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New TAEC Boutique opens in Luang Prabang, Laos In July, we opened the new TAEC Boutique on the main street in Luang Prabang featuring the Heirloom Collection of one-of-kind textiles and other handicrafts. Each piece is made of the highest quality materials by the most respected artisans of their craft.   We hope the Boutique will allow more tourists to support fairly-traded handicrafts from ethnic minority artisans, and discover the cultural diversity of Laos.   The TAEC Boutique is open daily from 9am - 9 pm.   In addition to reaching more visitors in Luang Prabang, TAEC made new friends and important contacts for future sales by sending Khoun and Alai to the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico last month. With over 150 artists from 60 countries and 20,000 visitors, this three-day event is the largest folk art market in the world, and we were pleased to participate in it once again.   For more...
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Dear All, Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism (CAMAT) welcomes its guest to participate in Broghil festival 2014. The event, which will continue from Agust 22-24, comprises of traditional cultural music, folkdances, folksongs apart from traditional sporting event such as buzkashi, yak polo and free style polo. Your participation is welcomed. Please view CAMAT's banner, which has been uploaded to this website. Thanks!  ...

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PAKISTAN: Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism (CAMAT) organized a 6-day cooking training for selected guesthouse owners from Broghil—the beautiful plateau in the extreme northern of district Chitral—in a local hotel of  Chitral where 8 selected youths participated.   The training was arranged through the financial support of Aga Khan Rural Support Program’s Market Development (MD) section under its Employability and Leadership for Youths (EELY) project with CAMAT as implementing partner.   The purpose of the training was to develop cooking skills of the selected trainees largely focusing on better hospitality management and food services with improved hygiene quality in their indigenous guesthouses. This will ultimately lead to creating self-employment opportunities for youths in the said destination.   The training focused on cleanliness, better hospitality management and high service quality. The expert chef in Pakistan Tourism Corporation (PTDC) Chitral transferred his cooking skills through ‘learning by doing’ or ‘learning by cooking’....

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Circuses without Bread Today another mega-event circus is about to open in Brazil at a USD 11bn cost (mostly at the benefit of monopolies and oligarchs) but there are clear signs that the organisers have forgot about the bread bit of the old appeasement equation ("panem et circenses" in Latin): Rio airport workers are on strike, there are numerous planned marches while 200,000 troops are mobilising across Brazil to prevent(?) rioting. Preparations have also involved the displacement (forced or induced eviction) of many thousands of Brazil's homeless. A good article documenting the injustice and inequality reproduced by the preparations for this mega-event in Brazil is at   There are also big worries about the Qatar World Cup, and a campaign to re-run "the vote" due to serious worker rights abuses. A people's sport has been slowly hi-jacked by a powerful and allegedly corrupt international monopoly and turned into a commercial, consumerist spectacle. Some telling numbers:...

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Twitter Chat on European Ecotourism Friend of mine, Chris Milnes ‏@reallifepr0ject is organising a 30 min chat on European Ecotourism this Wednesday at 15:00 CET.   Add #euroeco to follow along! More info:

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For Current Ecolodge Owners Since there are many members here who are ecolodge owners or are involved in/interested in managing/operating ecolodges, this survey + conference session by The International Ecotourism Society will be of interest to some. Please see the text below, from the email announcement sent by TIES on March 19.     Dear TIES Supporter, At the ESTC 2014 (Bonito, Brazil) we will be discussing succession planning in ecotourism. We know that many innovative ecotourism projects have been started through the years, all over the world. Many have become successful. But, like in all life cycles, there comes a time when the organization founder(s) wants to hand over the business to a successor. Finding the individual or organization willing to and able to continue building on the innovative "inheritance" is not always easy. The focus of the survey is on ecolodges (small accommodations located in or near conservation areas that are designed and operated sustainably). As a result, the TIES Ecolodge Survey aims to assess if succession...
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TAEC Accepted to Santa Fe International Folk Art Market Know any textile enthusiasts or Lao culture lovers in the American southwest or California? For the third summer in a row, TAEC has been accepted to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. This year, we'd love to make connections with craft shops, museums, and cultural organisations while we're across the Pacific. If you know of a place or an audience for a talk or a trunk show, please contact us. If you'd like to help us out at the Market itself, do let us know!...

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I would like to invite you all to participate on the ONLINE conference "Responsible Travel Week 2014"   It takes place 10-16 of February on the social web, read more:   On Facebook:   On Google+ :   On Twitter: follow hashtag #rtweek14   See you next week!        ...

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Zoos, that historically originate in the private entertainment of rulers and gradually moved on to the 'edutainment' of the general public are now trying to convince us that they are undertaking serious research and conservation work, perhaps as a reaction to increasing environmental and public awareness that the days of all animal abuse and incarceration facilities (including circuses, dolphinaria) are numbered. The green-(magic) imagemaking effort sometimes includes producing articles by prestigious researchers in prestigious journals, such as this one which claims that up to a quarter of species 'kept' in zoos are officially-considered endangered. (This by itself is one more way in which a designation of a species as endangered may be counter-productive under the currently prevailing socio-economic system (capitalism) as the designation increases its monetary value.). If zoos really wanted to clean up their act, they would gradually transform themselves into research & conservation institutions, abolish public animal enclosures, return...
Determining what an ideal situation or solution (or ultimate goal) could be in every real-world problematic situation is not a utopian exercise but, on the contrary, it is a useful rule of thumb: to evaluate how far we are from achieving the goal, how likely we are to achieve it and if we are currently moving closer or further away. For a meaningful discussion of alternatives, we have to choose a broad political and philosophical framework. On this occasion we will examine the concept of community-owned tourism (COT) and try to tackle four key questions: (a) what constitutes a "local community" (b) according to which criteria an individual can be considered a member of a local community (c) which types of organisation are compatible with 'collective or community ownership' and (d) who should decide and who decides in practice about the previous three clarifications, in each case, or in general. The...