- Written by ECOCLUB.com
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"I do not believe too much in having a destination called sustainable, but rather in the road to sustainability. I believe in the importance of the journey towards sustainability"
Jorge Moller is a Consultant and an Ecotourism & Special Interest Tourism pioneer in Chile. He started back in 1985 in the South of Chile where he later founded the “Eco Travel” tours in the Lake District Puerto Varas. He is a founding member of Chile’s adventure travel regulatory organization (C.A.T.A.) and of the Tourism Corporation of Puerto Varas. Always keen to bring an environmental education perspective into the tourism experience, Mr Moller directed for 20 years Darwin’s Trails Chile, a joint English-Chilean inbound Tour Operator which provided authentic local experiences and local people contact for clients visiting Chile and Patagonia. As the Director of REGENERA, Mr Moller works as a consultant with indigenous communities such as the Mapuches, Likan Antai, Yagan and Rapa-Nui to provide them with tools for sustainable development. An active member of the Chilean Tourism Bureau Board, he promotes the destination of Chile in a sustainable way, including all types of experiences in this incredibly biodiverse country. Mr Moller has taught at the Universidad Católica. and played a key role in the foundation and development of the South American Sustainable Tourism Network (SAST). Today he is the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Country Representative of Chile and steers the GSTC Destination Sustainable Working Group. He currently works with various destinations in Latin America including Robinson Crusoe, Cape Horn and Qhapac Ñan with the aim of improving their product and tourism market access.
ECOCLUB.com: As an Ecotourism pioneer in Chile, do you remember what first attracted you to Ecotourism and the South of Chile back in 1985?
Jorge Moller: As a university student, I was working in a pub in Santiago. Above the pub, on the second floor there was a rafting company which organised weekend river trips to various Chilean destinations. From a very young age, I had been attracted to rivers as we used to go out fishing with my father on a wooden boat. So I asked that rafting company if they could take me on a rafting trip somewhere near Santiago. They did, and from then on I realised that I could combine what I love, which is being in nature, with an outdoors job. I started going on the trips on weekends while I was still studying and working in the pub and also helped with the logistics of rafting. We used to do a full summer season in Pucon in the Lake District, South of Chile. After being in charge of operations for a couple of years I decided that I wanted to set up my own business and to focus on teaching people a little more about nature. So in 1989, I found an opportunity in Puerto Varas, 1,000 km south of Santiago, and there I started my own company which I called ‘Eco Travel’.
ECOCLUB.com: How different were things in the area at the time, during the late Pinochet years, regarding environmental awareness, pollution, social justice and tourism opportunities for the indigenous communities?
Jorge Moller: Basically, during these years, the dictatorship focused on generating employment and money, so there was low environmental awareness, they did not care too much about the environment. Abundant in natural resources, in Chile, it was normal for our income to be derived from extractive activities like mining, forestry, wine production, pulp industry and salmon farming. The indigenous communities were also very depressed, and until today it is a big political problem that a lot of indigenous communities still do not have the rights that they deserve.
- Written by UNWTO
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Madrid, Spain, 15 September 2017
The member States of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) approved today a historical document - the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics. The Convention, approved at the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly transforms the Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention, the first in the life of the Organization.
The Convention covers the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the development sustainable tourism, providing a framework that recommends an ethical and sustainable modus operandi, including the right to tourism, the freedom of movement for tourists and the rights of employees and professionals.
“In an interconnected world where the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food products or automobiles, it is important to set out a legal framework to ensure that growth is dealt with responsibly and that it can be sustained over time. Tourism is a power that must be harnessed for the benefit of all,” said the Chairman of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE), Pascal Lamy.
Appointed as Chairman of the WTCE in 2013, Pascal Lamy, together with his colleagues in the Committee, has been instrumental in the process of presenting the Convention on Tourism Ethics to the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly.
The conversion of the Code, which was adopted in 1999, into a proper Convention represents a significant step towards ensuring that tourism development is done with full respect for sustainable development, social issues, local community development, improves understanding between cultures and addresses labour issues.
“This is a historical moment for UNWTO, said the Secretary-General”, Taleb Rifai. “The approval of the Convention is a strong legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development that we celebrate this year. It is also a strong sign that countries are committed to making tourism a force for a better future for all. It reinforces UNWTO institutional outreach in the UN system,” he added.
Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2017 in Aysen, Chile brings Sustainable Destinations a step closer
- Written by GSTC
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September 14, 2017 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2017 in Aysén, Chile (GSTC2017Aysen), brought together 250 delegates from 29 countries, as well as thousands of viewers joining the live broadcast of the conference.
The Conference focused on “Sustainable Destinations”, and the application of the GSTC Destination Criteria, with a focused panel of representatives from destinations that apply the GSTC Destination Criteria: Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism - Cayman Islands; Beatriz Barreal, Founder & General Manager - Sustainable Riviera Maya (Mexico); Dawson Ramsden, Ecotourism Marketing Executive - Botswana Tourism Organisation; Eduardo Gomez, Director Regional - Sernatur Los Lagos (Chile); and Tamara Ullrich, Board Member - ZOIT Cchellenko (Chile). Other topics included tourism and climate change (adaptation and mitigation strategies); marketing sustainable tourism; sustainable visitor management; indigenous tourism; sustainable food in the tourism industry; and more. Simultaneous translation was provided in English and Spanish.
- Written by ECOCLUB.com
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"What communities need is a good quality of life and usually, this involves small projects with small impacts on the environment, compared to resorts, mass projects and huge initiatives"
Natalia Naranjo is a Tourism and Development Expert. She is the Country Representative in Colombia and Ecuador for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and an official trainer for the same organization. She is also the Country Representative in Colombia for the Canadian Organization for Technical Cooperation – Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO-SACO). Ms Naranjo is a leading force at COMUNITUR, a community tourism development network while she also teaches Tourism Public Policy and International Analysis at the Externado de Colombia University. She has worked in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Spain with the private and public sector as well as with local communities and NGOs. Ms Naranjo holds a BSc in Finance and International Relations from the Externado de Colombia University, and a Masters in Environment from the University of Barcelona.
ECOCLUB.com: You have extensive experience working in both the public and private sectors in many Latin American countries, and you also teach tourism public policy at University level. Do you believe governments now finally get the importance of tourism, and particularly sustainable tourism, in relation to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or do they still approach the sector as an easy source of revenue and just go through the moves of sustainable tourism, to greenwash and appear to be up to date?
Natalia Naranjo: My answer is that it could be both. There is a growing number of people finally understanding the importance of sustainability in the administration and other stakeholders. Social networks and globalisation are strengthening the sustainability discourse in all economic activities including tourism. When it comes to implementing policies and tools to achieve sustainability in Tourism, there are the unprepared who only do it to fulfil some obligations or some requirements from the government for example, without really considering the consequences or the serious commitment that it requires. But I think that growing concern and the market can be great allies to prevent greenwashing. For that, we also need more information and to facilitate access to information. Some stakeholders at first only want to accomplish some criteria without really meaning it, but even this is a good start. Anyway, there is more information for everyone, and that’s good.
ECOCLUB.com: Are you satisfied with the policies of the current Colombia government and their understanding of sustainable tourism? What would be any key recommendations you would make to them if asked?
Natalia Naranjo: Well, I think they are implementing different regulations, and from this year all the stakeholders have to be certified/have to accomplish some criteria in sustainability if they want to renew their functioning accreditation then I think that’s good that there are some standards. Anyway not everyone knows about sustainability, and sometimes there is misunderstanding, and there will probably be people that will only complete forms to accomplish that criteria and the government need more follow up with that. It is a challenge now they have been doing these policies and these regulations, and there is a little bit of concern among stakeholders if they can meet all those regulations that the government is trying to implement. We are now facing a big challenge to understand Sustainability and really implement these strategies and criteria. It is a good moment, but we need to keep working to understand even at the government level.