Ecoclub Member Blogs

1 minute reading time (55 words)

Ecotourism Destinations

2nd European Ecotourism Conference was held in Romania last week.
It had a main focus on ecotourism destinations in European context.

Declaration was formed, find it here:
http://www.ecotourism.ee/blog/news/

So what to you think about 5 pillars of "ecotourism destinations" within European reality? What is relevant?
What is not?
Do we miss something important in the concept of ecotourism destinations?

 

[embed=videolink]{"video":"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlihJP5tEvU","width":"400","height":"300"}[/embed]

"Stitching our Stories" program expands
New Manager at 3 Rivers & Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge...
 

Comments (5)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thank you Aivar for this update.

On a first reading it is hard to disagree with the declaration even though it is too brief and general (agreed most declarations are) and rather uncritical of 'ecotourism'.

Looking more closely however, there...

Thank you Aivar for this update.

On a first reading it is hard to disagree with the declaration even though it is too brief and general (agreed most declarations are) and rather uncritical of 'ecotourism'.

Looking more closely however, there are various definitional issues: what constitutes, who represents (decides) and how big exactly is a 'destination'?

Another problem, if I am not mistaken, is that the 80 participants had no legal mandate to represent any destination, they were mostly representing business interests. So no surprise that there is nothing in the declaration about worker conditions (pay, rights) in ecotourism destinations.

A destination for the tourist but someone else's house. If you are to respect ecological principles, an ecotourism destination
should primarily serve the real needs of the inhabitants, rather than the demands of tourists, or tourism businesses.

You are asking that every ecotourism destination has a 'protected area' attached to it but this uses a narrow definition of ecotourism (as nature tourism) and may not always be possible if you are referring to a small village, or a part of a town. Having laws in place relating to environmental and cultural conservation (e.g. architecture) may be more relevant than having a whole protected 'area'.

What exactly is a 'critical mass' of local ecotourism businesses? Would a good municipal tourism entreprise or local cooperative, or non-profit,
constitute critical mass or do you need to have private businesses.

What constitutes 'active participation' of a local community? It is quite vague compared to ownership & control by the local community?

You have also forgotten Transport! (Accessibility & affordability) An ecotourism destination surely should have accessibility for all, good rail connections, bike lanesand discourage the use of private vehicles. If reaching it requires privately chartering a helicopter and as a result it is only for the affluent few, then it is not really an ecotourism destination, but a luxury destination.

Anyway, trying to conceptually define an ecotourism destination is useful, but hopefully all this will not lead to another futile & EU-funded top-down attempt to create a body that would 'certify' "ecotourism destinations"!

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Regarding Antonis' point above about destination representatives, I think that this also addresses an important question on who will use the agreed 'definition' of ecotourism destination for what purposes. The action item noted in the declaration...

Regarding Antonis' point above about destination representatives, I think that this also addresses an important question on who will use the agreed 'definition' of ecotourism destination for what purposes. The action item noted in the declaration - "to use it as a guide for future action" - can be interpreted in many different ways, and perhaps that IS the point (that the declaration can be used as a tool by different stakeholders for various purposes that benefit the development of ecotourism).

I think that it would be helpful for the European Ecotourism Network to keep track of various actions taken by destinations and other stakeholders as a result of this declaration (through associations such as AER and Estonian Association, or through networks such as Europarc and PAN Parks, for example), and following the declaration as a guide, and to publish reports on those destinations' experiences to share them as concrete examples of how the declaration can be utilized in a practical way.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

During the conference sessions on the declaration, there were also a lot of discussions about the "protected areas" and "critical mass" parts. It would be helpful for the committee to share through the conference website and other networks some...

During the conference sessions on the declaration, there were also a lot of discussions about the "protected areas" and "critical mass" parts. It would be helpful for the committee to share through the conference website and other networks some more information on these points, and what have been discussed among participants regarding these points. (Aivar?)

Better understanding the context, I believe, would help make future discussions on the content of the declaration more productive and constructive.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thank you so much for a comment Antonis.

When wording the declaration we tried to keep the list short, this explains some of the missing aspects that you are pointing to.
But, I do agree with all your comments!
One thing that you are not...

Thank you so much for a comment Antonis.

When wording the declaration we tried to keep the list short, this explains some of the missing aspects that you are pointing to.
But, I do agree with all your comments!
One thing that you are not correct, there was not many people among 80 , representing businesses, I was one of the few.
See the delegates list: http://european-ecotourism.eu/pages/participants-list

I feel very happy that the declaration has initiated some meaningful discussion here.
Have a great weekend!
Cheers from Estonia
Aivar

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You are welcome Aivar. Certainly there were distinguished participants from the private sector, consultants, academia, civil service, NGOs, self-employed - but my point was that there were no tourism worker representatives - not your fault as...

You are welcome Aivar. Certainly there were distinguished participants from the private sector, consultants, academia, civil service, NGOs, self-employed - but my point was that there were no tourism worker representatives - not your fault as this is usually the case in most conferences. One more thing, I think proper Waste Management infrastructure & policies are also important if a destination is to be considered eco. No matter how beautiful or "pristine" an area is, if tourist rubbish ends up in a local landfill or in the sea, as still happens in many Mediterranean island destinations, then there is no point in recognising them as "ecotourism destinations".

Read More
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
0 Characters
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location