ECOCLUB

ISSN 1108-8931

INTERNATIONAL ECOTOURISM MONTHLY

Year 5-Issue 52, Sep 2003

Editorial

Idealism vs. Materialism*, Apolitical vs. Political

Ecotourism for some is a set of vague ideals that attract affluent tourists who have the luxury to care a bit, but not too much, about the environment, and for shrewd tour operators a chance to offer a varied "tourism product" and outwit the competition, this theory of ecotourism depends on everyone's perception (idealism), and is also the smiling, adventure, glossy magazine, the idealistic and apolitical version of ecotourism. 

For others, including our club, Ecotourism is a broad, pluralistic, movement to change Tourism towards a more ecological and equitable direction, that demands a scientific analysis of tourism's causes and effects, to be followed by concrete policies and clear laws: this is the materialistic and political theory of Ecotourism, in the sense that matter is the only reality, and reality is what matters. The latter, political Ecotourism, is becoming more and more accepted: The greatest living politician, Nelson Mandela, who opened the World Parks Congress on September 8, recognised that Ecotourism can lead to environmental sustainability and reduce poverty.

Tourism generates over 10 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), directly employs 200 million people, and affects many more, so clearly the big prize for all those active in Ecotourism is to change tourism and the lives of millions, not just to create a little niche or soap box and only appeal to the fringes. In the same spirit, we believe in fair tourism & environment laws for all.

Yet, there are those who say, "but tourists simply want to have a good time, they do not need to be 'educated', they can barely put up with a sprinkling of ecological information before heading off to the beach or the bar, this is after all why they flew thousands of miles. They have to get a tan to show off to their colleagues back in the office". And that "tourism businesses only care about how to make a profit in these hard times, pestered by ever increasing government regulations, competition and world unrest". There may be grains of truth in the above statements, but these unscientific idealists patronise and underestimate the people's - the tourists -  perception and taste for something new & better, and these cynics also ignore the motives of the pioneers of ecotourism who have invested their lives and fortunes for delivering this new & better.

Ecotourism is based on ideas, but it is not idealistic, it may be associated with leisure but it is not leisurely, it is materialistic, scientific, and political.

Antonis B. Petropoulos, ECOCLUB Editor

*Materialism: The theory that physical matter and its modifications are the only reality.

Club News

Ecolodge Members renew

We thank Hana Maui & Volcano Heart, Hawaii for renewing their Ecolodge Membership.

New Expert Member

We warmly welcome Dr. Neerja Shrivastava, of Rajasthan, India as a new Expert Member.

New ECOCLUB.com Ecotourism Fund & Live Event !

The warm reception and successful launch of our new Supporter Membership, has prompted us to follow up with something equally challenging: The new ECOCLUB.com Ecotourism Fund. At least 10% of all Supporter Membership Dues and 10% of all ECOCLUB.com Shop profits, will be allocated to this fund, meant to support promising grassroot ecotourism efforts in late developing countries. Supporters will decide by democratic vote to which project the funds will be allocated, each year on July 1st, the day ECOCLUB S.A. was founded in 1999, starting with July 1 2004, our five-year anniversary. As of October 2003 we welcome applications from community & grassroots ecotourism projects. Everyone interested in learning and advising us on this new ECOCLUB.com initiative can come to a Live Chat on Thursday the 2nd of October at http://ecoclub.com/chat/ 

Ecolodge Member News

Saga Eco Camp (India) is including ECOCLUB.com in their new brochures and encourages their guests to take up our Supporters Membership.

Hana Maui (Hawaii, US) has received a certificate from Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine, for being listed as one of the "50 Best B&B's in the State of Hawaii".

Black Sheep Inn (Ecuador) have opened a public Library / Learning centre with over 500 books in Chugchilan and donated two computers to the Library with an English language learning program on them. They are looking for more educational material. Black Sheep Inn also received Certification from ASEC and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism as an "Empresa Especial de Ecoturismo".

Sustainability of EU Tourism

ECOCLUB's submission to the European Union on the 'Basic Orientations for the Sustainability of European Tourism' was accepted and can be found at http://europa.eu.int/ while all submissions can be found at:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/services/tourism/consultation/

Letters to the Editor

Our Last month's Editorial where we argued that it is better to tackle tourism's social problems right and early on instead of sweeping them under the carpet with fancy words like "stakeholders", caused reactions, please find some below:

An old way of managing people
The concept of "Stakeholders" refers to the effort of creating a synergetic feeling that is necessary if a group of people is to accomplish anything worthwhile. It aims at giving equal status, sort of speaking, to all players involved in order to create "the glue" that would bind everyone involved and direct them to success. Actually, this is a very old way of managing people, only to be reintroduced lately. It was coined in the 70's as a counter response to a top-down management style that only paid attention and gave decision power to top echelons and ignored the labour force. Most companies that correctly apply this concept listen to the "bottom" guy and have restructured their companies successfully.
Lydia McConnell, Expert Member, Greece

Who are they?
Loved your introduction, awesome, very powerful. I often asked within the last few years of joining into many forums and conferences "what do they mean? who are the stakeholders?" Right on!
Michelle Kirby, Black Sheep Inn, Ecuador

Readers views are welcome and should be addressed to the ECOCLUB Editor, email a@ecoclub.com

Cum Grano Salis  (with a pinch of salt)

CUM GRANO SALIS 1:  "Limit Eco-Tourism say Bio-Tourism Experts"

"Limit eco-tourism, say experts. Countries promoting eco-tourism to boost their economies are warned that there is a limit to the ability of the ecosystem to endure changes to the environment. In a paper entitled Management and conservation to achieve bio-tourism goals, Prof David Simmons and Assoc Prof Patrick Devlin of Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand, said there must be a limit imposed on the amount of acceptable changes to the environment caused by eco-tourism."
Source: http://thestar.com.my

CUM GRANO SALIS 2: IYE Follow up: International Year of Descrambling?

Ever wondered what happens to websites when computer mice leave and the clicks go out? Check out the former official Quebec Ecotourism Summit website - www.ecotourism2002.org  - for some [illegal] "cable TV descrambling" ! 

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