Learn the lesson from Estancia, Iloilo Oil Spill

Posted in Clean Blue Asia, Good Governance, Sustainable Development, Travel, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , on December 14, 2013 by Sustainability Guru

Foreword. Estancia, Iloilo suffered not only devastation on a massive scale but also man-made disaster of oil spill from the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. This is a re-post from our SSTDI Guest Resource Person, Sustainable Lifestyle Designer PJ Aranador’s blog about his hometown Estancia and the destruction brought by the super typhoon. The tourism and hospitality industry should learn the lesson of Estancia, Iloilo oil spill: NO to bunker fuel, YES to clean energy! Read our SSTDI blog post on ways hotels and tourism industry can use renewable energy.   

Don’t miss

Register now for the next TCI-CB Series IV-Green Leaders Conference Workshop:Climate Proofing for Sustainability & Resilience‘ in Coron, Palawan. March 13-14, 2014. Email/contact us for details.

 

 

Estancia, Iloilo: Our beautiful town spilled by oil and shattered it into a night mare

Estancia Iloilo is home to NAPOCOR power barge to supply the electricity of Northern Iloilo. This barge is just a few meters away from the coastline of the town near its old commercial port. It carries 2 million liters of fossil oil. Yolanda’s wrath was so strong it leaked 2,000 litters of dangerous fossil oil to the area. About 150,000 liters were washed on the shoreline while 50 liters afloat the water. 1It may still leak another 1.2  million liters of  oil if something goes wrong, let alone another super tyhoon come soon. The barge was slammed right into Barangay Botongon killing people and forced 5,000 people to evacuate.
The town folks are in agony as the cleaning has been snail pace. I asked the contractor representative how long it will take to totally clean it, he said, it depends. OMG, it depends on what?  Their own sweet little time.?
Let these pictures tell the sufferings of Estancia—now somehow lost and forgotten. The chemical gaseous stink is so strong, with half and hour visit I had on the site, two days after until now I am still very sick. I have a splitting headache and my eyes are teary.  I can imagine the survivors whose respiratory systems and skin may already have been damaged.
We need help to rebuild our coastline, much more, help our folks go back to their homes.
 

Contractor representative touring us at the site of the spill.

The extent of oil spill along the coastline.

The oil spill evacuation center called the Tent City where close to 5,000 locals are relocated while the area is not yet cleaned up for human safety.

Learn the lesson from Estancia, Iloilo Oil Spill: NO to Bunker Fuel, Coal Mining & Fossels Fuels! Yes, to Renewable, Clean, Efficient Energy!

Green Reconstruction for Sustainability & Resilience” is a Sustainable Re-build & Renewable Energy project by the Coron Sustainable Tourism Cooperative, The Coron Initiative,  & Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI. SSTDI can help you with short-and long-term renewable energy solutions in your community, city or destination. For more info, please email us or click HERE
Support Green Reconstruction for Coron

Green Buying Guide

Posted in Agri Tourism, Coron, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Sustainability Guru
Tokyo Midtown Champagne Illumination

Tokyo Midtown Champagne Illumination

Note: First published in December 2010, we have updated this blog with some news and great green items! Enjoy!

For a non-Christian country, Japan celebrates Christmas to the max, but not for traditional or religious reasons. Not to mention that most Christmas trees and decor are depressing blue color lights! Singapore inaugurated the Orchard Christmas light up with no less than their President, a national event to herald shopping hoarders.   Ti’s the season of extreme enterprise just like everywhere in the globe. In the Philippines, they put up the Yuletide trimmings as early as September, to bring the holiday cheers early amidst typhoon time. It’s simply a silly spell of trash and bash for profitable purposes. So before your Christmas becomes just a blur of stress and duress, get guided by these holiday eco ethos and lighten your impact to the environment.

eco-friendly-green-gifts

1. Buy green gifts.  Consider eco-friendly and socially-conscious products and think about impact and environment when buying gifts. Remember the environmental effort and message gives more meaning, so look for a green approach for each gift: i.e. organic products, reusable, recyclable and really useful.

2. Reuse, reduce & recycle. Be creative in practicing these principles: reuse gift wrappers, reduce waste, recycle unused gift items and give them off. These 3Rs in gift giving is not only economical but less stressful!

Echo Store Gift Bag

3. Eco shopping bags. Bring your reusable shopping bags when heading out to your gift buying spree this season and avoid plastic bags abound. Check out these ideas from Echo Store, Serendra, Philippines.

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

4. Shop online. Save fuel and energy. Instead of charging out in traffic and lining up kilometric queues in stores, shop online instead! Items purchased online can be delivered straight to your recipient, so it can also cut down effort in personal delivery and again, fuel in driving around to give those gifts!

Save energy, avoid rush crowds!

5. Cool gift certificates. Instead of buying ordinary gifts, buy something special like a concert ticket, spa certificate, book club or gym trial and the like.  Your friend will think of you as a cool and considerate giver.

Green Gift-GCs

Green Gift-GCs

6. Gift of charity. As a great alternative to buying another picture frame, mug or socks for the person who may not need more of the same, give them the gift of charity, a donation to an environmental project or to any other organization for the needy. Donate to these charities or purchase gift cards in their name- donation for a community devastated by typhoon, solar power for grassroots families,  or reconstruction of a school in ruins, etc. There are so many humanitarian and environmental organizations in need of support where you can contribute, in the name of a friend.

Donate for Green Reconstruction

Donate for Green Reconstruction

7. Christmas cards from recycled paper. Thousands of cards each year are bought every yuletide season. Consider the alternative E-greeting card and if you must, buy Christmas cards from recycled paper. Think Amazon Forest and deforestation before you buy that Christmas card.

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

8. Biodegradable wrappers and bows.  Use recycled paper and natural materials instead of plastic or metallic wrappers and bows. Needless to say, they’re easier to dispose and less harmful to the environment. These calls again for creativity: reuse materials, or make the wrapping part of the gift, such as scarves, baskets and or reusable decorative boxes.

9. Re-chargeable batteries. When buying battery operated toys, encourage use of re-chargeable batteries; educate children as early as tots about the proper use of recharging – they’re not only eco friendly but also economical.

Going (green with) banana xmas tree!

11. Live instead of plastic Xmas tree. Purchase a live tree to use as Christmas tree and it doesn’t have to be a traditional fir. Santa will not scold you if you use other foliage as Christmas tree as you can re-plant them in your yard after the holidays. Besides, it serves a natural indoor air purifier. Use natural décor non-plastic, non-hazardous materials and low consumption lights.

12. Avoid wasteful consumption. Think.Eat.Save. as UNEP campaign goes. Christmas is a garbage fest. Before the gift opening and feasting begins, set up your garbage disposals accordingly – for cans, bottles, paper etc. Again, practice the pre- and post party 3Rs. Remember to be thankful, not wasteful.

Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your footprint Campaign by UNEP.

13. Last but not the least, if you are planning to spend Christmas holidays elswhere, travel green and make your vacation more meaningful with our Green Travel ideas. Support our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI campaign for Green Reconstruction of Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron, Palawan, in the Philippines. Help our grassroot communities recover their livelihood, with sustainable reconstruction and green energy. 

Support Green Reconstruction for Coron

 Christmas has almost lost its essence due to over- commercialization and excessive hype. Make your Yuletide more meaningful and less stressful. Think outside the gift box a little and you can have greener Holidays that may benefit the environment and humanity. Is your Christmas green? Share your eco holiday season tips, please add them to the comments section!

Photo Credits: Echo Store for the Reusable Gift Packs, Gift Bags. Tokyo Midtown for its Champagne Illumination.

Sustainable Tourism Development and Stewardship

Posted in Agri Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , on June 7, 2013 by Sustainability Guru

Welcome!

The Coron Initiative- Capacity Building Series Green Leaders Forum- Train the Trainers Conference Workshop July 1-2, 2013

Coron, Palawan, PhilippinesThe Calamianes Cultural Conservation Network Inc.(CCCNI) and  the Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc.(STTDI) jointly organize The Coron Initiative Capacity Building & Training Conference & Workshop Series in Environmental Conservation, Sustainability & Social Responsibility 2013, as a showcase program of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)- Asia Pacific & the Asia and the Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED).TCI CB-Series II July 2013

The Coron Initiative by the CCCNI embarks on Capacity Building (CB Series) & Training series to implement its program on Environmental Conservation, Social Responsbility & Sustainable Tourism Development and Stewardship, after the successful 1st Environmental Forum held last November 2011, wherein public and private stakeholders of Coron & Calamianes Islands forged a cooperation in environmental responsibilities, concerns and solutions.

To know more about the TCI-Capacity Building Objectives & details, click here.

TCI march 2013 CB Series

JOIN US. The Capacity Building & Training 2013 Series is open to ALL interested in Environment Conservation, Social Responsibility & Sustainable Tourism development & stewardship, triple bottom line businesses, and to concerned citizens and advocates of Sustainability & Climate Change mitigation. For participation and membership to the Green Leaders Forum, July 2013, click HERE.

WHO CAN JOIN:

  • Travel & tourism industry sector, tour operators, travel agents,
  • Public sector, Politicians/Statesmen, Public/civil servants: Government agencies, LGUs in charge of environment, governance, planning & development, tourism
  • Hospitality sector: hotels and resorts, restaurants, bars, (owners, managers, decision makers)
  • Tourism service & Eco/organic product providers: small and medium business owners, leisure (spa, beauty, food & health products/services)
  • Real estate & land owners, Developers, Contractors, Architects, Builders, Suppliers
  • Energy, Water, Organic farming & Recycling sectors
  • Land, water and air transport: Tour bus operators, Cruises/Ships; Airlines
  • Recreation and sports facilities: scuba, snorkeling, mountaineering, adventure, outdoor shops & gears
  • NGOs, cooperatives, People’s Organizations, Environmental, Conservation & Green Advocacy groups
  • Academe, educators, youth leaders
  • Concerned citizens and sustainability advocates

Kayangan Eco Center, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

SUPPORT US/CSR OPPORTUNITY. The Coron Initiative (TCI) is seeking the support and collaboration of the Department of Tourism, Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Climate Change Commission, private companies, multinationals & international agencies to enable us to advance in Capacity Building & Training of locals and communities in ecological conservation of marine protected areas utilized for tourism and enhanced economic growth in sustainable way, while helping mitigate effects of climate change. For sponsorships and tailored CSR programs, please contact us.

FOR sponsorship, registration and SSTDI membership benefits, please email: contact SSTDI.

Events Asia 2012

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Events, News, Lifestyle, MICE Meetings with tags , , on July 21, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

In April, 2010, the Boracay Island in the Philippines, voted 2012 World’s Best by Travel+Leisure, played host and set the stage for Events Asia 2010 Conference and Trade Show, with its theme “The Future is NOW! The Future is WOW!” We were honored to be one of the speakers where we presented “Sustainable Events Management with CSR”  This year, we are happy to announce that this stellar conference and trade show will present an “unfolding experience” in Manila, Philippines.

 Events Asia 2012

Next Step Events, Inc. in collaboration with International Special Events Society – Hong Kong Chapter (ISES-HK) proudly presents Events Asia 2012, Unfolding Experience, Conference and Trade Show, the Philippines’ premier biennial showcase for the event and exhibition industry on September 5th, 6th and 7th in Manila. This event now in its 3rd year will gather more than a thousand events and exhibit professionals, producers, suppliers and marketers all under one roof. This biennale event now in its third incarnation is the largest show in Asia dedicated to sharing knowledge for aspiring professionals and students in the event and exhibition industry.

Events Asia 2012 will take place at the Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila which will provide strategic and insightful ideas through a mixture of plenary and concurrent educational sessions from industry veterans and experts. The exhibition hall will showcase new ideas and trends in technology, entertainment and event venues as well as present products and services to help develop and execute the best event and exhibition practices.

Who should attend

Events Asia 2012 draws a wide range of professionals and students from every strata of the industry: CEO’s, company directors, account managers, sales managers, public relations officers, event planners, designers, trade and purchasing managers, wedding planners, stylists, technical directors, and  students are welcome to participate in the conference and trade show.

Education

Events Asia 2012 will offer 3 different educational tracks (novice, skilled and expert) to ensure there is a unique, interesting and appropriate for niche. Industry experts from around the globe will share their secrets and knowledge which will definitely enhance the attendees’ professional or academic standards.

The Organizers

Anna Liza Laxamana, CEO Next Steps Events

Anna Liza Laxamana, CEO Next Steps Events

Events Asia, Conference and Trade Show was founded in 2006 by President and CEO Annaliza Laxamana of the Next Step Events, Inc. Through her passion for her industry, Annaliza continues to raise the bar of the event industry in Asia. Promoting education and awareness, Annaliza Laxamana leads a team of international event professionals to produce, organize and provide new ideas to the Events Asia Conference and Trade Show attendees.

Robert Rogers is a special event designer and producer. He creates memorable events for both the corporate and private world. Rogers is a Certified Special Event Professional, one of only 250 worldwide and the only one in Asia. He is currently Director of Education for the Hong Kong Chapter of ISES and regularly has lectured at TSE (The Special Event), Events Asia, Institute for Tourism Studies, Macau and is a regular speaker for ISES Hong Kong.

Events Asia Exhibit 2010

The Exhibit

Events Asia is the deal platform to launch your latest products and services to event professionals looking for suppliers. See the latest developments in event productions with a showcase of the most innovating solutions. Events Asia attendees are the key purchasers and decision-makers that directly shape the growth and success of their companies. The event planners, producers and marketers attending the conference tell us that finding new vendors and event ideas is a priority.

These event planners, producers and marketers are looking for the following:

•Advertising Agency  •Audio Visual Solutions  •Caterer  •Conference, Event and Exhibition Organizers

•Convention and Exhibition Centre  •Corporate Planning  •Costume Designer/Provider  •Décor and Scenery  •Design / Creative Services •Destination Management Company  •Digital Agency

•Entertainment Company  •Event Management Agency  •Event Venues / Banquet Facility  •Exhibition Services •General Event Supplies •Golf /  Country Club

•Hotels / Resorts / Casinos  •Lights and Sounds Provider  •Logistics / Shipping / Freight / Car Rental / Courier  •Premium Incentives / Specialty Advertising

•Printing / Publishing  •Special Effects  •Stage and Set-up

•University / Education •Video and Photography

•Wedding Planning and and so much more!

Get your product or service in front of the greatest gathering of event planning, marketing and management this 2012. Expand your market, get more qualified leads and increase your sales.

The venue

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, is an iconic hotel that housed royalty, celebrities and heads of state. Boasting of spectacular views of the Manila Bay and lush landscapes and greenery, the exquisite tropical setting within the city is unrivalled. Minimalist interiors, breathtaking views and traditional touches of local décor using capiz shells and coconut inlay make the muted elegance and luxurious detail of the famous hotel by the bay a sight to be behold.

 

Networking Opportunities at Events Asia!

Networking Opportunities at Events Asia!

Networking

Unfold the opportunity to network and build connections from the local and international high profile exhibitors and educators, gain insights from the best practices and case studies from the experts and seize the best chance to elevate your business and career in the event and exhibition industry.

With such exciting learning, networking and showcase opportunities what are you waiting for? For participants in Japan, to avail of special discounts, early bird registration and group rates, email: sustainabilityg@sonixnet.jp.

Sustainable Events Management & CSR Workshop with Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific

Sustainable Events Management & CSR Workshop with Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working on Sustainable Festivals & green events with its Sustainable Tourism programs and projects in the Philippines – The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative . Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working towards green economy for the grass roots, in cooperation with Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and The Clean Blue Asia Pacific. For more info, email sustainabilityg@sonixnet.jp or visit http://www.sustainabilityguruasiapacific.com

Peruvian Gastronomic Journey at Hilton Tokyo

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2012 by Sustainability Guru
Peru Gourmet promotion featuring top Peruvian chefs Javier Ampuero & Jose del Castillo

Peru Gourmet promotion featuring top Peruvian chefs     Javier Ampuero & Jose del Castillo

Last 2009, during the Peruvian Food Festival in Tokyo we honored the Guest Chefs Pedro Miguel Schiaffino & Toshiro Konishi at the Peru Embassy with comida criolla creations by our in-house Chef Percy Bustamante. This time, on our third year here in Tokyo, we are delighted to be part of the Peruvian Gastronomic Journey inaugurated at the Hilton Tokyo, this Festival month of July to kick off  the various celebrations of Peru’s National Day in Japan.

Photo courtesy of Noticias Nippon

The Chefs with Promperu Rep Camila Garcia & Peru Ambassador in Japan, Elard Escala

Hilton Tokyo and PROMPERU (Tourism Promotion Peru) jointly feature a special event, entitled ‘Fascinating Peru – Gourmet & Cultural Promotion’ for the sixth consecutive year at the Hilton Tokyo’s Buffet Restaurant ‘Checkers’ from Saturday, July 7 to Monday, July 16, 2012. During this event, guests  have an opportunity to feast on a wide range of authentic Peruvian dishes on the lunch buffet (3,900 JPY) and dinner buffet (6,000 JPY) specially prepared by Mr. Javier Ampuero Figueroa  and Mr. Jose del Castillo, guest chefs from Peru while enjoying traditional Peruvian drinks. Peruvian folklore’s live is available on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and a national holiday.

All photos courtesy of Noticias Nippon

Ceviche, Causa Limena and lotsa comida criolla!

Heir to ancient cultures from the time of the Inca Empire, Peru is a magical spot which involves one of the richest biodiversities on earth, along with ten world heritage sites including ‘Machu Picchu’ and the ‘Nazca Lines’. It is known for extensive Andean ingredients including potatoes, tomatoes, corns and chili pepper as well as botanical products and herbs that have high nutritional value and distinctive qualities. Try the emblematic Peruvian appetizer ‘Ceviche’, seafood and onion marinade with lemon and a traditional Peruvian dish ‘Lomo Saltado’ which was adopted into Chinese – Criollo Cuisine, stir fried with beef, tomato and potato. After the meal, delightful Peruvian sweets such as mousse using lúcuma, native Peruvian tropical fruit, ‘Mazamorra Morada’ made from purple corn and more will be available.

Superb iconic Peruvian desserts: Mazamorra Morada & Arroz con Leche

Superb iconic Peruvian desserts: Mazamorra Morada &   Arroz con Leche

To complement the culinary delights, Peruvian wine ‘Tacama’ very rare in the Japanese market, will be offered along with a wide range of Peruvian drinks such as ‘Chicha morada’, ‘Pisco Sour’ and ‘Inca Cola’. Beverages are available with an additional charge.

Ain't no Peru fiesta without Peruvian Pisco, wine and Inca Cola!

Ain’t no Peru fiesta without Peruvian Pisco,                           wine and Inca Cola!

Next on our agenda, is the Peruvian Festival in Kobe, Japan!

All photos courtesy of Noticias Nippon.

JOIN PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance to Peru, contact us. 

Green Hotels in Asia and the Pacific

Posted in Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Tourism with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

“Green is not a movement, it is an imperative. Sustainability is not just a philosophy, it is good business.” ~ GMIC 2011

Green Hotels Asia Pacific

Every day, more and more hotels worldwide are embracing Green and Sustainable Tourism.

Introducing Green Hotels Asia Pacific, our network of Eco-friendly hotels committed to environment-friendly operations management which aims for ecological protection and best Green Hotels practices to include:

  • Energy Management & Saving
  • Water Management & Saving
  • Waste Management – Reuse, Reduce & Recycle Policies & Practices
  • Minimizing  Carbon Footprint (i.e. the amount of carbon dioxide which is emitted at the atmosphere by everyday activities)
  • Offering Natural and Local-sourced products to their guests
  • Building an Environmental-friendly Culture and communicating it to staff and guests
Green Hotels program: Waste Mangement

Green Hotels program: Ecological Waste Mangement

 OUR VISION

• Our vision is our network to be the most reliable eco hotels network around Globe.

OUR COMMITMENT

• To promote sustainability to hotel sector

• To integrate innovation in our environmental actions

• To network hoteliers, operators, costumers and guests

• To promote Greenhotels around the world

• To integrate environmental customer satisfaction and needs to our “culture”

• To bring added value to the hotel industry

Green Hotels Training: Energy saving

Green Hotels Training: Energy Efficiency

OUR BUSINESS MODEL

• Full committment to our Sustainability policy

• Ecological knowledge & experience

• Use of state-of-the-art technology

• Promotion via social media, internet and other technologies

• Green collaboration with all business sectors

Green Hotel member, Kea Villas, Greece

A Green Hotels member, Kea Villas, Greece

BASIC SERVICES

• Auditing and sustainability action plans

• Waste management focusing in minimization and 3R’s Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

• Water management & saving

• Energy management & saving

• Purchasing management – procuring sustainability

• Certification – Travelife or other schemes

• CSR Management & Reporting Guest Engagement in Sustainability

• Promotion through Google add words

• Customized Training & Capacity Building for Managers & Staff

• Social media marketing

• Green marketing

• Online consulting services

• The Clean Blue Sustainable Beach Management

Green Hotels: Mitigating Climate Change

Green Hotels: Mitigating Climate Change

OUR GREEN HOTELS NETWORK

Green Hotels network consists of hotels that have implemented operational systems and methods that are eco-oriented, work towards the protection of environment and have applied principles of environmental management.

Through Green Hotels portal, the hotel itself is being promoted,  its ecological character, its environmental actions and other related activities – if available- which take place in the surrounding area. Moreover, great attention is given to the presentation of the personality of hotel’s manager, as he/she is considered to be the key person behind the development and establishment of the eco-character of the described hotel.

Green Hotels member Aristi Mountain Resort

Green Hotels member Aristi Mountain Resort

Green Hotels network aims to promote not only the hotels through descriptive texts and photos, but also their owners and managers. Our network consists of hotels that offer guests a unique and holistic experience throughout their stay from check-in to check-out, in hospitable and eco-friendly atmosphere, with eco-knowledgeable staff ready to serve and inform them about the environment-friendly practices of the hotel which enhance the guest experience..

YOUR GREEN ADVANTAGE

  • Fulfill Legislation standards
  • Protect the environment
  • Reduce of energy, waste, water use and water waste
  • Fulfill shareholders, employees, guests and public expectations of eco-friendly standards
  • Enhance company’s image and reputation
  • 93% prefer a green hotel compared to another one without environmental policy
  • 70% would like to practice environmental actions during their stay
Economic + Ecological_your Cutting Edge Advantage

Economic + Ecological = your Green Hotels Cutting Edge Advantage

YOUR CUTTING EDGE BENEFITS

  • Your hotel/resort will be included in our Green Hotels, listed in most eco travel pages.
  • Green Hotels is the first Eco hotels network in Asia Pacific
  • Green Hotels principal in the Mediterranean has an experienced team within the fields of environmental management systems, marketing, lobbying.
  • By becoming a member of our network you become a member of a global network.
Green Hotels committed to Sustainability and innovation

Green Hotels committed to Sustainability and innovation

We, the *Green Hotels team,  are COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABILITY and INNOVATION. For more information on how to green your hotel/s and become a pioneering GREEN HOTELS member in Asia and the Pacific, contact our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI. 

 * Green Hotels is not a certification or award

The Coron, Boracay & Negros Initiatives are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented with institutional partners Green Hotels & The Clean Blue. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs towards a green economy for cities, communities and destinations  include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. 

Photo credits: greenhotel.com.gr

WTTC 2012 Report: Disaster Recovery Lessons from Japan and elsewhere

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , on April 30, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is honored to be part of the invite-only World Travel & Tourism Council -WTTC- Global Summit Japan in Sendai & Tokyo. Summit reports started with the Tourism for Tomorrow 2012 Awards & Winners. The following is a re-post from the WTTC 2012 News & updates starting with the First Session in Sendai, Japan.

Disaster Recovery Lessons from Japan- keynote by Norifumi Idee-Japan Tourism Agency

“We are here to hear what we have learnt from the crisis,” said Mr Takamatsu, CEO, Japan Tourism Marketing Company, and session moderator. “The objective of this session is to look at the best ways to manage a crisis with case studies from Japan, but also other countries and the Travel & Tourism industry,” he added.

WTTC Sendai:Disaster Recovery Lessons Moderator Mr. Masako Takamatsu

Given the events of the last decade – from America on September 11 2001 to Japan on 11 March 2011, dealing with the unusual is increasingly becoming business as usual in the Travel & Tourism industry.

According to the Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report published by Impact Forecasting, 2011 was one of the most active years on record in terms of instances of natural catastrophes, so there has never been a more pressing time to consider crisis management and disaster recovery.

WTTC Global Summit Disaster Recovery Lessons from Japan

Japan has learnt a lot since March 2011, Mr Idee, Commissioner, Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism told delegates. “I can tell you that [after the earthquake and tsunami], the government immediately took measures to ensure that the region was safe from radiation and that there was total security regarding food safety.

We have also undertaken a wide range of measures to try encourage a recovery in demand, using high-profile visitors like Lady Gaga to help us in our promotions. And we are grateful to UNWTO and the United Nations generally for issuing reassurances to the world that Japan is open for business. I would like to express my gratitude to them for these measures.

We were delighted to see that WTTC’s latest report suggests that Japan’s Travel & Tourism recovery will be better than expected, with the percentage drop in inbound tourism in 2012 projected to be down in single digits over Japan’s peak tourism year in 2010”.

“Destination Tohoku” campaigns in foreign countries such as the United States help, and we are focusing on the travel trade – tour operator and travel agents – to communicate our messages. But we are promoting domestic as well as inbound tourism.

Disaster Lessons from Japan Railway - infrastructure and transport sector

Mr Ogata, Vice Chairman,  East Japan Railway Company told the Summit that in 50 years of operating the Shinkansen (Japanese “bullet-train”) there had never been an associated fatal casualty. JR East is the largest railway company in Japan – with 4,700 miles of network and 17 million passengers a day on 13,000 trains. Its top priority is safety.

Many lessons from past experiences of earthquakes, e.g. the use of reinforced pillars, early earthquake detection systems, seismometers, preventing trains from large-scale deviations, plus the education and training of its staff have secured a dramatic decrease in accidents. But in addition to taking countermeasures, it is essential to utilise innovative risk assessments. As a result, on 11 March 2011, there were no customer fatalities or injuries – though because of aftershocks, it took 50 days to restore full operation.

There were lots of lessons learned: e.g. even more early detection systems needed – plus better evacuation systems, and a strengthening of electrification masts.

Bert van Walbeek, Chairman of PATA’s Rapid Recovery Taskforce, and Managing Director, The Winning Edge gave the Summit “Five Points in Five Minutes”:

Educate and train all stakeholders • Accept joint responsibility

Respect and understand ‘Mother Nature’

Co-operate on travel advisories

• We all need to work together to address the problem, in terms of crisis management and prevention.

UNWTO Risk and Crisis Management Coordinator Dirk Glaesser

Dirk Glaesser, Coordinator, Risk and Crisis Management, UNWTO reminded the Summit that whilst crises do occur, it’s the way we prepare for them and manage them that is critical. UNWTO works not just through United Nations systems but also through TERN – the Tourism Emergency Research Network, which groups together public and private sector organisations and associations involved in tourism. “The whole purpose of TERN is sharing knowledge and best practice, and communicating between partner organisations/associations and the outside world, through media,.

It’s all about planning and preparedness,” said Glaesser, “the importance of correct assumptions and strategic contingency planning.”

WTTC Sendai Summit Disaster Recovery Panel Discussion

In the Panel Discussion which followed, Raymond N Bickson, Managing Director & CEO, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, said: “ Whether natural disaster or terrorist attack or other man-made disasters, including health concerns like H1N1 and bird flu, the crisis management tools are all very similar across the board. What helps recovery is the public and private sectors working together – plus India has its own national chapter of WTTC and this has helped us enormously.”

Robert Laurence Noddin, CEO and Representative in Japan, AIU Insurance Company, Japan Branch, told the story of the Japanese crisis from the insurance industry standpoint: “ We had to overcome or deal with three major issues: impact on transportation, getting support to customers and staff; and the availability of data and how to use, control and communicate it. The sheer scale of the disaster meant that there was huge damage, so we needed to call on an unprecedented number of support staff to assess the damages”.

The Summit then listened attentively to the story as told by Mrs. Noriko Abe, the “Okami” of Minami-Sanriku Hotel Kanyo.  Her story was a wonderful example of a member of the Travel & Tourism industry taking the initiative to help the community – in the aftermath some people had no accommodation, no food, no clothes. How to help them? “We had to help them. There was total confusion and incomprehension as to why this had happened to them. We offered support to 600 citizens – we started a school inside the hotel. Without help, we risked some of the younger Japanese leaving the community to go and live elsewhere. Or even committing suicide out of desperation, especially young mothers. So our help in fact was a way of rebuilding the community and giving people a reason for living”. On the basis of this closing presentation, the first session of the first day of the Sendai Forum drew the conclusion that Tourism is not often seen as the cement of community solidarity, but it should be. It’s something very human, and can really help when crises strike.

WTTC Global Summit Japan 2012

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific supports the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environment Initiative, with its Sustainable Tourism programs and projects in the Philippines – The Coron Initiative  , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative . Environmental, Social,  Good Governance & Resilience Capacity building programs  & training include Disaster Preparedness & Management for both public and private local stakeholders/proponents. Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working towards green economy for the grass roots, in cooperation with Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and The Clean Blue Asia Pacific. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI for assistance.