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Top 10 purposeful mountain expeditions of 2019

Top 10 purposeful mountain expeditions of 2019
“Great things are done when men and mountains meet!” – The quote by William Blake sums up the purposes and motivation for people to keep exploring the mountains. One might be going to mountains to find solitude and other might be going to get connected to new people and communities. There is always a purpose to it. The stronger the purpose, the more the exploration and learning one can bring back from mountains. Seeing the different lifestyles, natural wonders, and achieving new height every day are nothing less than life-changing experiences. Mountains challenge and motivate to conquer much more than one’s believes. Here are some trekking expeditions of 2019 that have a unique purpose to them. These expeditions are not just designed in the beautiful mountain ranges but they take you close to the mountain ecosystem. Seeing and experiencing the destinations with such a unique approach gives an opportunity to know...
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Making Ecolabels Affordable, User-friendly and Transparent.

190522-solar-bank-ulcumano Photo of Solar Bank provided by Ulcumano Ecolodge of Peru, during their Ecoclub Desktop Audit, March 2019
One of the main impediments for the expansion of ecolabels to small accommodations. The undeniable, rarely uttered truth, is that all the best-known, credible, labels charge far more than a small hotelier can afford or is willing/used to pay, for services that they do not consider as absolutely necessary or legally required. Worse, the process is time-consuming for small owners that have to multi-task every day. Part of the solution is making ecolabels required by law, at least for accommodations of a certain size. Quality Tour Operators may also make accommodation ecolabels necessary, if they give preference to certified accommodation. But the real solution is making ecolabels affordable and user-friendly. A quick way of doing both is to introduce remote, online, real-time audits using Skype, or similar free conferencing software. At the one end the Auditor can request the auditee (usually the owner in small properties) to show her/him in real...
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Sharing Economy Uplifts Downtown Athens

Sharing Economy Uplifts Downtown Athens
Much-maligned by a small but vocal anti(over)tourism fringe and misguided hoteliers, Airbnb (and copycat platforms, imitation being the most sincere form of flattery) have single-handedly changed Tourism for ever. They have democratised it, spreading benefits widely and deeply into local communities and neighbourhoods. This is very much so in our home city, Athens, where Airbnb and the subway have transformed formerly run-down, down-town areas and offered a lifeline to lower-middle class owners, during the protracted Greek financial crisis which saw unemployment rates soar to 25% (currently at around 18%). The beneficial effects of the tourism sharing economy in Athens, a classic city break and an ancient tourism destination, were recognised in a one-day conference focusing on the future of Tourism Rentals held yesterday, 9 May 2019, in Athens. The event, attended by mayoral and regional candidates with local elections taking place in two weeks, was co-organised by the Athens Merchants Association (ESA)...
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The era of the so-called

The era of the so-called
When we describe something as 'so-called' we do not really take a neutral position but imply that it should not be called this: note the expression "your so-called friends". Personally, I always use the words 'so-called' in front of 'Overtourism', as, although I recognise that the term is in popular use, I dispute that it is a new phenomenon, which merits the invention of fancy new tools. It is simply, a result of 'Undermanagement', a result of the lack or inappropriate use of tried and tested tools backed by tens of thousands of academic research papers and best case studies. Even in our famously disorganised (famous) city, we do not get any Overtourism in the extremely confined and slippery place that is the Acropolis despite millions visiting every year. The term 'Overtourism' also has population alarmist (cf. 'Overpopulation') and racist, xenophobic undertones and does not go well with green, pro-tourism, open...
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Music Dissemination Project and other news from the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, Laos

Music Dissemination Project and other news from the  Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, Laos
Sabaidee! We've been taking advantage of the last bit of dry season as our research team traverses northern Laos (again!) as part of a music dissemination project that is linked to our special exhibition, "Voices of the Wind: Traditional Instruments in Laos". Communities have been captivated and engaged with our pop-up exhibition, and are excited to see their cultural heritage documented and celebrated. Read on for more about this project! We were also honoured to have our special exhibition recently highlighted in The Newsletter published by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS). April and May are always filled with celebrations like Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year), Song Nam Pha (watering the Buddha), World Fair Trade Day, and International Museum Day. We'll be busy with events at TAEC so follow us on Facebook to stay updated! Kawp jai lai lai! MUSIC DISSEMINATION PROJECT  As part of our special music exhibition,...
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World’s first climate Positive Expedition

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Author – Manjiri Gaikwad Contributing authors – Dr. Susanne Becken , Prof of Sustainable Tourism and Director of Griffith Institute for Tourism Jaideep Bansal , COO, Global Himalayan Expedition "Many people believe that carbon offsetting literally annihilates their emissions (magically sweeps  them away) when the real benefit is simply that emissions do not grow... talking of carbon  reductions, however, is misleading." – Dr. Susanne Becken, Director, Griffith Institute for Tourism, Australia While the world is working on efficient methods to reduce their carbon emissions, Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) , a Social Impact Travel Enterprise, with the help of travelers is investing in infrastructure to reduce carbon-emitting sources and provide clean energy access to the remote communities of Himalayas. According to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change , the tourism sector currently accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions. With each passing year, the tourism industry has been growing on...
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A Green Dream for All

Hearing the news about China’s newfound emphasis on ecological civilisation , and noting the growing movement for a Green New Deal in the US it dawned on me that political ecology can be the humanising influence on all the four distinct, and largely successful, political & socioeconomic models: the American, the European, the Chinese and, lest we forget, the Cuban model. Green principles can help all these models converge into one: rather than an American or a "Chinese Dream" let us have a Green Dream! This would contribute to a permanent Détente and international cooperation under the aegis of the United Nations (much maligned but still humanity’s greatest achievement) so as to eradicate poverty and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Political ecology, with its emphasis on human rights, social justice, sustainability and internationalism/anti-chauvinism/anti-racism can keep these models away from their extreme versions - all these models had or can have extreme, authoritarian...
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Paths of Greece celebrates 8 Years

190116-gr-paths-of-greece-600x400 The Paths of Greece Team meet the Presidents of Germany & Greece
Last October, Paths of Greece became 8 years old. When it all started, it seemed an impossible attempt. During the crisis years, the birth of a financially sustainable enterprise that would work on the development of hiking trails seemed irrational to many. Often, when I had to say what my work was, I used to be replied: “And what is your main job?”. Answering “this is my main job”, to hear again: “Well, and what do you live off? Who walks today? We have cars. Why don’t you get a serious job?” Yes, I live off that and I am happy every single day. This work fulfills me with experiences. It gives me the opportunity to meet people and places all over Greece. Together, through the trails, we develop opportunities for financial and social amelioration as well as environmental protection. Let aside that hiking is healthy. The first years passed, and...
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The future: either green or dystopic

The future: either green or dystopic
It can be argued beyond any doubt that Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism are today part and parcel of the green movement, a diverse and colourful current ranging from liberal environmentalism to ecosocialism which has a far wider audience than the Green parties, although they also steadily widen and deepen their electoral base around the world. The green movement is not a temporary phenomenon. Greens are trying to meet the real needs of the 21st century as far as addressing and avoiding catastrophic climate change is concerned. Equally importantly, they are also indirectly attempting to create, in a gradual, voluntary, non-totalitarian and intelligent way, and even if some greens do not realise it, what 20th century radical movements totally botched: happy, free, healthy, classless societies. The 20th century failure of totalitarian recipes was no accident: the idea that a clique or a strongman could or would serve as a dictator curtailing all...
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Creating Interpretive Experience In A Conservation Area

Interpretive__20181017-071902_1 Paul in Drummin Wood Special Area of Conservation
Creating Interpretive Experiences in Ecotourism In this post we look at How To Create An Interpretive Experience associated with an ecotourism experience within a Special Area of Conservation in Ireland. Ecotourism, as defined by the  Global Sustainable Tourism Council , typically incorporates a feature of conservation that may be ecological, cultural, historical, archaeological and/or spiritual. The experience should seek to simultaneously immerse visitors in this feature and it’s characteristics whilst preserving it, thus creating a ‘ sustainable experience ‘. Careful consideration need be taken to ensure the integrity of the site and features are not impacted by proposed use, nor the access to the features by local peoples affected. In essence, the conservation features should not be altered by the proposed activities, yet means for providing opportunities to immerse within the experience need to bring visitors into close contact with it for it to have any ‘ interpretive value ‘. Clearly then,...
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