ISSN 1108-8931


Year 5-Issue 55, Dec. 2003


15 Ecolodge Members report

Ecotourism D.I.Y.
Eastern Europe & Virgin Islands

Eco Crossword
Dogs are not just for Xmas

Plus for our Members:
Jobs, Ecotourism Projects, World News

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with a pinch of salt. 


" Both tourism and prostitution can be considered as multi-million-dollar businesses that are contributing to poverty alleviation, job creation and income generation. Meanwhile, both trades (that are partly overlapping because of sex tourism) are utterly unfair and exploitative, victimizing millions of unfortunate people worldwide and causing great harm to society. Having said that, you may realize that the "selling-out" in the tourism trade is much more comprehensive than in the sex trade.
"- Anita Pleumarom of Tourism Investigation & Monitoring Team, eTurbo News, 15 Dec 2003.



Any views expressed in this newspaper belong to their respective
authors and are not necessarily those of
ECOCLUB S.A. Although we try to check all facts, we accept no liability for
inaccuracies - which means you should not take any travel or other decisions
based only on what you read here... Use of this newspaper is covered by the Terms & Conditions of the Website and by your uncommon sense and good humour.
Copyright © 1999-2003 ECOCLUB
S.A. All rights reserved.


One year after the end of the International Year of Ecotourism, the spotlights are gone, but those that really care and practice ecotourism every day are still at it. So, in this issue instead of abstract theories about "the future which is unknown" we let them speak: In lieu of the regular interview you will find some first-hand reports on the achievements, struggles and future plans of fifteen of our Ecolodge Members. On our part we promise to keep trying to improve the ECOCLUB magazine and our club membership benefits, we look forward to your continued interest and participation, and wish you all a prosperous and peaceful 2004.

Antonis B. Petropoulos, ECOCLUB Editor


Club News

Our Ecolodge Members

We warmly thank the Boat Landing Guesthouse (Laos)  

and Bathurst Inlet Lodge (Canada)  for renewing as Ecolodge Members.

We also welcome El Nagual (Brazil)  and 

The Pimenta (India) as new Ecolodge Members.

Our Expert Members

We warmly thank the following Ecotourism Experts for renewing Expert Membership:

Dr Arturo Sandoval (Mexico)
Professor Aimilia Drougas (Greece)
Ms Rachel Dodds (UK)
Dr Eriks Leitis (Latvia)
Professor Todd Comen (USA)
Mr Andre Dukhia (Guyana)
Mr Jerry A-Kum (Surinam)
Mr Nick Polychronidis (Greece)
Mr Stephen Mak (China, Hong Kong SAR)

and welcome our new Expert
Ms Debra Scisco (USA)

All our Experts provide a free basic consultancy in their particular geographic and thematic area of expertise to ecotourism businesses, please contact them at:  

Letters to the Editor

Think Locally
"I'd like to reply to the letter of Mr. Vinzenz Schmack, which appeared in the previous issue. The advice that the local community gave to Mr. Schmack , to cut the trees and plant pineapples, was good advice, kindly meant. It was the best thing they could think of for you to do to prosper, since no one had shown them viable ecotourism. Had they been informed, they might have set up traditional hospitality and guiding for their own benefit. As for the locals having "no education", they often are far better informed about the locality than any incomer and are quite able to understand profit and loss, not only monetary. And as for wanting quick profits on investments - they almost certainly are capable of understanding waiting for a harvest to ripen, whether it is vegetal or developmental. For generations nature conservation areas like national parks tended to be formed for the benefit of the animals to the detriment of any human being around. In South Africa people were moved out of places like the Kruger National Park and if they tried to pursue their traditional hunting way of life in their traditional hunting grounds, they became poachers and were sent to prison. They often were left with unproductive land while governments and private owners made money out of the tourists who visited. With the change in philosophy in South Africa, which was espoused by many private game lodge owners before democracy, the policy is to involve the neighbouring communities. At Kruger, the villages on the margins of the park not only supply staff but have rights to conduct craft markets at the park gates and to cut grass in the park for roofing and basket-making. All of this is regarded as social investment with returns in good neighbours, happy staff and supporters in the region. Here land is being returned to people who were dispossessed by previous governments. Some of the new owners have decided to turn their ancestral grazing and hunting lands into eco-tourism concerns, and hire experienced management. If this happens in Costa Rica at some time in the future, will the forest dwellers hesitate to claim back a private lodge?"
Anne Taylor, Cape Town

Editor comments: Beyond the issue of whether the "local people" are able or not to decide for themselves (indeed they are, saying that they are not is undemocratic), I believe the heart of the issue has to do with national laws and the political-economic system of a country. Ideally, we all have to obey the same laws. 1. If the local law permits private ownership of the rainforest, then by definition the private owners are not legally required to consult with the neighbouring community. (They can choose to ignore the community, at their own peril - forests are flammable). If the citizens are happy with that law, fine, if not they should change it through legal means 2. If there are no laws that prevent the private owner of a forest from cutting down the trees, then by definition he is not legally required to preserve the trees. Others may not like this, but the best solution again is to try and change the law, rather than to confront those who are legally exploiting a natural resource. 3. With the exception of few remaining "uncontacted peoples", the "local people" of the so-called developing world, are no more "benevolent", naive, or ignorant, than outsiders coming to invest in their neighborhood. They are simply poorer. In general, true democracy requires clear, fair, laws, voted by all & universally applied, rather than voluntary "codes of ethics" decided by stakeholders", although in practice "codes of ethics" are usually the first step towards legislation, good or bad.

Timeo Danaos
"I read the Interview with Megan Epler Wood and the TIES, founded in 1990. It occurred to me, however, that a whole, generation, may I say 'era', of creation and struggle, of successes and disappointments, of victories and defeats, was disregarded, long before the foundations and corporations started loosening their purse strings. We may all have the same goals, but it is much harder, although a lot more truthful, to carry on the green struggle without the "green" the establishment finally decided to lavish on those ecotourism outfits that were willing to accept it. Some of us were not willing to be too closely associated with entities such as government agencies, world banks, private foundations, and many others who attached hidden strings to their participation, explicitly or implicitly. Perhaps at that time the ratio of realistic idealism to calculated venality was much higher than it is now, especially taking into consideration the fear of "the Americans bringing gifts", which was not totally unfounded: a repeat of the old "timeo Danaos et dona ferentes".
Dr. Franco Ferrari, Forum International, Pleasant Hill, California





Copyright © 1999-2003 ECOCLUB S.A. All Rights Reserved.