The Cateran Commonwealth

The Cateran Commonwealth is more than a trail, this is a unique part of Scotland. A special place where the Highland collided with the Lowlands, a landscape which with only a little imagination enables you to glimpse 730 million years of evolution as geological action and the weather created what we now know as Scotland.

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The Cateran Commonwealth has a rich history and archaeology stretching back long Roperbefore the emergence of the tartan and the kilt in the Victorian Age, what the historian Hugh Trevor Roper called The Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland. [Chapt 2 in Hobsbawm E, 1983, The Invention of Tradition CUP, there is more detail in Roper’s posthumously published The Invention of Scotland in 2009]

The Hanoverian Victorians created a view of Scottish history that met their needs.  In the Cateran Commonwealth, there is a longer, more complex and richer offering – one to be explored and savoured, a land of myths and legends too, you will encounter in the landscape Big Donald, the famous Irish Giant Fionn mac Cumhaill, Diarmuid, Pictish Warriors and poets of the Victorian Age William Pyott and James Geddes and Hamish Henderson viewed by many as the founding father of Scotland’s 20th century folk renaissance.

Perhaps inevitably Queen Victoria travelled on horseback along part of the Cateran on several occasions when travelling from Deeside to Dunkeld There is a plaque recording a visit to Kindrogan where she stopped for tea on the banks of the River Ardle in 1866. Dalnagar Castle was commissioned by Lord Clyde, Queen Victoria’s banker and designed by the Aberdeen architect William Smith who designed Balmoral. The legacy of  Queen Victoria in the Cateran Commonwealth is surprisingly slight given the proximity of Balmoral ~ 25 miles.

WATERFALLSitting astride the Highland Boundary Fault that divides the Scottish Lowlands from the Highlands, where the foothills of the hard rock of the Grampians and the Cairngorms collided, millions of years ago, with the softer rocks of the fertile Vale of Strathmore to create Scotland. The Highland Boundary Fault is a natural boundary and a cultural one, influencing patterns of settlement and land use and dividing the English speaking lowlands from the Gaelic-speaking Highlands. Reekie Linn Waterfall on the River Isla at Bridge of Craigisla is the most spectacular place to view the fault. Dalradian Schist found in the upland areas of the Cateran Commonwealth comes from an eroding mountain chain of the supercontinent of Rodinia 730 million years ago.

CateranCommonwealth

Cateran’s Common Wealth

This distinctive area of Scotland is relatively undeveloped for tourism but with a rich history and pre-history. There are classic U shaped valleys left by last Ice Age 20,000 years ago, the Garry Drums dry valleys remnants of glacial meltwater channels, many standing stones, Bronze Age Pitcarmick Round  Houses (2000BCE) Barry Hill Pictish fort one of Scotland’s best preserved Iron Age forts, the Buzzart Dykes remnants of a medieval hunting park, The Drystane dykes of the C19th, drove roads,

The term Cateran (from the Gaelic ceathairne, meaning “peasantry”) historically referred to a band of fighting men of a Scotland Highland clan; hence Cateran being applied to the Highland, and later to any, marauders or cattle-lifters. Caterans feature in Scottish novels and short stories, notably Hamish MacTavish Mhor in Walter Scott’s ‘The Highland Widow’ and in the ‘School of the Moon’ by Stuart McHardy

Details of the 64-mile Cateran Trail can be found online www.walkthecaterantrail.com and here.

“The Cateran Society offers the training with Highland Broadsword and other related Scottish weapons in our Broadsword Academy Program. You can join one of our many official locations in the USA, Canada, Russia, Germany, Finland and elsewhere worldwide.” And on Facebook

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Harold Goodwin 9th December 2018. I visited on 16th November – if you have read this far you will have realised that I was fascinated and captivated by the Cateran Commonwealth – so much more than a traIl.

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Community Heritage

At Loop Head on the Wild Atlantic Way, the community have recorded their heritage and placed it online.

LoopHead

You can download the trail here: Loop Head Heritage Trail PDF.

Map

To add to your experience and to minimise physical signage impacting the landscape, Loop Head Tourism have created an audio guide which tells the story of the 14 sites on the trail. You can view the clips on our heritage page by clicking HERE. Alternatively, if you would like to download the trail to your phone, use the GuidiGo app available on iPhone and Android. Its free, you just have to install the app, register an account with GuidiGo using your email address, or sign in with your Gmail or Google account or Facebook account. Once installed, download the trail to your phone, it only takes 2-3 minutes with Wifi … and you are all set … give it a whirl … and enjoy !!! Keep a lookout on the peninsula for these unobtrusive trail markers which mark the relevant sites.

The heritage trail is online in a couple of formats. There are two principal access points,

  1. from their  website
  2. and also each point on the trial has a small discreet sign, approx 1-foot square, with a QR code which sends you to the information for that point. 

Loop Head Tourism  commissioned an app which is available through Guidigo

Guidigo

We also have the audio for each point along the trail available as an audio download from here http://www.loophead.ie/heritage/

Audio

And the full nerdy version of all information in a raw state is available from here https://wildatlanticway.omeka.net/items/show/27

 

Small hotelier’s ‘My Green Butler’ wins Banksia Award.

My Green Butler, an innovative new service devised by Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages and Spa Retreat has won the prestigious Banksia Foundation’s 2018 – Small Business Award. My Green Butler is a green holiday adviser that helps tourist accommodation save resources, cut costs, cut pollution and increase guest satisfaction. The service was devised by this small business in Kangaroo Valley NSW and is now already on trial in Australia and Europe.

Banksia judges choose this entry because it “was outstanding for its great leadership, to take on such a big role and create a big impact despite being only from a small business in tourism. This business is producing a unique product with the potential to have a real impact reducing the footprint of accommodation and has strong potential to go global.”

banksia-award 2018

My Green Butler applies smart technologies and persuasive communications to help people self-regulate consumption. The programme combines host training, web app and guest engagement.

“Tourism is a major contributor to global carbon emissions and natural resource depletion yet we are in the de-stress and happiness industry! So we, therefore, must take serious innovative steps to change if we are to remain relevant to the changing social values of our guests and act responsibly to globally accepted science, says Dr Christopher Warren co-proprietor of Crystal Creek Meadows and Founder of My Green Butler.

Hospitality firms are under enormous pressure from rising costs, searching to find ways to decarbonise and meet the escalating expectations of their guests. “It is a very pressuring situation for business owners and managers so I really think the time is right to apply genuine service innovations that give us win-win results for our sector,” says Dr Warren who conducted in PhD at Griffith University to research how best to engage tourists to help hospitality become more sustainable and consequently invented My Green Butler.

Why My Green Butler is particularly effective is that it has been devised by a small hotelier who understands the commercial constraints for hospitality. Dr Warren claims that his method to engage guests positively has the potential to save millions of kW of energy and litres of water without negatively affecting the guest’s stay.

The Banksia Foundation is a strong and expanding brand and its Awards program, the Banksia Sustainability Awards, are regarded as the most prestigious and longest running sustainability awards in the world.

Banksia Foundation’s 30th Anniversary illustrates how the efforts and passion of so many individuals that have been a part of Banksia Foundation can make a difference in moving our society towards a more sustainable future.  We have had the absolute pleasure to work with governments, businesses and individuals over the past 30 years who have all been part of the Banksia family. The longevity of the Banksia Foundation Awards proves without doubt that Australians are keen to innovate and move forward with thousands of entries over the past 30 years being received for the Banksia Foundation Awards.

“We are thrilled to have won this Banksia Award and are proud to participate alongside such talented and committed sustainability entrepreneurs from across Australia,“ says Dr Warren.

Moe information about Banksia Foundation Awards

More information about My Green Butler

More information about Crystal Creek Meadows 12 years of responsible tourism reporting

See Crystal Creek Meadows multi award winning property

Small hotelier’s ‘My Green Butler’ wins Banksia Award.

My Green Butler, an innovative new service devised by Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages and Spa Retreat has won the prestigious Banksia Foundation’s 2018 – Small Business Award. My Green Butler is a green holiday adviser that helps tourist accommodation save resources, cut costs, cut pollution and increase guest satisfaction. The service was devised by this small business in Kangaroo Valley NSW and is now already on trial in Australia and Europe.

Banksia judges choose this entry because it “was outstanding for its great leadership, to take on such a big role and create a big impact despite being only from a small business in tourism. This business is producing a unique product with potential to have a real impact reducing the footprint of accommodation and has strong potential to go global.”

banksia-award 2018

My Green Butler applies smart technologies and persuasive communications to help people self-regulate consumption. The programme combines host training, web app and guest engagement.

“Tourism is a major contributor to global carbon emissions and natural resource depletion yet we are in the de-stress and happiness industry! So, therefore, we must take serious innovative steps to change if we are to remain relevant to the changing social values of our guests and act responsibly to globally accepted science, says Dr Christopher Warren co-proprietor of Crystal Creek Meadows and Founder of My Green Butler.

Hospitality firms are under enormous pressure from rising costs, searching to find ways to decarbonise and meet the escalating expectations of their guests. “It is a very pressuring situation for business owners and managers so I really think the time is right to apply genuine service innovations that give us win-win results for our sector,” says Dr Warren who conducted in PhD at Griffith University to research how best to engage tourists to help hospitality become more sustainable and consequently invented My Green Butler.

Why My Green Butler is particularly effective is that it has been devised by a small hotelier who understands the commercial constraints for hospitality. Dr Warren claims that his method to engage guests positively has the potential to save millions of kW of energy and litres of water without negatively affecting the guest’s stay.

The Banksia Foundation is a strong and expanding brand and its Awards program, the Banksia Sustainability Awards, are regarded as the most prestigious and longest-running sustainability awards in the world.

Banksia Foundation’s 30th Anniversary illustrates how the efforts and passion of so many individuals that have been a part of Banksia Foundation can make a difference in moving our society towards a more sustainable future.  We have had the absolute pleasure to work with governments, businesses and individuals over the past 30 years who have all been part of the Banksia family. The longevity of the Banksia Foundation Awards proves without a doubt that Australians are keen to innovate and move forward with thousands of entries over the past 30 years being received for the Banksia Foundation Awards.

“We are thrilled to have won this Banksia Award and are proud to participate alongside such talented and committed sustainability entrepreneurs from across Australia,“ says Dr Warren.

Moe information about Banksia Foundation Awards

More information about My Green Butler

More information about Crystal Creek Meadows 12 years of responsible tourism reporting

See Crystal Creek Meadows multi-award winning property

From Helsinki to the Russian Border

by Harold Goodwin – Responsible Tourism Partnership

Last week I was in Finland, Helsinki, Jyväskylä and Base Camp near the Russian border, from the city to wilderness in four days. In Helsinki, we met with the city to discuss the challenge of sustainability. They have wisely separated the managing tourism function from marketing. More and more destinations are realising that mixing marketing and management in a DMO is fraught with difficulty. All tourism is managed by the local authority or national park; roads, litter, toilets, congestion, all have to be managed, and the DMOs are not good at that.

Harmooni-syksy-a-la-carte-595x1024[1]

Then on to JAMK at Jyväskylä where I contribute to an international summer school programme on Responsible Tourism with students for India, Korea, Egypt and Finland. The focus of the student’s work is on tourism development on and around Lake Päijänne which stretches from Lahti in the south over 100 km to  Jyväskylä in the north, a city which has grown from 8,000 inhabitants in 1940 to more than 130,000.  There is also time to meet with local tourism entrepreneurs and discuss how the city can best develop tourism in its rural hinterland.

Harmooni, part of the Arts & Crafts Restaurants Oy chain, brings local fish and game to the table with a menu that changes each month to include the best fresh stock from local vendors. Supper with the owner to talk about how they might extend their tourism offer by linking with the rural communities and food producers.

After class on Thursday Keijo Salenius of Basecamp Oulanka drove me north close to the Russian border and Oulanka National Park which has over 400 threatened species of flora and fauna. Live webcam Siberian taiga,  boreal or snow forest, reaches the European Union here in northern Finland. Basecamp Oulanka, on a lakeside opposite Juuma, provides a luxurious camp, a wilderness hotel,  base for access into Oulanka for walking, trekking, white water rafting, canoeing, Nordic walking, skiing, fatbikes, snowshoeing and climbing. I whitewater rafted on the River Kitka to the Russian border where Basecamp has a satellite smoke sauna camp within sight of Russia.

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Outdoor activities are a core part of the offer, but Basecamp was created as an alternative to the highly mechanised ‘urban’ ski centre at Kuusamo with its snowmobiles and skiing infrastructure. Basecamp’s rive groups stop off to fell a tree, as volunteers they contribute to restoring a meadow habitat beside the river.

Meadow

I was not attracted by the rafting – I was motivated by the desire to see bears in the wild. I saw 5 different bears at the same time from a comfortable hide – next time I would stay the night. Wolves, Elk, Reindeer (come of them white),  Wolverine, Otters and Bears can all be seen with expert guides in the different seasons. This is an accessible wilderness. The corridor and protected area are most important to birds like the golden eagle, black grouse, capercaillies and owls. There is a bird list below.

mapo

Siberian flora and fauna come from the east along the River Oulanka, which runs to the White Sea via Lake Paanajärvi and Lake Pääjärvi through Russian forests. The microclimate is very strong with dry, warm summers and dry, cold winters. Paanajärvi National Park is very wild with a mere 5000 visitors annually, who mostly stay on the eastern side. The border is isolated on the Russian side with a 5km unauthorised approach zone.

bears

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Keijo Salenius

 

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Source: Google maps 

In 2009 Basecamp Oulanka was included in the 4 best places in the world to see the Northern Lights Aurora Borealis: Being so close to Russian wilderness with a microclimate so cold and dry, there are very seldom clouds and no light pollution.

lake at basecamp

The WILD OULANKA FOUNDATION

Basecamp Oulanka is helping create The Oulanka Paanajarvi Corridor, between the Oulanka and Kuusinki rivers, a new private protected area of 1000 hectares (about 2 x 4 km) between Oulanka National Park (30 000 hectares) and Paanajärvi National Park (104 000 hectares with 100 000 hectare buffer zone). Echoing the Peace Parks concept in Southern Africa the two parks form an internationally unique wilderness area and an important destination for nature-based tourism. The close cooperation of both protected areas also helps foster better understanding between Finns and Russians on both sides of the border, as a role model for peaceful cooperation, and brings economies of scale financially and environmentally, working together for the common purpose of biodiversity conservation and sustainability while managing tourism responsibly under a joint management plan.

The landowner is Kuusamo Forests Common, a local cooperative with 4400 owner members. The cooperative area is over 94,000 hectares of land for the purpose of local income generation through forestry. The Wild Oulanka Foundation has signed a lease agreement with Kuusamo Forests Common for the coming 25 years for the corridor area. The foundation’s annual budgeted of €160,000  covers the staff, making the nature trails, the financial loss to the cooperative and most of the hunting rights. Access to the border zone 453 hectares within the corridor area will be limited with voluntary agreements, under controls and patrols by the Finnish Border Guard. Clear signage, gates and barriers will be put in place, and visitors limited to 1000 annually.

In the words of The Long Run of which Base Camp Oulanka has been a member since 2015: “Basecamp Oulanka is a “positive footprint destination”, founded for conservation and wildlife experience purposes. The heating system used throughout the complex relies totally on nature using special wood pellets for fuel. Even the hot tub is run from an ingenious system that uses the excess heat generated from the sauna. When it comes to day to day life at Basecamp a very important feature is that manpower is always used over motors to minimise the carbon emissions. Basecamp also uses electric outboard engines for rafting boats resulting in zero fuel consumption. ”

Basecamp Oulanka is a member of The Long Run Foundation. In 2011, Basecamp Oulanka was awarded VESTAS, the European sustainable tourism awards, as an “Outstanding example of sustainable and responsible tourism.” In 2014 they were awarded the GreenLeaders GOLD status by Trip Advisor.

http://basecampoulanka.fi/en/ 
www.facebook.com/basecampoulanka
www.youtube.com/basecampoulanka

Species

In the Oulanka Paanajarvi Corridor, the EU Habitats Directive protects 22 habitat types and the Nature Directive protects 53 species. Species on the EU Directive include (plus several secret species) include:

  • Ahma* – Gulo gulo
  • Ilves – Lynx lynx
  • Karhu – Ursus arctos
  • Saukko – Lutra lutra
  • Susi – Canis lupus
  • Kivisimppu – Cottus cobio
  • Havuhuppukuoriainen – Stephanopachys linearis
  • Jättisukeltaja – Dytiscus latissimus
  • Kalkkisiemenkotilo – Vertigo genesii
  • Lahokapo – Boros schneideri
  • Mäntyhuppukuoriainen – Stephanopachys subtriatus
  • Idänkynsimö – Draba cinerea
  • Isotorasammal – Cynodontium suecicum
  • Lapinleinikki – Ranunculus lapponicus
  • Lettorikko – Saxifraga hirculus
  • Myyränporras – Diplazium sibiricum
  • Pahtakeltto – Crepis tectorum
  • Pohjankellosammal – Encalypta mutica
  • Tunturiarho – Arenaria ciliata ssp. pseudofrigida
  • Kirjojokikorento – Ophiogompus cecilia
  • Isonuijasammal – Meesia longiseta
  • Korpikolva – Pytho kolwensis
  • Rusoharmoyökkönen – Xestia brunneopicta

Birds on the Directive include (plus several secret species):

  • Ampuhaukka – Falco columbarius
  • Helmipöllö – Aegolius funereus
  • Hiiripöllö – Surnia ulula
  • Huuhkaja – Bubo bubo
  • Kuikka – Gavia arctica
  • Kurki – Grus grus
  • Lapinpöllö – Strix nebulosa
  • Lapintiira – Sterna paradisaea
  • Laulujoutsen – Cygnus cygnus
  • Liro – Tringa glareola
  • Mehiläishaukka – Pernis apivorus
  • Metso – Tetrao urogallus
  • Palokärki – Dryocopus martius
  • Pikkusieppo – Ficedula parva
  • Pohjantikka – Picoides tridactylus
  • Pyy – Bonasa bonasia
  • Sinirinta – Luscinia svecica
  • Sinisuohaukka – Circus cyaneus
  • Suokukko – Philomachus pugnax  
  • Uivelo – Mergus albellus
  • Varpuspöllö – Glaucidium passerinum
  • Vesipääsky – Phalaropus lobatus

Cillian Murphy: ‘a pretty “alternative” perspective on the tourism industry.’

I have a reputation for having what would be called a pretty “alternative” perspective on the tourism industry. In the main, it is an extractive industry and we should treat it with the same degree of wariness we would any of the other extractive industries; and while all that may sound a bit radical, it is an opinion that’s been around for a while. At the launch of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards  in 1994, Sir Colin Marshall, former chair of British Airways, defined the tourism and travel industry as “…essentially the renting out for short-term lets of other people’s environments…” funnily enough, a definition that doesn’t often see the light of day; And yet, despite all the emphasis on eco and/or sustainable tourism development over the intervening 24 or so years, little has changed.

 

But given the scale of the growth the industry is seeing, 1 billion tourists in 2012 and 1.3 billion in 2017 according to the UNWTO, something does have to change. The recent McKinsey report for the World Travel & Tourism Council is called “Coping with Success”. That word ‘coping’ is reactionary, rarely ever used in a positive way and most often when dealing with situations that are out of control. You have to think maybe we should have started with something called ‘Planning for Success’, then we wouldn’t have to ‘cope’ with it. Maybe that’s what needs to change.

 

Planning.

I was recently asked to be the keynote speaker at a series of three symposiums, put on by the Central Counties Tourism organisation (RTO6) in Ontario, to give some insight into how we in Loop Head Tourism, a community-based destination management organisation I had helped to co-found in 2009, had planned and developed a different type of destination, how we had organized ourselves, the successes we had had and what advice would we offer to other communities who wanted to take charge of their own tourism development destiny. It is to the credit of the team at Central Counties that their wishes were to engage and empower the communities within their care, instead of dictating from the top down as to what should or should not happen in those communities, a refreshing approach to say the least and one that bears repeating.

 

It was to be a forty-five-minute presentation followed by a Q&A session afterwards. Now, anyone who knows me knows that talking is a particularly strong suit of mine, so I thought ‘no problem, however, I didn’t realize how many words go into a 45-minute speech. I do now…6,700 to be precise. I also hadn’t thought about how much introspection would go into preparing for it. It was a profoundly interesting time for me to sit back and assess critically what we had done, its impact and to look at what learning’s there were that could be passed onto other communities who wished to be more in control of their own tourism development.

 

In the 1950s a guy called Taiichi Ohno devised the famous Toyota Production System. In one of his best-known quotes, he said we should “ask ‘why’ 5 times about every matter” to get to the root cause of a problem.

 

He used the example of a welding robot breaking down to demonstrate the usefulness of his method;

  1. Why did the robot stop? “The circuit has overloaded, causing a fuse to blow.
  2. “Why is the circuit overloaded? “There was insufficient lubrication on the bearings, so they locked up.
  3. “Why was there insufficient lubrication on the bearings?” The oil pump on the robot is not circulating sufficient oil.
  4. Why is the pump not circulating sufficient oil?” The pump intake is clogged with metal shavings.
  5. “Why is the intake clogged with metal shavings?” Because there is no filter on the pump.

 

I believe the converse is also true, that if we undertake a similar process before we begin any tourism development, we can plan out an industry that will avoid problems occurring in the future.

 

There is no doubt that tourism can deliver economic benefits to host communities; however, there is considerable doubt that the current system of tourism development is actually doing this.

 

In short, we need to change what we are doing. We have to look at what has been successful elsewhere, and then use that learning to capacity build and empower other communities so they are able to create their own destination. My experience with Loop Head, and others has led me to believe that local stakeholders need to be brought through a system of workshops that will deliver this.

 

I call it “Persistent Enquiry”. It builds up the layers of information for a community so they get a solid understanding of how tourism can deliver the maximum benefit for them.

 

Thus, Persistent Enquiry can design out the potential flaws.

The first question many communities ask is…How can we get more tourists? indeed many local and regional development agencies ask the same question and the operators on Loop Head, myself included, were no different…but it is the wrong question to start with.

 

We need to start with a different one…. Why do we need tourists?

We then need to work our way through another 4

  • What
  • Where & When
  • Who
  • How

 

  • Why do you want tourism?

This is the most important question; the answer provides a guide for every other question. It essentially creates the ‘vision’ statement for the destination.

The reasons on Loop Head, farming is becoming more intensive, fewer jobs, our fishing industry is dead, we are too are away from transport hubs for industrial investment, and our connectivity is too poor for the IT sector. Our population is declining and as a result investment in infrastructure both physical and societal is a low priority for the government, and getting lower, low population = low votes! Tourism seems to be the only viable option. So we want tourism, but, the answers to the question have also defined a role for it, it has a job to do, to replace fishing and farming in providing economic benefit, basically jobs, to the area…. and we also realized it had the capacity to drive inward investment, both private in the shape of entrepreneurs, and the public, in the shape of public infrastructure which could support the industry development needs.

Cillian Murphy
CillianMurphyConsulting
“Responsible Tourism Development; Sustainable Tourism Destinations’
Linked in
Twitter; @Tri2bResponsibl

 

Is the knowledge gap too wide to innovate responsible accommodation?

Is the knowledge gap too wide to innovate responsible accommodation?

Christopher Warren 9th February, 2017

There is currently insufficient research to assist the transition for tourist accommodation to become a low carbon sector that also uses water sustainably. After reviewing 110 academic resource-saving studies  Christopher Warren and Susanne Becken found significant research gaps that leave us still unclear how accommodation can make deep game changing savings.

What the Gaps cover

These gaps include:

  • renewable energy
  • renewable water
  • non-hotel accommodation types
  • building design
  • climate and cultural influence
  • smart technology
  • guest engagement

Lack of Data

They could only find a small number of studies which detail consumption amounts, so there is insufficient data to establish benchmarks and track savings (only 15 studies provided energy and 13 studies offered water benchmarks). This limitation is made worse by the lack of studies which measure the influence of seasonality and climate over time (an important when considering Climate Change and adaptation).

They found many studies lacked detail that allows us to unambiguously interpret findings. Overall the studies used different measures and terms making it hard to compare results and build a body of knowledge. Only a few studies indicated a return on investment, which is worrying as new technologies tend to be sold on the idea of a financial benefit.

Without clarity, deep savings become more difficult because there are in fact a multitude of factors which influence consumption. This demonstrates that technical efficiencies alone cannot be relied upon as the sole method to save. Building a solid body of knowledge and developing the skills to run accommodation more sustainably is therefore essential; since it is human behaviour that controls resource use by how a firm is run, how savings methods might be organised and how guests can consume less.  To stimulate service innovation we require a more consistent research approach and to link expertise that tests and refines solutions.


 

Lack of Coverage

Tourism is a global sector yet most of the research into resource saving at tourist accommodation has been conducted in Europe (38%), Asia (mainly China, 26%) and North America (19%). The Middle East only had two papers and the Southern Hemisphere only records 20% of the total output. Of the eight papers whose primary focus was water saving, none covered the Middle East and Africa. Since local climate, building design and culture are important variables in resource use there is obviously a great need to redress the imbalance and conduct innovative research in the South (see research opportunity below). Likewise there were only six papers focused on guest engagement (tiny when considering guests can account for half of the energy and water used in hotels). Most of the papers concentrated on hotels with a small number covering camp sites, shared economy and small operators. These findings clearly spotlight ‘known unknowns’ which we must address.

Why this is important now

The urgency to bridge the research gap is also a global challenge as tourist accommodations’ environmental footprint is very likely to be underestimated. This is because the shared economy has been outpacing traditional accommodation growth, and statistics exclude unofficial hosts, so the size of the sector is far larger than authorities estimate and more complex. Therefore the level of consumption, versus aspirational carbon reduction targets, may present a larger challenge than originally thought. The sector’s consumption is further aggravated by aging building stock and changing climates. Meanwhile, tourism grows exponentially, so while an accommodation may show energy and water savings per guest night, absolute resource use could remain unchanged. Without holistic knowledge to help the sector innovate and become more sustainable, consumption is most likely to rise and with it carbon emissions and water use.

What we should do

Tourism should now establish collaboration networks between scientists, practitioners, and entrepreneurs which bridge the knowledge gaps and accelerate sustainability-oriented innovation.

How we might do it

Findings from our study lead to the following proposed research framework (see figure below – adapted from Warren & Becken, 2017). If we want to close the research gap and generate new knowledge then we need a holistic approach that includes key influencing elements, more consistently presented findings, to share and built upon. Networks linking expertise must conduct research which addresses clear savings targets and identify paths to achieve them (e.g . if we want to save 50%, then we need to take this action). The ICRT-Australia is conducting an international research study on responsible service innovation and is an example of collaboration; expressions of interest to participate are welcomed. The knowledge gap will not be too wide if we start collaborating now.

Proposed integrative framework to advance research and theory of energy and water savings in tourist accommodation. Adapted from Warren & Becken, 2017

warren

Adapted from Warren & Becken, 2017 Int. Journal of Tourism Research

ROE (Return On Environment)

 

For more information contact:

Christopher Warren

christopher.@icrtourism.com.au