News ECOTRANS proposes a Covid-19 Emergency Plan

27th March 2020

An Emergency Plan to Develop Economic, Environmental and Cultural Resilience through the Vector of Sustainable Tourism in the Post Covid-19 Global Economic Restructuring Phase

by Gordon Sillence and Herbert Hamele (ECOTRANS)

Covid -19 and ITB Berlin 2020 Follow up

The devastation to the global economy caused by the coronavirus has enormous implications for how we now pursue the Agenda 2030 SDGs.  Travel and Tourism sectors have been particularly adversely affected and will need to be rebuilt, keeping in mind the need for long term as well as short term viability.  Even though we are still in the emergency reaction phase,  we are calling for all Tourism 2030 collaborators who planned to work together at ITB Berin 2020 to join in a joint follow up action to address how to design urgent, priority and fundamental policies and implementation programmes for using sustainable travel and tourism as the key vector for global sustainable development that brings a  green, circular and peace-based economy into reality at this time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity.

An Emergency Sustainable Tourism Task Force

The UN has already called for the recovery phase of our global economy to be both inclusive and sustainable. This is a call for the immediate establishment of a global sustainable travel and tourism policy taskforce based on the Tourism 2030 Agenda 2030 clustering initiative launched at ITB 2020 (online). The aim of the taskforce will be to show the world a viable sustainable tourism development approach that will drive overall sustainable development and build local to global resilience into the lives of both nation states and ordinary citizens alike.

Using The SDGs and the Tourism 2030 Knowledge Base in the post-Covid -19 recovery planning process

The approach of the task force will be to use the Agenda 2030 SDG framework to develop synergy  between SDG 3 (Health and Well-being) and SDGs  13, 14 and 15 (Climate Change, Life below Water, Life on Land) by using SDG 12 ( Sustainable Consumption and Production) to generate SDG 8 (Fair Employment & Economic Growth) with the approach  of SDG 17 (Partnership). The Tourism2030 Sustainable & Responsible Tourism Platform built in the EU’s Erasmus TRIANGLE project can immediately fully support this process by hosting a public access set of online knowledge, guidance and tools to ensure that all protected area and tourism administrations, industry enterprises and civil society NGOs can both understand and then implement responsible and sustainable tourism policies and actions.

Using Tourism to Build the Agenda 2030 Global Green, Peace-based Circular Economy Country by Country

In this process the taskforce will produce a global model for using tourism to develop overall sustainable consumption and  production supply chains on a territorial basis using the Tourism 2030 green mapping tools in line with UNEP/UNWTO sustainable value chain approach and ISO/GSTC sustainable tourism certification standards. The global recovery approach would model nationally based strategies that would enable each UN member state to immediately conceptualise a  new internationally collaborative travel and tourism development strategy and then map out its existing supply chains to start building sustainable local, regional, national and international producer-customer links to recover their travel and tourism sectors.

Rising to the Challenge – Using Post-Covid-19 Tourism Resilience Expertise

The Travel Green Planet 2030 collaboration initiative has already called for a decade of action that would see all tourism in protected areas is sustainably certified in the remaining 10 years of the 2030 Agenda. The coronavirus health crises is now seen as one more tipping point in the potentially devastating cocktail of socio-economic and environmental challenges that have mounted up to confront humanity. An holistic approach that meets all the crises in an integrated manner is now more essential than ever. The Travel Green Planet initiative has always focused on the sustainability of local and regional approaches to preserving natural and cultural heritage, following national and international protocols in the framework of Agenda 2030  and its collaborative civil society – government - business stakeholder partnership implementation methodology.

With over 3 decades of high level experience in the governance of sustainability from local to global level, current expert participants in this initiative – reaching out to work with other sustainability specialists, experts, governments and business leaders – can bring stakeholders in both the industry and in the world‘s major tourism destinations together in the process of making common maps of where they are and where they need to go. The team can  provide policy makers with the urgent knowledge and decision-making expertise they need to budget their spending effectively and deliver an economic framework that supports sustainable job creation, biodiversity preservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Work of the Travel Green Planet Emergency Task Force

The Travel Green Planet task force would set up  international response teams based on the extensive long-term high-level experience of its existing collaborators that can provide governments and key industry and destination stakeholders with the necessary support to establish their sustainable travel and tourism recuperation processes in a way that conforms to the principles of creating sustainable tourism jobs in a circular economy to use the substantial recovery funds that will be made available to effectively and fundamentally address the SDG issues of poverty, health, climate change and biodiversity loss.

We expect the emergency task force will need to develop an initial action that would last for  3 - 6 months.  The task force can  be established and become operational in month 1, and then focus on developing a common regeneration model for a global travel and tourism system that has national , regional and local building blocks.  The model would be set up as an online toolkit for governments and tourism stakeholders to adopt to meet their individual circumstances.  An international team would then be made available to support national governments to use the approach to implement sustainable job creation based on local and regional economic development within an international context. 

Playing Your Role in Developing the Task Force

We are sending this message to ask if you can approach your institutions to finance this initiative.  In particular, we are calling on all members of the TRIANGLE Knowledge Alliance and other ECOTRANS partners to see if you can find resources from your institutions and connections to support such a task force. Government and private funds will now be widely available to recompense loss of business and support livelihoods, but it will also be available for planning how to recover from such an economic and social shock to the global system.  We look forward to hearing from you as part of our ongoing further collaboration, now so necessary if we are to choose right action and timing together in these extraordinary times to stay with the Agenda 2030 goal of a peaceful, prosperous and green planet with no-one left behind.

Collaboration is the key!

More on: Travel Green Planet 2030 initiative

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Keywords Covid-19, Travel Green Planet 2030, Corona Virus Crisis
Target group(s) Destinations , Businesses , Travellers , Education, Research, Consultancy , NGOs, Partnerships, Networks , Governments & Administrations
Topics Cultural Heritage, Life Styles & Diversity , Good Governance & CSR

Reply to Covid-1 task force proposal

This is Dr Marc van Loo, CEO of a travel organisation and resort ( ) that has won many sustainability awards, including WRT most responsible tourism operator 2015.

I fully agree that sustainable tourism is the way of the future, but a task force that needs 3 - 6 months to come up with recommendations will be too late. We also should not worry about green certification. Instead of chasing more paper work, we should let our actions speak for themselves to show that tourism is key to the UN SDGs.

In the immediate term, governments all over the world should fund tourism companies with social/environmental expertise to bring these skills to bear to promote the local economy & environment by using fully local resources. My company for instance, has lots of skills in sanitation and we could start building sanitation systems now, injecting life into the domestic economies. Ecological travel operators with skills that would benefit the (domestic dimension of) the UN SDGs should submit be able to submit proposals to an easily available and fast-acting government channel with the authority to approve such approvals and fund them immediately, allowing operators to keep paying wages for their staff.

Companies should help themselves by creating special Corona day packages that allow local people to have a chance to visit the premises at sharply reduced prices, and governments should encourage and help promote these packages, making them free of tax.

In the longer term, rather than going for certification schemes that add more red tape, there should be central channels, a la Wikipedia, where ecological operators can share ecological tips. To enforce sustainability, all we need to do is lean on Tripadvisor and etc to add a button to their websites where guests can rate the sustainability of a company: nothing will drive sustainability faster tan public pressure by consumers, and transparent customer evaluation of sustainability.

Posted by marcvanloo at 28 Mar 2020 01:03:59