Published on Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Greenwash meeting puts tripadvisor under microscope

Masterclass calls for joined up thinking and fewer weasel words - Tripadvisor good and bad

The Sustainable Tourism masterclass major subject was greenwash in tourism.

Said masterclass convener and moderator Valere Tjolle: "It is amazing to believe that in this information age, the simple beneficial proposal of making tourism more sustainable that has now been around for at least 21 years is not yet fully understood or widely practised."

The masterclass highlighted the need for general education about sustainable tourism and its opportunities to act as a catalyst for a potent green economy and a better world.

Masterclass attendees visualized sustainable tourism as a massively positive practical philosophy rather than just a method of reducing tourism impacts.

In recognizing that Greenwash was a function of misinformation and misunderstanding - the only cure is good quality information and practical education and joined-up thinking.

Issues the masterclass unveiled that could be corrected by information and joined-up thinking included:

  • The UK Olympic Games lauded as a 'Great Green Event' brushed aside the human rights/workers rights tragedy of thousands of badly-paid contract luxury hotel cleaners and staff.
  • 'Big 5' safari holidays sold on their scarcity value rather than dealing with the massive problem of species extinction
  • Destinations promoting their green credentials without assisting visitors to make their transportation and their length of stay more sustainable.
  • Women taking up the vast majority of tourism jobs but not the executive functions (just 6 women chief executives in the global industry)
  • The vast difference between green certification schemes - Certain green tourism auditors having only 2 or 3 days training and less than half a day in human rights. Tripadvisor took a pounding :
  • The Tripadvisor Greenleader Program: Good in that Tripadvisor has has leveled the playing field whereby if a business overclaims, they are going to get criticized online.  Bad in that it is based on self-assessment, focuses on reduction, and not positive impacts and that it has low standards- Bronze = fulfillment of 30% of criteria; Premium = 60%+
  • The fact that tourism s the 3rd biggest displacer of people and homes (after water and transport)
  • The fact that cruises are by far the biggest per passenger emitter and by far the least beneficial tourism mechanism for destinations.
  • And that All-Inclusives still, by and large, buy their food in bulk from international sources rather than locally

As usual the Climate Change debate was the most depressing hour of the day, exemplifying the practice of greenwash in all its forms. Two climate change scientists who specialize in tourism - Professor Stefan Gossling and Paul Peeters set out the frightening scenarios around a probable four degree increase in temperature. The masterclass learnt that progress to a global solution was practically halted due to the practise of greenwashing by those with an interest in business as usual.

For a list of tweets on the day and to put your comments: #tourismgreenwash

Discussion leaders for the masterclass were: Professor Stefan Gossling and Paul Peeters; Peter McAllister Ethical Trading Initiative, Jeremy Smith Writer and Strategist , Nathalie Nötzold Slow Food UK ; Ed Gillespie Futerra and Tricia Barnett Equality in Tourism

Masterclass attendees enjoyed a splendid lunch at Feng Sushi and a great special Borough Market dinner at the Banana Store

The masterclass was hosted at FOURbgb

The next masterclass on sustainable tourism will be held on 14 March 2014. To book a place visit Totemtourism

And a superb sustainable supper was enjoyed by masterclass delegates:



Story Image

Your Comments

, be the first to post a comment.
Your email:

Email other comments made to this story

NOTE: Comments are subject to admin approval before being posted.
  • More practice needed

    Thank you Tony - I will practise using practice as the noun and this will be my first practice at practising!

    By valere tjolle, Thursday, October 3, 2013

  • Practice!

    Please practise noting that "practice" (spelt with two sees) is the noun corresponding to the verb "practise" (spelt with one see and an ess). Such practice will lead to great benefits in the concision and thus the efficacy of your communication.

    By Tony Harris, Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mole Poll
Has Lion Air crash had an impact on Indonesian flight bookings?
yes 55.74 %
no 44.26 %

Thank you for your vote

Move scroll bar (above) left to right for more videos!

Sponsored features

India's Asiatic Lions

A cat with a different kind of tale! 

India is world famous for its tigers, but did you know, the country is also home to another big cat?

Nearly all of the wild lions live in sub-Saharan Africa, but a small population of Asiatic lions exists in India's Gir Forest in the state of Gujarat....