co-creating climate resilient &
climate responsible destinations
Travel makes us feel good. It fulfills our dreams and connects us to the most wonderful places all around the world. The travel industry is everywhere. In every country. In every type of environment. In particular in the most beautiful, fragile places on our Earth- the beaches, coral reefs, mountains and forests. It also affects almost every other industry; Construction, Food, Transport and Communications. Thanks to tourism's unrivalled network, the industry supports 1 in 10 jobs and 10% of global GDP.
As our world confronts a worsening climate crisis, this unique structure puts the industry particularly at risk: Rising temperatures and sea levels mean its prime assets - the natural wonders of the world - are under risk and are being destroyed. Paradoxically, the industry’s heavy reliance on aviation also contributes to the climate crisis, and this may create resentment towards the industry as a growing number of people become concerned about climate change.
On the other side, "The World The Employment and Social Outlook 2018" estimated that Climate Change threatens 1.2 billion jobs. It is creating mass migration, challenges to food security and disasters like floods and massive landslides. The humanitarian as well as the development sectors are struggling to practically implement, replicate and rescale Disaster Risk Reduction Plans addressing local needs. The ever increasing disasters and lack of financial and human resources provide an entry space for the travel industry to co-create resilience in the relevant niches.
Meanwhile, climate change also presents the travel industry with a simple and profound opportunity: repurpose and adapt travel assets to strengthen the resilience of communities in the face of climate change. This could be supporting communities to produce and market indigenous Climate Change Resistant Food (Pokkali) in Kerala or training the farmers to be kayak guides, thus providing them with a supplementary income and the skillset to respond to a crisis. It could be connecting the same farmers with a network of local hotels to ensure a market for their rice, and access to kayaks according to need. It could be a platform like Airbnb's Open Homes - a version of its own platform that provides free temporary accommodation to refugees or people whose homes have been destroyed in a crisis. Global travel industry provides many such inspiring examples.
A community that is resilient to climate crisis will be far better equipped when it comes to managing an ensuing disaster. While the humanitarian sector globally is constrained with only a 27 billion USD annual budget to manage manmade and natural disasters, the tourism industry is an 8 trillion USD economy that can in fact “Re- Purpose” its tools effectively to build resilience for a destination. As the frequency of climate change induced natural disasters are increasing, the money and resources spent by the tourism industry will be an investment towards its own sustainability.
Understanding the vulnerability of a destination to climate change impacts and ensuing disasters becomes important in a local context. Past few decades have witnessed intense cyclones, extreme rainfalls, increasing floods & landslides, aggravated tidal flooding, extended droughts across landscapes. This has affected safety and security of local lives and livelihoods. Popular tourist destinations have suffered lack of tourism inflow due to natural disasters. The 2018 Kerala floods alone has cost the exchequer USD 5 billion. Increasing frequency of these disasters could cripple administration and prolong the process of revival of businesses including tourism.
Resilient Destinations Foundation (RDF) is being constituted as a not-for-profit company (Sec 8) in India to co- create Climate Resilient and Climate Responsible Destinations with multi-sectoral partnerships in Tourism, Development and Humanitarian sectors. RDF aims to repurpose and adapt existing assets and skill-sets in these sectors towards improving community resilience to the existing or future impacts of climate change and work towards building responsible, safe, liveable spaces and sustainable livelihoods that leave a low-carbon footprint and are energy efficient.
Our mission is to devise transformative ways to address the climate crisis, by partnering with communities and shaping local action.