Co-founder of Responsible Travel, Harold Goodwin, makes organisations and businesses more aware of the hot topic of Responsible Tourism. Harold gives some clues on the business advantage of Responsible Tourism with specific reference to the wine and culinary tourism industry.
Your upcoming talk at IWINETC 2020 is titled The Business Advantage of Responsible Tourism. Can you define Responsible Tourism and give a couple of examples to clarify?
Responsible Tourism is about what we do as producers and consumers to use tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit, in that order. Sustainable tourism is the objective, Responsible Tourism is what we do to achieve sustainability. Sustainability is the ambition; Responsible Tourism is about what we do as producers and consumers to realise the aspiration. Too often sustainable is used only in the abstract sense. Responsible Tourism is not the same as sustainable tourism. Responsibility requires that we say what we are doing to make tourism better and that we are transparent about what we achieve.
There is also a strong link between experiential and responsible tourism. I am no wine expert but I do understand the concept of terroir, “soil, topography, and climate”. I would argue that the cultural component is important too. I really enjoy Retsina with Greek food. in a Greek restaurant in Greece. It does not travel well. Three alcohol high highlights for me and one real let down. The highlights, Byrek and Raki at breakfast each day when I worked on tourism development in Albania; Ice Wine serviced over frozen grapes in Canada; and family vineyards in Slovenia. These three experiences were unforgettable for the taste of the wine but also because of the taste of the terroir and of the culture. All of these experiences were examples of the creation of shared value and the generation of great memories, the local economic benefit and the celebration of the local culture made for great experiences. In the Canadian vineyard we were shown around by the grower and I learnt a great deal.
I had long been sceptical of the wine route in South Africa, friends who had done were clearly not impressed. I have said already that I don’t know very much about wine and I was willing to be proved wrong. I was invited to lunch at one of the wine estates in the Cape and went with high expectations. There was a wine tasting and some cordon bleu food, the staff were not South African. I would rather have been at a wine taking in a wine shop in Canterbury – I would have learnt more about the wine there than I did in the vineyard.
Does a movement towards Responsible (wine and culinary) Tourism come with a hefty price tag for businesses operating in a grape escape destination?
Obviously the most expensive of the four experiences recounted above was the least satisfactory. The Responsible Tourism agenda is broad. In California wineries are reducing their water consumption. Drinking In moderation. – Art de Vivre is an international programme of the wine sector for a sustainable wine culture looking to inspire well-being and contribute to the reduction of alcohol related harm, and sustainable viticulture.
I co-founded Responsible; Travel with Justin Francis way back in 2001, I am no longer a shareholder, so there is no commercial gain for me. But take a look at these two experiences:
Capital cities such as Barcelona, Budapest and Rome are having serious overtourism problems. How can tourist boards and business get people out of the city into the nearby wine regions?
I have been to some great restaurants and had some great food in Barcelona and Budapest and good wines with good food can be experiences in European cities. But the food and the grapes are grown in the countryside and to experience the culture and the terroir you really need to take your guests out of the cities. I had some great meals and wine in Tbilisi when I worked in Georgia – but the highlight of my Georgia experience was when having stopped in a village to talk with farmers and being taken to the kitchen to taste wine from the qvevri – that was unforgettable.
Meet Harold at IWINETC 2020 where he will be delving deeper in the topic of The Business Advantage of Responsible Tourism