Press Releases

The Larvalbot

Australia: Robots will try to restore the Great Barrier Reef on a grand scale

Brisbane (25 October 2018) - An out of the box idea to match-make coral and deliver new coral ‘babies’ using robotics onto the reef has won the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Out of the Blue Box Reef Innovation Challenge, securing $300,000 AUD (approx. $225,000 USD) to bring the idea to life. The proposal to restore coral reefs on a grand scale is the brainchild of Southern Cross University’s Professor Peter Harrison and Queensland University of Technology’s Professor Matthew Dunbabin whose innovative concept was declared the winner from a short list of five finalists. The concept is designed to be activated during the annual mass coral spawning event this November on the Great Barrier Reef when corals reproduce simultaneously in spectacular fashion. Scientists will capture hundreds of millions of coral spawn from the corals that have survived the two recent mass coral bleachings, and rear them into baby corals in mass quantities inside large floating enclosures. A new generation of robot will then play ‘stork’, delivering the tiny baby coral larvae out onto reefs.

Vietnam: Hoi An city faces challenges from increasing visitor numbers

Quang Nam (VNA) – Preserving intrinsic values of local cultural heritages and accelerating tourism promotion should be included in Hoi An city’s mechanisms to support sustainable tourism development, according to a local official.

Read more: Hoi An preserves sustainable tourism development -

Progress in Measuring Tourism Sustainability

UNWTO: Progress made in Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST)

Madrid, Spain (30 October 2018) – The World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) initiative Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) received a boost last week when its working group met in Madrid (24-25 October). After successful pilot studies to produce credible and comparable data, the initiative is on track with its aim of getting the MST framework adopted as the third international standard on tourism statistics. The group of experts creating a statistical framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism met to establish the MST initiative’s major goals for 2019. The initiative is creating a draft framework for a data standard for tourism’s impact on sustainability and plans to have it adopted as the third international standard on tourism statistics by the UN Statistics Commission (UNSC).

Cuba: New CREST programme seeks to strengthen household-based tourism

The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is undertaking a two-year project to analyze and help to strengthen small-scale, boutique hotel and household-based tourism businesses in Cuba and to compare their economic, social, and environmental impacts to large-scale cruise tourism. This project involves research studies and field work together with universities in Pinar del Rio and Holguin provinces as well as in Havana. The project is directed by CREST executive director Martha Honey and coordinated in Havana by Rafael Betancourt, who is working with teams of academic in the two provinces and in Havana. The activities include supporting sustainable tourism workshops in the respective Congresses that both universities will be holding in spring and summer 2019 and organizing learning exchanges/study tours for academics from both universities.

Voices of the Wind: Traditional Instruments in Laos

Laos: Luang Prabang museum opens immersive and interactive exhibition showcasing traditional wind instruments and music

Luang Prabang, LAO PDR – TAEC’s newest special exhibition, “Voices of the Wind: Traditional Instruments in Laos” is now on display after more than two years of extensive research and documentation in remote regions of northern Laos led by Belgian ethnomusicologist and curator, Dr Marie-Pierre Lissoir, and the TAEC research team. A highly interactive and intimate exhibit, display spaces communicate three important contexts of instrumental practices: ritual, instrument-making, and courting. Through village scene re-creation, audio stations, and interactive video and photograph kiosks, visitors will enter a world rarely seen by the general public.

Mexico, Holbox Island: No new large hotels, golf courses, airstrips, or throwaway plastics

The Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp) bans the construction of any new large hotels, golf courses or airstrips and the dumping of wastewater into the sea around this small island off the coast of the Yucatán peninsula, while visitors will not be allowed to bring throwaway plastics

Read more: No large hotels, golf courses, airstrips—or throwaway plastic—on Holbox

Philippines: Soft re-opening for Boracay expected this month

The is­land destination of Boracay will have a “soft opening” in October 2018, 6 months after being shut by the government for environmental reasons. Only 25 of the hundreds of tourism establishments which have fully complied with rehabilitation requirements will be allowed to open.

Read more: Tempo - A ‘sustainable tourism’ program for the Philippines


CREST Examines Overtourism in New Report on Tourism Industry Trends

Washington, DC (October 9, 2018) – Today, the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) released The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2018, which includes an in-depth look at the complex issue of overtourism and the role of responsible travel in developing solutions. The new CREST report considers overtourism trends in five distinct types of destinations and concludes that the principles of responsible travel and visitor education provide a vital framework for effectively addressing the issue. It also highlights growing consumer demand for authentic and meaningful travel experiences and analyzes the role of tourism businesses in mainstreaming responsible travel.

Cayman Islands: Cousteau writes open Letter against proposed cruise ship facility

In an open letter published in the Cayman Compas, Jean-Michel Cousteau, President of the Ocean Futures Society, expresses his deep concern about the proposal to expand the port and related cruise ship berthing facilities at George Town harbor on Grand Cayman

Read more: Cayman Compass - Cousteau: Open letter opposing cruise berthing facility

EU-China: High Level Conference on World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism

This international conference will explore new models for collaboration between the European Union and China focused on World Heritage. The one-day event, on 28 October 2018, will showcase the EU co-funded UNESCO / National Geographic "World Heritage Journeys in the EU" project

Read more: UNESCO: EU-China: High Level Conference on World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism