the last 500
years, climate model projections show even greater changes in the
region in coming decades. Less snow at low altitudes and receding
glaciers and melting permafrost higher up will have a significant
impact on snow tourism activities, and on the management of natural
hazards. The implications of the assessment extend beyond the European
Alps to other mountain systems which may face similar climate and
contextual challenges, for example in North America, Australia and
discover new life in the Antarctic deep sea
Scientists have found
hundreds of new marine creatures in the vast, dark deep-sea surrounding
Antarctica. Carnivorous sponges, free-swimming worms, crustaceans,
and molluscs living in the Weddell Sea provide new insights into
the evolution of ocean life.
Reporting this week
in the journal Nature, scientists describe how creatures in the
deeper parts of the Southern Ocean - the source for much of the
deep water in the world ocean are likely to be related
to animals living in both the adjacent shallower waters and in
other parts of the deep ocean.
A key question for
scientists is whether shallow water species colonised the deep
ocean or vice versa. The research findings suggest the glacial
cycle of advance and retreat of ice led to an intermingling of
species that originated in shallow and deep water habitats.
Lead author Professor
Angelika Brandt from the Zoological Institute and Zoological Museum,
University Hamburg says,
deep sea is potentially the cradle of life of the global marine
species. Our research results challenge suggestions that the deep
sea diversity in the Southern Ocean is poor. We now have a better
understanding in the evolution of the marine species and how they
can adapt to changes in climate and environments.
Dr Katrin Linse,
marine biologist from British Antarctic Survey, says,
What was once
thought to be a featureless abyss is in fact a dynamic, variable
and biologically rich environment. Finding this extraordinary
treasure trove of marine life is our first step to understanding
the complex relationships between the deep ocean and distribution
of marine life.
Three research expeditions,
as part of the ANDEEP project (Antarctic benthic deep-sea biodiversity),
onboard the German research ship Polarstern took place between
2002 and 2005. An international team from 14 research organisations
investigated the seafloor landscape, its continental slope rise
and changing water depths to build a picture of this little known
region of the ocean. They found over 700 new species.
Most of the deep-sea crustaceans are less than 1 cm in size, but
this species of Paraceradocus can reach more than 5 cm in length.
The white colour is an adaptation to the deep sea as related species
from the Antarctic shallow waters are bright red.
The charismatic crustacean family Epimeriidae have successfully
developed new species in Antarctica. This pink species is new
to sciences and the first deep sea member of this group.
This carnivorous moonsnail lives in the Antarctic deep sea. It
can detect food from a wide distance and will moved towards it.
Polyps, covering its shell, use the moonsnail as transport to
Small and new species of gastropod that lives on the seafloor
of the Antarctic deep sea. The shell and the snail within it can
be seen through a layer of mantle tissue that protects the shell.
Altought living in dark depth, this species has developed eyes.
Marine Biologist Katrin Linse with a sea spider she collected
from the deep sea.
worlds smallest published book
Its a big feat
of the tiniest proportions. Simon Fraser Universitys Nano
Imaging Lab has produced the worlds smallest published book.
The only catch -
youll need a scanning electron microscope to read it.
At 0.07 mm X 0.10
mm, Teeny Ted from Turnip Town is a tinier read than the two smallest
books currently cited by the Guinness Book of World Records: the
New Testament of the King James Bible (5 X 5 mm, produced by MIT
in 2001) and Chekhovs Chameleon (0.9 X 0.9 mm, Palkovic,
By way of comparison,
the head of a pin is about 2 mm.
The production of
the nanoscale book was carried out at SFU by publisher Robert
Chaplin, with the help of SFU scientists Li Yang and Karen Kavanagh.
The work involved using a focused-gallium-ion beam and one of
a number of electron microscopes available in SFUs nano
With a minimum diameter
of seven nanometers (a nanometer is about 10 atoms in size) the
beam was programmed to carve the space surrounding each letter
of the book.
The book is made
up of 30 microtablets, each carved on a polished piece of single
crystalline silicon, and has its own International Standard Book
The story, written
by Chaplins brother Malcolm Douglas Chaplin, is a fable
about Teeny Teds victory in the turnip contest at the annual
Considered an intricate
work of contemporary art, the book is available in a signature
edition (100 copies) from the publisher, through the SFU lab.
for Seasons Events:
€ 20 [discount] or € 10 [students]
Our Season Events for 2006/2007 are on Thursdays:
future of Tourism
2007, 18:30 - 21:15
Info.nl, Sint Antoniesbreestraat 16, 1011 HB Amsterdam [Next
SPECIAL SEASON EVENT
Location: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomas R. Malthusstraat
5, 1066 JR Amsterdam [Near
metro stop Henk Sneevlietweg]
This evening has two parts:
- The Conference:
18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15
- The Cultural Market with
food, drinks, music, dance etc from different Cultures and Continents.
FREE entrance. 18:30-23:30
LAB in Girona
near Barcelona, Spain, moderated by Humberto
29 & 30, 2007
of Amsterdam Open Business Club
of Amsterdam Open Business Club
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ideas about your future, the future of your industry, society, discussing
issues, which are relevant for yourself as well as for the 'global'
community? The future starts now - join our
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comments, ideas, articles are welcome!
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