IDEAS Live: Global Perspectives On Tourism, Part I

IDEAS Live: Global Perspectives On Tourism, Part I

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much for joining us for Civil Beats Ideas live show for Wednesday, July 21st 2021. We're very glad to have you here with us for today's discussion on Global perspectives on Tourism and we are joined uh as promised by an international group that is currently spread out across the globe. Um we have from the Netherlands. Coco is here. It's

two in the morning in the Netherlands. So, thank you so much for being with us. We have Andrew Baker who is here from Alter and New Zealand where it's already Thursday, Megan E Wood is here from the East Coast of the United States and Frank Hoss is here with us from Honolulu. So, I'd like to tell you just a little bit about each one of them and their backgrounds and um we'll start off with Andrew. Uh we'll go with this by by time zone since he's already Thursday there. Um Andrew Baker is a cultural strategist, bridge builder consultant teacher and founder of 3°. He built his cultural

transformation practice by transforming Air New Zealand which became the first corporation in New Zealand to successfully embrace a Maui strategy across the business. He's worked incorporating government affairs, communications, Maui, and community relations, travel and tourism, and the performance arts. So, we're very, very grateful to have you here with us today, Andrew. So, now, to to the Netherlands, Cohen's Cohen is a professor of new urban tourism at in Holland. University of Applied Sciences and has been involved in sustainable tourism for nearly 20 years. He's the author of the UN WTO report on over tourism and editor of the book, Slum Tourism Poverty, Power, and Ethics and tourism and geographies of inequality. The

new global slimming phenomenon. So, we're so happy to have the viewpoint from Europe. Thanks so much. with us in the middle

of the night. Megan E Wood is a thought leader, author, teacher, speaker, and consultant on questions of managing sustainable tourism and a founder of the Field of Ecotourism from 2010 to 2021 for research and online courses at Harvard Vetted, a wide range of solutions to help protect travel destinations. She is now with Cornell's Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise SC Johnson College of Business and has worked across the globe countries develop sustainable destinations. So, Megan, thank

you so much for being here and last but not least, Frank Hoss is here. He is here with us. Frank is a partner in Guild Consulting has worked in tourism and hospitality projects in Hawaii and internationally is a former director of marketing for the Hawaii Tourism Authority and those of you who read Civil Be regularly may recognize Frank's name because last month, he wrote a community voice op ed for us that run on June 18th. It was titled, It's Time for Hawaii to get serious about managing tourism. So, we are um we are live and the reason that we do these shows live is because we want to encourage you, the viewers to send questions if you have them for our panelists as we discuss today. Also, send comments. Our

chat is open and you're welcome to send us anything that you would like to be part of the discussion today. I'd like to begin by asking each one of you if you could tell us a little bit what it was that made you choose to work in the field of tourism? What drew you to the field of tourism as a career and Andrew, I'd love to start with you if you could tell us a little bit about about what took you into this Sure. thanks so much Julia and um um um welcome to you our myst panelist. It's so great to be

here and to be able to share our thoughts on on where tourism is heading. Um I from New Zealand. That was born in a little town called and if you've been to New Zealand, you'll know that that it's a very stinky place. Uh that's because it's very high in it's geothermal activity but for New Zealand, it's the home of tourism and tourism started there over 150 years ago um and actually one of my ancestors was um a very famous a lady called guide and um it was the hospitality and the manga the way that we treated tourists back in those days and welcome them into our Chiefly Springs, our healing waters that drew tourists uh to our little town. Um well, for hundreds of years now and growing up in that town, tourism was um essential to the economy. Um uh visitors would

come and ask you walking down the street what it was like to be a Maui and don't you wear grass skirts and so tourism has been infused in my life since that time. Um I eventually got a role as um uh uh working in New Zealand and I traveled around the world as one of the there and eventually became a part of integrating and uh and building within a New Zealand and understanding of our cultural principles hacking back to those days of how we treat people in hospitality and building more of a sustainable and um uh balanced uh idea about how tourism can be expressed within the airline sector and within New Zealand Can you tell us about your your way into this field? Yeah. Uh well, my name is the cones and of my heart from the countryside and contrary to the place where I was born and grew up. um still is very much off the beaten track and for a good reason it's not the most tourist and scenic place but uh whilst living there, my father used to be a sailor and um every three or 6 months, I have no idea how I was a child. We

went to Skip Airport in National Airport in the Netherlands and I can still vividly remember like this was the most buzzing international Whoa, what is going on here? Atmosphere is there and somehow it always stick to me as a child. I mean the Dutch Countryside is not really rock and roll um and so for me it's like whoa this is this is amazing and that we start to me and it's free. That's that international like that. and

what's going on it and different cultures, meeting different people, meeting um that always attracted me and as such, I think I know it's about 2025 or so Uh I ended up in a reef uh doing a bit of work on a whale watching. I thought oh this is very interesting. So, I continued on from that in the end. I really don't know how anymore but it ended up in the township of South Africa Um To me, that was very interesting because then suddenly, you're in an urban setting and that I really felt like, okay, but how does this relate? also to all the lovely ecotourism that we had that I saw um while I was doing well watching. Um so, it's the

combination of both that I really um really enjoy and really tightness like how do we create tourism? How does that work? Um because um I think that's the big challenge that we're still facing. I don't think anybody really has all of the answers yet. So, um for me, this is amazing to basically sit here and uh yeah have the opportunity to talk to. Thank you very much and thank you all for uh for listening and watching. Um I'd look to basically hearing about your views and also the other panelists because there's a lot of very good people here. So, I'm excited about it. Thank

you, Megan. Well, I'm from New Jersey. and it's not exactly an exciting uh tourist place uh but when I was a little girl, um my grandmother and grandfather moved to be closer to us from Honolulu. Um my grandmother was born in Honolulu and my great grandfather uh came from Northern England to live in Honolulu in the nineteenth century. I have done D analysis. and found that that side of the family were Vikings. and I had uh another

ancestor in that same generation that went and lived in Samoa and married into that uh that side of the Polynesian world as well. So, I've always thought there's a couple of things going on here. that I was fascinated by uh travel and adventure since my grandmother joined us and they started giving me all these books about Hawaii and Polynesian legends when I was about 5 years old Um so, that surely had a lot to do with it but then also my aunt worked at the Royal Hawaiian and my uncle worked at Pearl Harbor and so they would all talk about what it was like and then ultimately, my grandparents were there when the buildup happened with Waikiki and she, you know, she really was never that critical because she was a very easy going person but she she kind of gave me the early idea. I think that it wasn't such a great thing would happen. in Hawaii with tourism and that it that it was really kind of sad. Uh I think that's the way she saw it. They had to leave. They

didn't leave for the purposes of not being dissatisfied but I do believe that she left me with that sense that they've made a mistake. So, so that's uh that's a big part of where I come from and then I went on to be uh you know educated as a wildlife biologist and there was not a soul in my family took an interest in that and uh I went to work in South America and that's really what launched my career. Okay, thanks and and Frank when I started my career in in Hawaii, I started for uh at an advertising agency. I've always been interested in consumer behavior. What drew me

to marketing and advertising was just understanding people and their motives and what they do, why they do it Um so, a lot of what I did was somewhat boring uh in my estimation of fast food and uh products and things like that but if you're working in advertising in Hawaii, you end up inevitably working on visitor industry related products and services and that's what I found fascinating because I work for airlines. I worked at uh marketing for uh wholesalers, tour companies, uh attractions like Polynesian Cultural Center and um you really understand uh the how complex this industry is and complexity makes it very interesting to me trying to put it all together. Uh it's it's much more complex but much more fascinating than things like fast foods. So, um that that is

what drew me to it. That's what kept me at it and um uh I think Now, uh understanding the complexity is key to figuring out how to make it transform into what it needs to be in the twenty-first century. Um the other thing that fascinates me about it is uh is to travel itself. So, I've been able to

travel. I've been I've done projects in Morocco, West Abu Dhabi, uh uh at the Western Sahara. So, all kinds of interesting places and I'm I'm meeting interesting people and trying to understand these interesting consumers that we have and why they travel So, let's let's talk about tourism. um because obviously,

there are real issues around the globe with tourism people in Hawaii get through this massive retraction of tourism during the COVID pandemic and saw a drop of Ninety-seven 97% in the the visitor Absolutely unprecedented and it opened up a reality of the islands without visitors for a significant period of time. Now, they're all coming back and I think a lot of people in the islands are really deeply questioning tourism Can we, can we start out maybe a little bit by just from a global perspective looking at what are the the issues with tourism now, you know, the books that you've written slum tourism, poverty, power, and ethics, tourism, and geographies of inequality. Maybe you could talk a little bit for us. Uh tell us a little bit about um as a professor who really looks at tourism what are issues.

within the tourism world that need to be addressed. with many Um but from my perspective, I think what we've really seen in the last 1015 years um he did the production of tourism and the way it's organized, it's not particularly fair. Uh some people profit more than others um and um the revenue gained with it is often very much limited to a small number of people. is always promoted. It's like, oh, this is good for the economy, etcetera which in itself is not necessarily wrong um but it's a distribution Um so, who gets who does not gain and that is something that is um really an issue and what we've seen in recent years is that the non economists So, please correct me if I'm wrong with the negatives uh which means that the negative side effects of tourism They get to distribute to everybody within a destination um but the gains from it um often get limited to a small amount of people. So that makes it um that those who gain those who do not claim that is uh uh a big issue and also of course there's also accounts for the environment uh flying it's not great. Um unfortunately um so

this climate change there but also on a local level. Um so there's a lot of people like me know far more about those things about it than I do but you can those issues too. So, the big problem is uh in the management of tourism is like um what's what does it do for whom and who gains from it and who does not? I it's the distribution um that that is problematic in itself. I don't

think that's very different from the way our global economy is basically organized today. Um so for me that's not a thing that drew me to tourism. It's like it's such a mini worlds in itself that really represents uh some of the issues that we have in our current uh economic system at large. So, on that matter, it's very interesting to see like, okay, what's happening in tourism now may be something that we will see in other sectors or already seeing in other sectors to Um so that's that's how I see it basically in in different localities also around the world where sometimes it's a bit more extreme like if you go to places where there's you know, incredible differences in income and wealth such as townships or other economically impoverished areas, it becomes very visible. Well, but what

we've seen with the pandemic is that even more economically well to do areas uh also have not seen, oh my gosh, the tourism does not just bring benefits. It also has disadvantages and there's also in a way certain benefits of having so many. It's just so and that's very interesting in these times that now we're at stage, we're thinking, okay, this was all great but what are we going to do with it? Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Anyone else want to add

to this? Oh yeah. I mean, uh I think that in terms of where we are now is that right before the pandemic, we had record numbers of tourists around the world and we had record growth and we had uh ten to 11% of the global economy uh and I think one of the things that your listeners really need to think about is how tourism is organized because it's not really one industry that's so important. I think that there's a lot of things to understand about the underpinnings of how tourism is delivered. Obviously, airlines are very different from cruise lines and hotels very different from you know, attractions such as golf courses and yet, they're all called tourism. So, I would

say, you know, because of the record growth, pre-pandemic, uh we had one, you know, the most challenging circumstances that we've ever had for the idea of making tourism sustainable and I would say that the reason that we weren't making progress was because there was inadequate training and how to make progress. Very little regulation and a lot of incentives for growth and and and as I was saying, a general understanding that even in you know, such questions as the Paris agreement where we get left out. It wasn't even included. Uh so that leaves us with very little to work with because our governments don't even feel responsible to be part of international efforts to lower impacts. So, Just a few samples. and how about in in New Zealand, what is the the feeling there about tourism these days? Yeah, we um uh a bit like uh you folks Megan, um our economy was booming in terms of tourism right before COVID. in fact, you know,

record numbers and the loss of that the tourism dollar has had an equally big effect on our economy as well. Um I think what I've seen from where I was at in New Zealand was um for government um tourism agencies, and the sector across hotels and transport. um including organizations like a New Zealand is to come together under a an agreement and and in fact, they've created a sustainability agreement around what tourism would look like and tourism 2025 is what they call that document aspirational document about how we all treat the environment about uh about how we communicate with our customers about what sort of experience we want to offer them about about how tourism can be good for a New Zealand as a nation and I'd really like to say that I think I think the aspiration has been has been really well embraced by everyone across the sector. It's a difficult thing to get all of these complex um parts of the tourism sector to cooperate under a single banner of. Yes, we're all looking to do good by each other and by the community and by the environments in which tourism has an effect. um and so I

think COVID has put the hand break on all of that devastated our tourism industry as it has everyone else's and I think it does give time to reflect on the important parts of who we are as a tourism destination and for me, that's always been about to your your point about distribution of who gets the the dollar and the value out of that tourism sector and for me, the focus has always been on Maui tourism and the ability for our indigenous people to take control of their narratives to tell the history um from their own voice and to capture the value and to share that experience with the tourists that come to New Zealand and so I've always been interested and how we take the the legacy of our 150 year tourism sector which was founded upon Maui principles and bring that forward into the future. taking our values and taking some of the insights from our indigenous culture to provide a platform that we can build sustainable tourism from I think one of the issues in Hawaii is that we've been measuring success at a gross level. Uh total arrivals, total spending uh but it's a co pointed out the distribution of those benefits is not is not even and somebody needs to be watching out for the destination. All these players in this complex industry called uh tourism uh are watching out for themselves are making sure that they are profitable uh but it's the role of government or an authority of some sort to uh watch out for the donation because of if tourism isn't benefiting the community, is it? If it isn't benefiting the um the host, what what's the point? Uh and Hawaii has a has a history of of having very light hand on uh on this. We didn't even have a tourism authority until 1998 and in all the years where tourism was growing and we grew from about 6 million visitors in 2019.

2009 rather to about 10.4000000 visitors 10 million uh 10 years later. um we should have seen the impacts and we should've we should have been saying how can we um manage this better so that we are more equitable, that the community is represented and that uh we've we've found a way to to uh coordinate this complex industry so that it's beneficial to all the players Yeah. And going back to what my

grandmother built. Uh one of the things that happens around the world is a lack of uh really what I would call appropriate land-use planning. It's not a tool that is even taught in tourism schools. uh

but it is probably one of the most important uh systems to you know, create zoning where you know that that is strict enough so that you don't have, you know, what we see in Miami, Honolulu, Phuket Cancun, Uh none of these things are coincidences. Um they are part of a general pattern uh in which uh authorities and I'm most familiar with Florida. um don't have actually the incentive to try and stop the growth process and so once it takes off, it's very very difficult to stop Yeah. That incentive to stop

the growth process and you know, Frankie were talking about how in Hawaii, it's been measured at the success success at such a gross level. Here's a comment that's coming in from one of our viewers. No amount of tourism money distributed to us Residents can make up for the loss of our hiking trails to accords of tourists. Certainly, that's a viewpoint that we have seen more and more in these last months and I guess I'm curious If you could talk to the whole question of residents versus tourists, you know, and and that kind of sense of of conflict that we're seeing emerge um and how how destinations deal with that and how residents are given a voice in the kind of management and incentivize that goes on in tourism Well, I was thinking that would take that but but uh you know, I just went through the same discussion in the Vancouver area very recently because of the same thing. So many people

are moving out of Vancouver and kind of moving in on people that live in these more beautiful coastal areas up, you know, in British Columbia and and I think that what we discussed there was that the communities themselves which I see might be happening in Hawaii will have to get a more proactive about you know, the care of those sites and the cost of care of those sites and then, even consensus about how to manage the, you know, the hiking trails so that you know, they don't become overcrowded. Those are difficult decisions that but they can be made and there's lots of uh you know, ways of doing it through, you know, the protected area community has been looking at that for years but I think what the issue is for so many people Julia is that they never were how to do this kind of thing. No one ever told them. look, you're in charge and you know, everyone basically thought there would be a central authority that would take care of it and so, uh as Frank knows, we've been looking at that closely at Harvard. How how can we improve governance of tourism? So we can look at that Oh, there's just go ahead to follow along from that. I think you're very right, Megan and um but it's uh what I also see is like when we're talking about uh tourists versus residents, it's always just like one verse is the other and I think that is always a very tricky narrative because most of us uh not all but most of us are also tourists on a very regular basis. Uh so there's also a key

in in empathy for us when we are the tourists uh and are we when we are at a holiday estimation also um acting with the same empathy like that we have for the place that we have as a residents uh because we are all the same people. So, it's and you can see that so many people when they're at the as a resident, they're a bit annoyed with what happens and as a tourists, they acts in a similar way is that what they find annoying So I think it's that self reflection is also important and empathy for understanding like what am I doing but then again, that is difficult. I mean, I can see you can also blame the individual that's too easy and has been done too much with tourism but it's a tourist fault. Um for me, it's really, this is systemic problem, a systemic characteristic of what we now called tourism. Um so we need to look at it on this systemic this greater level and I think uh we're basically like we need to look at the broader picture and who can take ownership for the strategy and for managing uh Respect it.

Yeah. If we, if we call it a system rather than an industry, we change the lens. We change the focus Yeah. Yeah. It is one of the, I also have to say it's one of the most multidisciplinary fields out there and and the reason is because it it affects so many different. You're asking about what is really the psychology of tourism rate or or you know, acceptance of outsiders and how much we can share our natural resources. I mean, that's a fascinating topic and it's uh something that uh we like to explore but right now I mean just to say for us in the most pressing issues, you know, and I've heard this a lot, this pandemic migration is is certainly affecting people and that's a good topic uh but you know, for us anyway, for me and many of us, the biggest topic is, you know, the climate impacts and and even though I know it's ironic and we can get to it, I think it can help you because in the end, uh it's not going to be uh a good idea to continue on the pathway of planning tourism without understanding its greenhouse impacts uh you know and and if we don't look at that, then you don't even have an argument on how to contain it and what I'm finding is that that could provide some very, very important reasons to relook this this idea of the residents almost a kind a decentralization of power of residents having some sort of say um over the care of resources in their areas. Um

I'm curious, you know, rather than this sort of idea that the tour buses pull up and discourage a whole lot of people and and and people who are there really can do nothing but witness Um Andrew, how how does that work in New Zealand? Is there a kind of a general sense there that um that I'm the general kind of person on the street has some control over what happens with tourists. You know, that's as you say it's it's really super complex. Um we do have a coordination between the government and towns and regions and councils in those towns who control the parking and the the you know, the number of public restrooms and the the number of hotels and we've we've had for a long time in New Zealand. Um an

interesting kind of tourism what we most of the tourists have tended to stick to the middle of our island because that's where the big cities are and that's where the most of the main attractions are and so the started to feel a little bit about that because they weren't getting the economic benefits. They weren't people weren't really understanding the full spectrum of experiences that New Zealand had to offer either. So, the idea came strategically to say, well, let's let's get some regional disposal of our tourism. Um uh people coming in and of course, once they started to do that, these little towns realized that they didn't have the infrastructure to support the arrival of large numbers of tourists and and and that's when You start to get that resistance from communities about it. I don't I don't really like tourists because when I turn my tap on, there's no water anymore or when I go to the use the the public restrooms and they're messy because you know, the tourists have left a big mess behind them and and because of the complexity of the system is that who is responsible for that? The council was really keen on having tourists come in in the first instance but less keen on the actual cost or implications of having those tourists come in and then leave it a big mess behind them. So, um there has been a lot of coordination between our tourism agency and government and councils about what that means for each region and um trying to identify what sort of uh attractions you have in that region and and and what sort of tourists might be interested in coming to that region allows people to start creating better plans and ideas about what sort of influx of tourists they're going to have come to their place and then um and then create the infrastructure to support that because if it's there is no major impact on the people who live in those communities, Actually, tourism can be seen as a really positive thing um and particularly in in a lot of regions where there are smaller communities who have wonderful histories and stories to tell.

you can empower those people to seek out a different kind of tourism which is much more personal and enables people to take um or um um a sense of uh their own self determination around how they share those stories as well and that sense of control about the narrative and the environment tends to make people a little bit happier about tourism chasing through their backyard Yeah, absolutely. Um that ties in with a comment here. I want to share a couple of comments and questions that have come in from Eugene who writes more of a host and guest perspective is required. This place is more

responsibility on both parties to better manage the destination. Um Here's a comment from from Lisa Counties. Should get credit for arguably doing the most to head off the impacts of tourism while the state has as mister Hoss remarked taken a lot more pro tourist at all cost approach Um she's asking what uh Frank is your perspective on the recent defunding of HT addressing the issues of tourism is going to take um coordination across all of the governmental bodies involvement of the community and it's going to take resources. Um we can't we can't solve the problems without all of those things happening. The um the

especially in the United States and especially in Um it's very difficult to manage tourism when you've got different entities if if um because this is in Hawaii, I'll mention La Ao Beach um trying to solve the problem at La Ao Beach. It's uh where there's a lot of traffic jams as people back up because of congestion with people wanting to see the turtles. You've got a state highway.

It's adjacent to uh uh a beach uh which is uh uh uh DNR or uh there's DNR on the side of the highway. Uh you've got the State Department of Transportation. you've got the county Uh if you want to have police go out there so you need some sort of organization that can coordinate across all entities to to really solve that problem and problem similar to that, you also need resources. Uh if you're going to um address some of these things, you may need to uh that's an example where one of the solutions out there is to realign the highway which is very expensive. Uh now, that's an extreme case but uh even Monte Falls when we uh that's been closed uh and they're going to create uh they're going to refurbish that improve that possibly find some uh mitigation for the impacts on the neighborhood that will cost money. So, you need both

authority that cuts across those um those jurisdictions. you need uh resources to implement plans and you need the community support and the community support can can can end up saying no we we don't want we don't want tourism in our neighborhood uh or if we want tourism, we want to under these conditions uh and if we can do that I think We're on our way to finding a way to to support tourism without uh while mitigating the uh the impacts that really gets into the training side. Julia, what I'm saying is is that right now, we have tourism authorities that have a certain kind of training. I mean,

that's the reality. They they've been trained since the you know, when did you say they were organized in Hawaii in the nineteen 98.0 1998? Okay. Uh so you know, but they were trained under a certain set of concepts about bringing you know the market to the islands. I'm sure Um and there's a lot of technical knowledge to do that without question. uh but what

Frank is talking about is as I was saying much more multidisciplinary. So, you know what my team has been looking at is something we're calling destination hubs and uh they're a way of bringing together those disciplines especially in these times uh that will provide capacity building uh through you know UNWTO training They will uh look at how to finance through a variety of you know, federal and state mechanisms so that the types of protections that are needed say on beaches or where uh you know, coral reef or whatever our our studied and reviewed and then also the whole question of how to manage the trails like you said that will that will require as Frank saying all that kind of interagency cooperation. Uh it's going to cost a lot uh but the money is actually It's just a question of reorganizing it to help folks to think through and it doesn't have to be done all at once but it could be done a way that could be replicated over time. Yeah, I want to share a comment from Dawn. She says aloha and mahalo for this discussion. I just wanted to share that some of us here belong to a Facebook group called ETA Enough Tourists Already. We are 2400 growing by

the day residents of all islands from all backgrounds but we are united in our belief that over tourism is killing our islands. We need change now and we're mobilizing. So, I think that taps into a sentiment that is certainly out there. um and that uh for so long it seemed like really that the people who were involved with tourism in Hawaii were involved in it largely with the idea of um market Come. Come. More people come. That's what Frankie alluded to. We went

from 6 million to 10.4000000. So, I guess it feels to me like, how do you then uh shift and I'm looking at this really, I'm wanting to set this question within the global perspective because I know other places, other destinations are grappling with this but how do you really switch so that it's not just money and numbers this gross level that you were talking about Frank and really is down to a much more sophisticated management that really takes into account the needs of the ecosystems, the needs of the residents, the needs of the visitors, and create something that is healthy. So, I guess really my question is, what does a healthy model of tourism look like? and maybe we can come back to to you for that and then hear from the others Yeah, I mean, if we would have the healthy model already um I think uh none of us would be here because that would be basically amazing and we'd did that Um but what you can I think if we talk about a healthy model, people are experimenting with this like I have no idea if the doughnut economy uh concepts, It's a book by Kate uh British uh economic and it's pretty brilliant. It's pretty good uh about a new way of reorganizing the economy along much more broadly. So, not just economic ways. Um that's what people in Amsterdam are now experimenting with like how can we relate that to tourism and you can see similar experiments to in in other places but I think when it comes down to a large extent is and we've mentioned this. I

mentioned it. I think uh Andrew mentioned in a way and Megan mentioned is not seeing tourism and economic sector or as an economic concept and when we talk about the value of tourism and let's not talk about economic value like when uh Amsterdam has a new tourism strategy and like also during which was created in co creation with its residents over the COVID period and one of the outcomes of that is like we need to look for valuable tourists but valuable and it's interesting because there's sometimes gets lost already Valuable is not determined by economic impact that they can have. No, it's about what can they contribute to actual problems we have in our city. So, we define problems If you can help deal with it, that's great. You become a valuable

tourist so then it takes it away from the elitist concept of what we only want wealthy tourist because wealthy tourist can be really annoying too. and as you can see, there's examples like um ideas of visitors who want to come to be litter, take litter from the canals in in Amsterdam. It's a big problem. This pollution

there um but it's also very interesting way to engage with the city in a very different way. So, there are visitors who like that and I think that is as a as a way out. That's where it starts like reengage with like what do we see as the role of tourism in a place do we see it as an economic sector that provides economic benefits and as such, we want to seemingly a profit from it or do we see there's something else, something that is there. Um so, I'm not going to go away. That's something that we may be able to um get all over uh and at the moment, you've seen a lot of destinations that has been difficult to basically get all over tourism and it's very interesting to see that uh people um you know, I are organizing and I think that's a very good first step into basically getting that counter voice to the dominant growth narrative which is there a good example There is Barcelona of course which I think 10 years ago already. Um you saw that happening there and that has really helped but it's also helped because the government last 5 years or so has dared to engage with the residents and not say no, we're not doing it.

No talking with the residents like, what do you want then? And then you get a very different discussion on where do we want to go? How do we want to do this and then you can start experimenting with new ways of dealing with and again, I see a lot of value in creating shared benefits creating a societal value. Good example that is super killer in uh in Denmark. If you want to look at it, look it up. Um it's

a um a square which basically is on a multicultural, economically impoverished area but they've not come down the economic route now. They've chosen to use tourism uh to uh unite a community in a big park um and celebrate local diversity and celebrates local. and this has really worked much better than these economic benefits because now suddenly, everybody is profiting in a way because everybody's getting their voice and everybody's getting the ability to tell their story. They're not economic benefits but it's helps give people the same thing like we are empowered. We

are in control of telling our story. It's not someone else and I think that is uh one of the main issues is that people have the idea that it's not them in control. um and it's someone else. Yeah. Can I share

a little story from New Zealand Um in 2014 of the sector came together to kind of think about what the future of tourism might look like and in 2019, they created uh a sustainability framework I guess but the the framework was founded on values um about the intrinsic value that New Zealand has felt about their their own country and so we have a beautiful country which has, you know, mountains and ocean and beaches and gorgeous fields and lakes and rivers and and people who come here want to that and some of them don't know the impact that they have on the environment. So, pubs is educating tourists about how to treat our country like the way that we would treat it, right? So, don't come here and dump your stuff all over the place. Come here and and treat the country the way that we believe it should be treated right. We want this country to be here in a thousand years. um and we want it to be better in a years than it is today, right? And that means that we have to behave a certain way and what's interesting about the platform that was created here in New Zealand is that the entire tourism sector bought into this idea of yucky about being guardians and about being um uh to look after and foster this natural resource that we have in New Zealand um and as a value set that allows you to think differently about how you do business, about how you interact with your tourists about what sort of things that you offer them as a tourism experience and and from a value based proposition around the intrinsic heart of what your tourism promises and what your tourism destination will promises is that you can get the sector. Luckily, in New Zealand, we've had really great buy and if you can get all of the different parts of the tourism sector to come along with that values-based journey then at least you have a common pathway that you will um traveling down which is we want this place to be better and we're going to educate our tourists about how to treat this place like we want it to be treated um and generally people want to come along and and be on a which is greater than just the tourism experience itself. right?

Actually, by being a tourist in New Zealand, you can come and be a part of saving the environment and making it better by taking your rubbish with you and taking any photographs, right? Caring for the land and see the way that the people of this land do I think those are, you know, really wonderful things and you know, I I've helped to develop, you know, ecotourism style, uh destinations for like three quarters of my career and and you can say wonderful things about places like Costa Rica and New Zealand but uh but I've grown past as a professional because of the, you know, hard knows nature of the industry we're actually really working with. It's you know, it's a trillion industry and so I feel that you know, we need, you know, some pretty powerful tools that go beyond goodwill and I think that for me, as II got looted to you and I'll just say quickly, surprisingly, I do think it's the climate crisis that could actually help us uh because uh we need to go on a diet. I mean, we essentially have to decide that there's only so much tourism that is possible based the commitments we're making on, you know, as a globe to lower greenhouse gas emissions and and tourism is already at 8% of the total there and if we don't go on a diet as a, you know, as a traveling society, we're going to see it go up to 15% fairly shortly. So, so what we can really do on the positive side is simply measure this as a as destinations. We don't the full

cost of tourism to our municipalities and we certainly don't know exactly how much we're admitting by way and and there's a lot of technicalities to this. Uh you have to separate out the international air. We could get to that another time but at the destination level, you can also measure this and if that were to happen, you'd begin to understand how the direct and indirect impacts of tourism are affecting islands. In addition to how much of a budget you'd have a budget to work with. You see and it be a regulatory budget. I don't want to be too

hard knows but you know, let's face it. The free market hasn't exactly delivered what we need. So and I think it's fair to talk about well, how much tourism can we afford Almost in order to, you know, really ensure that we're delivering the highest quality experience? I mean, I think we talk Andrew. before that. What is it? The numbers in New Zealand are quite a bit lower than Hawaii's. Isn't that right? Oh,

yeah. Yeah. Compared to you guys, we have, we don't have nearly the same kind of um intensity of tourism that you folks have on your own particularly on Oahu and you're geographically bigger. One of them. we're we're very lucky in

terms of how our tourism sector has uh has grown and developed and and and I think we're we're ahead of the curve like you folks are dealing with issues that we haven't had yet to deal with We've got we've already sought by in from across the sector and I think everybody wants to protect this with this land in a way that potentially, you've already passed that conversation in Hawaii, right? It's you're already, you're having a different kind of conversation. Yeah. So, you have to have a reason to create a budget of some kind for for the cost of managing tourists which you don't have and also the greenhouse gas questions uh and you know, one way to at is to measure it so that you have an ongoing sense of you know, what are the, you know, real implications of tourism on the islands? I was asked before when I thought about uh Hawaii Tourism Authority having its budget cut and uh II said at the beginning that tourism is very complex and solving some of these problems is going to take resources. So uh to uh Megan's point we need to identify the needs uh assess what needs to be done but then we actually have to have have the resources to go mitigate those things uh whether it's natural sources or supporting the culture or fixing the trails or whatever is is going to cost money and HT a uh gets accused of only doing marketing but way back in 2005, we did a strategic plan uh that had nine strategic initiatives only. one of which was marketing. Now, marketing is very visible and it's all it cost a lot of money so it gets it gets a lot of attention but we said all nine of these things have to be successful in order for the destination to be successful. Hawaiian culture community Support Communications access workforce training, uh employment, and um you know, what happened is that uh when there was a state audit, the auditors said, well, you guys can't do all this stuff so you should take it out of your next plan. So, so it's it's really

it's really a failure of implementation and and being able to cut across those um those barriers and those jurisdictions. Uh that's I think us from being from doing better at managing tourism. looking at at impacts costs, um and uh and also and I wanted to just point out another huge difference between Hawaii and New Zealand of course is that you're a sovereign nation so you have much more control over your your borders. Um here here's a comment from Jodi that I wanted to share. 1.4000000 residents, that's us, the residents of Hawaii are paying to maintain The infrastructure used by them as well as 10 million visitors. We're also

paying for the education needed for the people who work in the tourist industry. Is it possible to provide a base income for all the teachers, medical workers, and creatives, artist performers, etcetera, who add to the tourist experience doing so will provide the base to start a circular economy that supports our residents, retains the people who are employed to keep us all safe, healthy, and educated. So, that's a kind of an interesting idea of going back to that point. about who benefits and the equity of that benefit and almost a sort of a universal basic income idea that um if if Hawaii is sort of uh uh a place that is where there are going to be huge numbers of people coming in Um should there be some sort of basic standard of living guaranteed to the residents of the place. What do you think about that? Um well, I think it's a great idea Um the problem is and this again, I think also goes to the root of the problem is that this is a political choice at a destination level that's local national politicians need to take and um unless that is done, it's very I think it is really uh one of the ways to go. um but the trick is how do we get politicians, our local politicians to recognize that this could be a viable option and it is a viable option As you can see already in uh to a lesser extent in places that have suffered from overdoses like Amsterdam, like Barcelona, where they are using the money from tourism to actually um pay for local public transport. I

mean, I think um the I don't know exactly how the percentages but a significant amount of uh public transport in Amsterdam is paid for by visitors who need to buy from these visitor cards that you sometimes get somewhere and they're relatively overpriced but very easy to use. So, in that way, this is already doing that and that stimulates basically and in essence lowers the price that's residents need to pay for certain facilities. The same with museums that I think they're too expensive in the Netherlands but still they are to a large parts also paid by the tourism industry in place like Barcelona increase You know.

management organization has started to show what's tourism income thus can do for the city. So, we're, this park is maintained with the income from this part of tourism and then it comes to transparency, Political will. do you want to use uh tourism as a tool for good which is possible. It's a choice or not and if you're a local politician, and do not want to. then it's going to be interesting but that's going to be just how do we get people to recognize that and uh there are examples like these two where tourism is used and actually the whole New Zealand case tourism in New Zealand from what I understand also from and and from my own thinking it's not used just to get economic benefits. No, it's used to

empower and stimulate the quality of life of local residents. That's a choice. It works there. might be a good idea to try it. Um you Julia, if I could just point out that um uh an answer to that uh viewer's question uh a big chunk of the transit accommodations tax goes to the counties and to the general fund. so that does pay for schools and hospitals and all those other things. In fact, in 2019, it was about a half a 1 billion dollars raised in uh TAT and about uh 330 337 million 337 million dollars went to the general fund and 103 million dollars went to the counties and going forward with the changes that were made in this legislative session Essentially legislature is taking all of that uh TAT money and so um that's going to be reinvested or redistributed to other other programs. Now, that

doesn't answer the question fully Um how should we be uh how should we be Um uh tapping into the to the uh visitor traffic to more specifically support things in in Hawaii but right now it's being done in that manner through the TAT. Yeah and I was mention that there's a couple of examples from Belize and also in Spain, the Bali Islands where uh they put uh additional small tax of one or $2 on top of the other types of uh tourism taxes that have traditionally been there uh to create what are called trust funds and uh those trust funds are reinvested in you know and they are not they don't go to the general fund actually and we could talk about that whether or not going to the general fund is good or not but that some folks think it's dangerous. and and this way, it it basically puts what they call, you know, a fence around that money and then there are independent boards in Belize and in the Bali Islands of Spain that decide exactly how that tax is spent and in both cases they they those are considered to be very successful. Uh they are pretty

frequently fought by industry uh because it's an extra tax uh but when they're implemented in hundreds of millions of dollars have gone into the Bali uh trust fund in and just since 2017. Uh so they have more in common with Hawaii in that sense. They they have a really big master tourism economy with a lot of people coming there and uh you know staying for short periods of time and they're getting a lot of turnover and they're getting a lot of funding to reinvest It's also what you're saying me and it's like what? I can see that is in the English leg districts also very heavily visited tourism destination in the UK. Um they they've started experimenting with visitor giving which is a voluntary. It's not a tax. it's a

voluntary donation. uh by uh tourists and the local. this is this is a set up by a local Ngo. It's nothing to do with government really. Um but uh they got businesses behind it because it businesses to basically show uh what tourism can also do. So, the idea is basically tourists if I think it's a uh over every reservation that they make in a hotel etcetera but of course, over time, you get a lot of income that way and then they give the residents the choice to say, what are we going to do with this? of course to moderates etcetera um but uh it gives you direct in petition like okay this is what we can do with tourism and also I think for You don't need government to this business there started to support us also because this is a place that's also overrun with this.

If you want to keep this place as it is and be healthy long term, and basically for a business that's quite useful. Um that's more valuable to business because people pay more to go there. Yeah. Yeah And it's like long term like otherwise taking this lake district but in 20 years, it's overrun, it's gone. Um so, definitely there's also an interest for businesses here to really engage with it and you do not necessarily need government. um but it's about thinking creatively about new solutions on how do we harness this history economy Yeah, there's so many questions that come out of this and you you spoke before about transparency, right? And and Megan, you've talked about this is really a kind of a hard nosed industry Um Frank You know, I would love to hear your thoughts on the economic transparency of the industry In Hawaii. We know about the taxes but what do we really know about the profits that are being made and where that money is going? Oh, it's uh that's a complicated question. There's

um uh and I don't know. I don't have a simple answer for that. uh in the past uh the state state has done something called the tourism satellite account. Uh Megan is probably familiar with those where they analyzed uh the the the uh in economic terms, the uh inflows and out flows and everything like that. um and um much of the money does stay here. Um obviously,

Um uh it it works better with locally owned businesses and we've seen more offshore businesses operating in in the state but um I'm I'm sorry I don't have a specific answer for you Julia. Okay. Here, here's another question. It's a little bit related. This is from Keith. He says, I'd like to know what the panelists think of community or nonprofit led tourism management efforts versus government or industry led efforts Are there notable examples of community or nonprofit management initiatives, especially ones where there is government and industry cooperation. I'd like to start with answering that by saying it rather either or it's both and in partnership and a good example of that is high in the state park on Kauai uh where the community had a real issue with uh congestion and over tourism. Uh they involve

the uh the county but also cultural uh folks in the community and uh the Hawaii Tourism Authority got involved in helping to fund that. So that was a that was a true partnership across all those um all those organizations in order to solve a problem for the community. Well, there's community-based tourism all over the world and it's been, you know, I think a semi successful uh experiment. Uh there's been problems with the uh ability to keep it operating in a way that keeps the individuals that first started it and you know, continuing to be involved just like a lot of nonprofits too. You know, it takes uh you know a kind of genius to keep those things running, right because it's not the simple profit and loss type of approach to managing things and therefore you know, and especially when you're going to have community consensus and having a lot of players involved in deciding who does what I mean, I've been deeply involved in this in the Amazon region uh working with indigenous people and and there have been successes but the successes often come from what are we studied Uh you know, really came out of joint ventures where the community works together with business. So, supply certain skills and the community supplies other skills and then and then you can have a really nice blend of, you know, truly authentic local cultural management while also, you know, having great, you know, assertive ability to keep the business running, right? And I want to invite you to come back in. If there's

anything you want to add uh from uh from um I've seen a comment from Mason um uh in the chat um for your for your comments and it kind of relates to this conversation too about uh communities and how they can influence what's happening in the area and she talks about uh the Freedom Camper movement in New Zealand caused the consternation around the regions because people were tearing around in these camper vans and vehicles leaving trails of rubbish and devastation wherever they went in particularly in the regions. It was very annoying for people but to the tribe um uh who uh has governed a guardianship of the Theodore with a forest actually just said no. we're not going to accept this anymore and so they they petitioned and and actually got Freedom Camp banned from the forestry area because they were just ruining it um and and they taught people they they taught these tourists how to operate differently in the area and it was obviously not just uh the tribe but they got help from the local council and in New Zealand is in general said yes yes we we don't want these tourists behaving this way. Um

so that changing the mindset of how tourists act in your regions and and not accepting poor behavior is also a part of I think getting getting your local people to buy into what tourism is and the value that it adds to your communities. One of the things I just want to mention. uh it occurs to me is a kind of a one of the secondary effects of tourism in Hawaii. uh over the decades as people have come to know uh as an extremely beautiful place. Um a quite a unique place. Uh

many people have visited and many people have decided, well, I'd like to buy a house here and um so now Hawaii has a terrible housing crisis and the cost of housing has gone way up and I don't know Whether anyone has tried to uh statistically tie that to the tourism industry but it has to be an effect of so many people coming to Hawaii and Hawaii and being seen as a desirable place It's really thrown off the society in a lot of ways and again, in a place like New Zealand where you have some control over your borders in Hawaii, that doesn't exist. So, I just would like to ask the panels for their thoughts on on on that when people decide what we're going to be more than tourists, we're we're moving here The question is like um well, of all, it's difficult to stop. So, that's um and how do you um um weed out the bad from the good. I'd say like because

there's also of course a lot of people genuinely just love. I want to really contribute uh to Hawaii um and I think and that's where it gets very difficult because um you know, you you don't really know about mean I do think there's something to say like you have to if you want to basically be based here, you have to contribute something. you have to live here like so that second and third homes which are just used as investment properties because that's I think particularly in tourism. I presume it's the same in Hawaii, A massive issue that people just buy houses without any intention of living there um and then that is something that that shoots uh or could be legally dealt with but I don't know from what I can see from the chat that might not be happening anytime soon. but again, this is something that's uh as community groups and groups. It could be something

to really engage with because this housing crisis is a big political uh problem and it's something that's really affects a lot of people and it's often when we talk about tourism problems, it's like, yeah, but tourism, it's just an industry. It's just and it's nice tourism. It's nice where I go to talk about a housing crisis now that is serious and that is that's a different department That's why you get political buy. So, I think uh yeah. um

social movements here is really the answer to um trying to at least limits uh housing is an investment project like what people coming to live and coming to the residents in a place um that is very difficult because why would that not be possible? It's a free country We we we live in Vermont um and we have a lot of you. You must have this in the Netherlands too but there's like a ton of discussion about that going on all the time which is how do we maintain affordable housing for local residents while a lot of people want to move here to um and you know, Bernie Sanders is my senator and and you know, he was my our mayor and and You know, we have some wonderful examples that we could share afterwards. Julia, uh you know, in terms of the types of things they do not to say it's perfect at all but you know, there have been a lot of investments here and and ongoing efforts to try and build affordable housing and also the uh governor who's a Republican by the way uh seeks to use the excess funds that we're getting you know, for the recovery to put that into affordable housing. Uh I think you have a homeless problem too, right? And and uh yeah, I thought so and and and we're facing that too and and so there's like funds also from the Recovery Act going to uh more housing for people that don't even have homes. So, we

do build back better which I think you mentioned at the beginning is a really important opportunity to arrest some of those problems. I think certainly in Vermont they're working really hard to address affordable housing We have a similar problem in New Zealand with housing. Um despite what the economist said that the price of housing went up over 40% in the last couple of years. So, it's done exactly the same thing. um here as it

has there which is displaced people who can no longer afford to be in the market and those are un unfortunately, a lot of Maui people the is there a tie between that and tourism? I think. Absolutely. Um when you make yourself an attractive destination for people who have a a lot of um why wouldn't you want to go and buy a house and live there? Uh we saw a lot of that happen when we became middle Earth and the Lord of the Rings that has been um you know um uh noted in the chat room but also when New Zealand is seen as this island Bastian of COVID free. Um we've been really lucky that we have been able to shut our borders down and live a pretty much a covid-free life We've not been nearly as heavily impacted as the rest of the world on uh in community. I mean, within the country on COVID but that also makes us trip attractive, right? When you're seen as an outpost of health and well being in this beautiful, gorgeous country. Of course, people want to come and live here and buy a property which is exactly what they're doing. Well, it's quickly a tax structure that if it's a second home, you pay a higher rate of property tax in Vermont. we've

had that a really long time. Yeah. want to ask of tourism in Hawaii that has undoubtedly affected housing is a vacation rentals and uh uh while tourism was growing and

2021-07-24 00:25

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