[important]Download the RTD5 Alberta Declaration[/important]
5th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations
June 26-29th, 2011 – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
In June of 2011, 193 delegates from over 20 countries worldwide met in Edmonton, Alberta for the 5th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, hosted by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – Canada. The conference was co-chaired by Laura McGowan, Director, ICRT- Canada and by Professor Harold Goodwin of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – UK. All delegates were inspired by the quality and diversity of work being done in Alberta to further responsible tourism values.
Building on the founding principles of the Cape Town Declaration (2002) and the subsequent findings of the Kerala, Belize, and Oman conferences, The Alberta Declaration presents the recommendations of this conference about what can be done to make tourism more responsible in five areas of current concern:
- Access for All
- Polar Tourism
- Indigenous Tourism
- Tourism & Local Economic Development in a Developed Country
1. Access for All
For the first time at the International Conferences on Responsible Tourism in Destinations there was discussion about accessibility.
- Recognizes that previous declarations on responsible tourism have not encompassed the diversity of people with different disabilities.
- Demands that tourism providers place priority on ensuring access is available to everyone.
- Providers must be clear and concise in providing information about what facilities are available to people with disabilities in a variety of formats to ensure that they are accessible to all.
- Acknowledges that governments must sign, ratify and implement the UN Convention and Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to ensure that people with disabilities have better places to live in and visit.
- Recognizes that the inclusion of people with disabilities in tourism should be habitual, rather than by special arrangement, people with disabilities also have a responsibility to make clear their requirements.
2. Polar Tourism
- Must bridge the gap between tourism activity and integrated water ways and land use planning in Polar Regions.
- Recognizes the importance of the inclusion of local and aboriginal communities and governing bodies in tourism planning, participation and the provision of services.
- Recognizes that polar tourism occurs in fragile environments and on traditional lands, highly sensitive to impacts on local culture and climate change.Demands that tourism providers assume responsibility for:
- Environmental Conservation
- Cultural Preservation
- Improved Livelihoods for local people
- All forms of tourism in Polar Regions, as elsewhere, must respect local indigenous traditions and lifestyles.
3. Indigenous Tourism
- Stakeholders must invest in infrastructure according to, and with respect for, local community needs.
- Recognizes the necessity of enhanced partnerships between indigenous groups and all generations to inspire collaboration, cultural pride and a sense of identity.
- Indigenous tourism activity must ensure sustainable community development and capacity building; and by developing skills and expertise create meaningful employment, thriving communities and encourage the sustainable use of natural resources.
- Stipulates that all stakeholders must commit to their duty to consult with indigenous groups in matters of tourism, traditional livelihoods and community development, taking into account the importance of traditional land use planning.
- Requires transparent and accountable systems to ensure that significant economic benefits derived from tourism stay in the indigenous community.
4. Tourism & Local Economic Development in a Developed Country
- All efforts must include key community leaders, recognizing that places are unique and that all solutions are local.
- All stakeholders must seek agreement on a collaborative vision for tourism in the community.
- Must assist local communities to develop support networks that utilise local and external resources and expertise.
- Requires that tourism projects and planning include a plan for long term financial sustainability and self-sufficiency, while ensuring the economic benefits of tourism are distributed equitably.
- Recognizes the need for effective communication between all stakeholders, sharing both positive and negative case studies, the lessons learned, and acknowledging failures.
For the first time at the International Conferences on Responsible Tourism in Destinations there was discussion about governance.
- Destinations are people’s homes; Responsible Tourism puts local people first. Responsible Tourism is about making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.
- With a few exceptions destinations are centred on public assets held in common, the public realm, such as beaches, public squares, ecosystems and their services streetscapes and landscapes, assets which need to be maintained; the funding for which need to be addressed.
- Tourism is managed locally in the destination within a national framework, many parts of government impact through action and inaction on the management of destinations. The challenge is to enable the different parts of government to work together and with other stakeholders to take responsibility for destinations and to ensure that tourism is managed sustainably.
- The core functions of local governance are particularly important to the management of tourism and balancing public and private interests, land use planning is of particular importance in shaping and managing the development of destinations.
- One of the major challenges for us is fostering co-operation and collaboration, this is a particular challenge in tourism because of the cultural and natural heritage which it uses and the range of stakeholders involved in tourism
- Tourism needs to make its case constituency by constituency. We need to make the case for the contribution of tourism to our communities by evidencing the net benefits.
Signed at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on June 29, 2011 by co-chairs Laura McGowan and Harold Goodwin, on behalf of the Conference.
Laura McGowan Harold Goodwin
ICRT Canada ICRT International