ISSN 1108-8931


Year 4, Issue 47, Apr. 2003


On certification, harmonisation and other exports.

We sceptically observe various moves, peculiarly emanating from the same capitals where new global doctrines appear, to move towards the direction of a global ecotourism certification scheme, a world ecotourism standard, etc. In this contest, one will find consultants, universities, ngos, associations, agencies and lately government ministries. One may suppose that this is a result of good intentions but as they say, the road to hell is paved with them. Little evidence has been produced however, that tourists or operators demand a world ecotourism standard, or that they are confused by those already existing. 'Harmonisation' may risk reinventing the wheel, or rather destroy local wheels (certification schemes) and creating disharmony. On a philosophical note, there is a risk of cultural imperialism and of imposing the voluntary. At an economic & legal level, a world ecotourism standard could even lead to monopoly and serious conflicts of interest.

Of course, it is hard to stop a process that promises to be lucrative one way or the other. Aspiring world ecotourism certification agents and best practice taxonomists should recognise that the ecological is also local. There are already local, working, national certification schemes, so is there a real need to bulldoze over variety, or impose (repackaged really) procedures and ideals on other cultures, with the pretext of enlightenment & harmonisation? Genuine ecotourism operators, especially indigenous community efforts, do not really demand, and can not afford high-flying certifiers and their certificates. They have other, more pressing needs. Not to mention that in the world of genuine ecotourism, the best certifiers are not those who are paid, but those who pay: the TOURISTS! The eye of the ecotourist, can be as accurate and sometimes more honest than that of a certifier. The plain truth from all sectors is that certification lends itself better to tangible products, than to services. The international certification fraternity may thus choose not to waste their good grants on certifying willy-nilly genuine ecotourism, as if it was a 'product' harvested from the rainforest, but rather take a look at other more promising tourism 'products' (e.g. 'responsible', 'alternative', 'nature', tourism) where the 'large and the beautiful' can fit without blushing, and who can also easily pay for an absolution paper. Ecotourism is not a movement for certifying tourism, but a movement to change it...

Give your views on these matters

Club News

Members Renew Support

We sincerely thank Ecolodge Members Dadia Ecotourist Centre (Greece) for renewing their support of at these difficult times. Visit this famous, community-owned operation at

New Ecolodge Members

We warmly welcome two genuine Ecolodges into the club, Cerro Coyote (Costa Rica) and Casa Mojanda (Ecuador).

Cerro Coyote, Costa Rica

Atop the Cordillera de Tilláran mountain chain, the Cerro Coyote Hacienda overlooks miles of Pacific coast and ocean, the Gulf and Peninsula of Nicoya, and the Rio Baranca. An architectural jewel built by architect Carlos Reyes, with five guest rooms, courtyard garden, Great Room, Map Room, and numerous public areas, decks, and patios with broad vistas of the Pacific Ocean from 4100' in altitude. Completely independent and sustainable, the Hacienda uses solar and micro-hydro power sources and protects 65-acres of rainforest wilderness.

Link

Casa Mojanda, Ecuador

At 9,800 feet, Casa Mojanda, a collection of tile-roofed whitewashed cabins perched on the edge of a gorge overlooking the sacred mountains of Imbabura and Cotacachi, and the world famous market of Otavalo, is awaiting you. Your stay will be pleasant, ecological and educational and help support a variety of community & environmental projects initiated by Casa Mojanda's proprietors, in true ecotourism spirit.

Link



We warmly welcome Mr. Samuel Segun Odunlami, Ecotourism Coordinator, National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism Studies, Bagauda Lake, Kano, Nigeria, who has joined ECOCLUB as a new Expert Member.

Link You may find Mr. Odunlami's profile and contact details at


This month we also welcome our first ever Sponsors, Swallows & Amazons who operate Tours out of Manaus, Brazil, and Columbia College, a Tourism Education Institution in Sonora, California, USA.

We thank them both for choosing to support You may read their profiles here Sponsorship is a new form of advertising available to environmentally-friendly organisations that agree with our Membership Charter, that was introduced to strengthen ECOCLUB's ability to promote genuine ecotourism and to offer various free services through the Internet, to all, democratically and ecologically. In plain words, thanks to our Sponsors, we can take off pressure from our genuine ecolodge members, especially those that have limited financial abilities. Measures are in place to avoid the risk of green-washing and confusing Sponsorship with Ecolodge Membership.

We aim for many small sponsors, rather than a few giant ones that could undermine our independence. We have not sought grants from any large organisation, for the same reason. ECOCLUB is and will remain, an independent, cooperative, ecotourism network, with a clear charter, serving its members and genuine ecotourism.

SCRIPTA MANENT - ECOCLUB, printed edition !

Electronic media are dynamic, but what is printed stays, and can be read by many who do not have easy access to the Internet. Following public demand, we thus decided to print ECOCLUB, starting from this issue. Our Ecolodge Members in over 20 countries, our Sponsors, and we hope key public Libraries in developing countries, will receive the print edition for free. You can also receive the ECOCLUB, printed edition, by signing up for our new, Supporter Membership, and also enjoy extra benefits such as a 10% discount at all (organic and energy-saving) products sold at the Shop,



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