“Barcelona tiene que elegir: cultura o juerga”

A Barcelona per al nostre esdeveniment de turisme responsable a la ciutat de Barcelona, Talk Walking, Prof. Harold Goodwin va ser entrevistat per La Vanguardia.

La contra: Harold Goodwin:

Pregúntese si el turismo que recibe Barcelona está al servicio de la ciudad… o si es la ciudad la que está al servicio del turismo.

Participa en el debat i col·laborar per fer de Barcelona un millor lloc per viure, i no només un millor lloc per ser un turista.

Tingueu en compte que la Xarxa de Turisme Responsable també intercanvia idees i organitza trobadas a través del seu grup de Facebook.

Myanmar adopts a national Responsible Tourism policy

08/06/2012 1 comment

According to Harold Goodwin Myanmar is in the process of implementing a responsible tourism policy in what looks like being a new era for tourism to this country.

“Myanmar needs a long-term strategy for tourism to ensure that future generations have a cultural and natural heritage of which they can be proud and which will attract the quality tourists on whom the long-term prosperity of the industry depends”

You can read more hereMyanmar adopts a national Responsible Tourism policy.

Breaking ground on the Catalan stretch of the Camino de Santiago

Last night I learnt a bit about the Catalan Tourist Board and other’s efforts to make the Catalan troç of the Camino de Santiago / Camí de Sant Jaume / Saint James’ Way more accessible to prospective travelers having a range of disabilities.  This includes an impressive range of tools on its website that meet with WAI standards.

Like a lot of ground-breaking initiatives in accessible tourism it opened my eyes to what needs and, moreover, what can be done to make tourism more inclusive.

Visit the site here:


Getting Close-serola, or when Talk Walking headed for the hills

30/05/2012 1 comment

Evarist March of NaturalWalks joined our group in the afternoon and led us “by the most natural route possible” from the top of the Collserola park down to the station for our suburban train back to Barcelona.  One of the most interesting facets of the conversation along the way related to public attitudes to this Natural Park.  While it seems much of the media and public discourse on the park is negative, pointing to issues such as the risk of forest fires and wild boars encroaching on peripheral residential areas, few stories celebrate the beauty and mere existence of this diverse natural area so close to the city.

I had been up to the park a few weeks before, taking a visiting friend up there.  It was by no means my first trip, but this time I was struck by my ignorance of the environment I was in.  Such ignorance is hardly uncommon, however.

Ring-fenced by motorways and a metropolis of more than 3 million, Parc Collserola is the biggest metropolitan park in the world, equivalent to twenty-two Central Parks (New York).  The Carretera de les Aigües–an accessible, broad 20-km track with panoramic views of sea and city–is very popular with cyclists, runners, walkers and horse-riders.  Yet despite its proximity to the city and the estimated two million visits it receives a year, the interior of the park is relatively unknown to many Barcelona-dwellers.

A day out in Parc Collserola to enjoy and better understand the park, its nature and use

Of course, it takes time–in books and in the field–to develop the kind of knowledge and familiarity you need to be able to interpret what you can see, hear, smell, touch and even taste in the Collserola Park.  So to get to some of that knowledge quicker, I got together a group of friends of the Xarxa de Turisme Responsable/ICRT Barcelona and we headed into the hills to “get closer” to the park, hence the droll name for this Facebook Group event.  Amongst us were an ornithologist, a botanist (Evarist), a landscape architect, a photographer and a counsellor.  And with a little pre-trip reading, we were set up for some interesting observations.  These notes offer a snapshot of what followed:

—     leaving behind the noise of the ring-road and entering “another place”.

—     no hoopoes this time–they’re migratory, suppose it was time they’d moved on.

—     a splendid garden, or a path up a south-facing valley where lavender, broom and a dozen other flowering plants and shrubs I can’t name perform for us in warm sunshine?

—     rock roses displaying their papery petals

—     hearing about the sex lives of different pine trees.

—     Caça Controlada, i.e. yet more “controlled hunting” space, hearing about Franco’s trophy hunter scheme, and reflecting on its legacy–to this day is this a threat to ecological sustainability in Spain’s “natural areas”?

—     rich earthy smells on narrow paths through low pine scrub–it rained plentifully the week before–this is where you could imagine the threat of fire exists after long hot dry spells.

—     multifarious birdsong just about everywhere we walk.

—     a woodpecker drills for food–they’re indicators of forest health, explains Diana, although a handful of Asian and African species are known to have adapted to forest plantations.

—     forest in recovery, yet perceived by some as bosc brut (“dirty woodland? Scrubby, perhaps?) who perhaps don’t understand or don’t value the processes of succession.

—     more honeysuckle–it’s been in abundance–sweet droplets within

—     Evarist identifies an orchid, Limodorum abortivum, by the footpath not from the park’s exit.

—     legs good, but head weary–wear hat next time.

Some of the thoughts that we had shared among ourselves by the end of the day:

…Let’s hear less aprovechar (take advange of or make the most of in English) and more valorar (value or appreciate) in connection with the park.  In other words, let’s hear more about the luxury of having such a rich diversity of natural life on our doorstep, and less about it being problematic.

…Let’s encourage a considerate and better-informed approach to enjoying the park, so that the challenges to the area’s ecological integrity might be more easily overcome.

…And let’s do this again sometime, perhaps towards the end of a long summer evening when the “unseen” wildlife emerges.

Alex Florez posted some excellent photos of the day’s walk here.

Local nature guide, Lucy Brzoska, posts superb photos and blogs specifically on this natural area at IberiaNature.

You might also be interested to know that plans are being made to “bring the park closer” to its urban neighbours via 16 entry “gates”.

This day out follows on from “Talk Walking”, when responsible tourism advocates and practitioners from the ICRT and other organisations gathered in Barcelona to talk urban tourism, heritage and managing better places for people to live in and visit.


6th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations (RTD6)

São Paulo, Brazil, 18-20 June 2012 sees the International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations take place for the sixth time (follow #RTD6).

This conference is being held 20 years after the first Rio Earth Summit and 10 years after the Cape Town Declaration. It seeks to identify how best tourism can contribute to sustainable development.

Invitation to the conference

Register your interest to attend at: rtd6saopaulo@gmail.com

Follow events at the RTD6 conference website.

Keynote presentation:

Learning from 20 years of sustainable tourism rhetoric and practice

By Eugenio Yunis, Executive Vice President of FEDETUR Chile, and former Director of Sustainable tourism development at the World Tourism Organization (1997-2007) and Director General of the Work Programme at the World Tourism Organization (2007-2010).

Early confirmed speakers include:

Mariana Aldrigui – GTTP, Brazil; Dr. Susanne Becken, Griffith University, Australia; Beth Beloff, BRIDGES to Sustainability Institute and Beyond the Divide, US; Flávia Costa, Serviço Social do Comércio, Brazil, Dr. Helena Costa, University of Brasília, Brazil; Dr. Xavier Font, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK; Alexandre Garrido, Sexante, Brazil; Dr. Sonya Graci, Ryerson University, Canada; Oliver Hillel, Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada; Wael Al Lawati, Omran, Oman; Matthias Leisinger, Kuoni, Switzerland; Klaus Lengefeld, GIZ, Germany; Geoffrey Lipman, greenearth.travel, UK; Anne-Maria Mäkelä, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Finland; Roberto Mourão, EcoBrasil; Dr. Vikneswaran Nair, Taylor’s University, Malaysia; Dr. Laszlo Puczko, Xellum, Hungary; Doris Ruschmann, Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Brazil; Ronald Sanabria, Rainforest Alliance, Costa Rica; Deirdre Shurland, United Nations Environment Programme, France; Dr. Murray Simpson, Caribsave and Oxford University, Dr. Marcelo Vilela de Almeida, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.

See the RTD6 speaker’s information page for updates.

From Berlin to Barcelona: Welcome Goodbye

04/03/2012 1 comment

Once again city authorities in Barcelona (and Catalunya) are vying with those of Madrid.  This time it’s for the option to become a “Eurovegas destination”.  The tabling of this project is perhaps irresistible given the very high levels of unemployment in Spain.  But EuroVegas will be no gift.  There will be economic costs as well as a range of social, cultural and environmental impacts (as well as opportunities).  And then there are the opportunity costs–the money invested and the people and places given over to development might be better “spent” on other livelihood-supporting activities…  perhaps?

The big question for me, however, is what would be the dimensions and characteristics of tourism to Barcelona given both the presence of Eurovegas and predicted future tourism volumes.

And, incidentally, on what grounds does Eurovegas form part of the city’s sustainable tourism strategy?

Would Eurovegas serve to decant tourism from parts of the city where authorities have recognised that large visitor volumes challenge the balance of local life?  Or would Eurovegas add to the intensity of tourism numbers, thereby reducing the diversity of place uses and degrading the intrinsic qualities of the city’s places?

With these questions in mind it is little wonder that the Welcome Goodbye project has caught my interest (video in German with subtitles in English).  This filming project plans to ask questions about the potential outcomes for plans to grow, grow and… grow tourism to Berlin.  I suggest it gives cause for reflection for the city and people of Barcelona, with or without Eurovegas.


Talking Responsible Tourism

28/02/2012 5 comments

Why the increasing talk about responsible tourism?

What is responsible tourism?  Is it an “eco-thing”?  Is it the same as sustainable tourism?  If so, why use a different name?

What are the principles of responsible tourism.  Can we go beyond these to create effective global templates for responsible tourism?

Can you distinguish greenwashing from greenhushing?

Is flying out of the question for the responsible tourist?

How does real responsible tourism change things in tourism?  How does it make a difference to people’s holidays and travel experiences?  And how does it make a difference to people’s lives in the places where tourism is conducted?

As part of a weekend event being organised by the Xarxa de Turisme Responsable in collaboration with the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) there will be two opportunities to talk responsible tourism and develop answers to the questions posed above.  These are:

  • Friday 30th March, 17.30-20.00 — a “get to know responsible tourism” meeting involving members of the ICRT, the Xarxa de Turisme Responsable, tourism academics, consultants, change makers, and people working in the local tourism industry.
  • Sunday 1st April, 10.30-14.30 — a series of talks sharing knowledge and experience on responsible tourism, including a run down on ten years of progress in responsible tourism since the Cape Town declaration on responsible tourism in destinations by a world-renowned authority on responsible tourism, Prof. Harold Goodwin.

The venue for both these meetings is the café-cum-cultural centre, Valentina, in the heart of the Barri Gòtic (Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter) at Plaça Regomir, 2.

Sunday’s session includes coffee/refreshment during a break, plus a buffet lunch (for around €10).

Come to either or both of these sessions if

  • you want to find out more about what responsible tourism means internationally and locally.
  • you want to connect with people from other places already involved or with a strong interest in responsible tourism (we have people coming form Berlin, London, Viena, Copenhagen, Málaga and elsewhere).
  • you want to contribute to the debate and drive forward real responsible tourism change in a place that matters to you.

If you plan to come please let us know by sending a short email to Mariana at: marianaceleste@yahoo.com