ISSN 1108-8931


Year 5-Issue 59, Apr. 2004

Sponsored by: Zante Feast Holidays

Xavier Font, Principal Lecturer, Leeds Metropolitan University

Members News
from Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, India, Mexico, USA

Eco Focus
Gulf of Mannar, Tamilnadu, India

Eco Crossword
World Days

Plus for our Members
Jobs, Ecotourism Projects, World News

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with a pinch of salt)

To win or not to win

A week in the English seaside resort of Bognor Regis (1.5 m visitors annually) has been named as a booby prize in a television quiz, causing anger among tourist bosses and councilors. The ITV series Bognor or Bust, will be a news quiz in which contestants will try to avoid "winning" a week in the resort.

The Times/



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Copyright © 1999-2004 ECOCLUB
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There are potentially more world days than days and many are about the environment. Two are on this week, today, Earth Day April 22 while the World Day for the abolition of animal experiments, comes two days later. Thus there are two competing Earth Days and a separate Environment day, A Habitat Day, A Day to combat Desertification and Drought, and a Day for Biological Diversity (cf. religious holidays for saints). World days tend to be neutral and pleasant for all until one starts thinking of what sea change it would take for these holy globalisation days to become more than revenue raising opportunities for NGOs, and photo-opportunities for politicians-on-bikes, or if one thinks of the repercussions of treating problems in an isolated manner: If animal experiments are banned, how long until the day for the abolition of experiments using humans? Indeed world days may have another, counter-productive effect: We gave you a world day for your issue, you celebrate it again and again every year and nothing changes, so your issue is discredited and boring, sorry, your government is asleep. 

Instead, it is everyday practice that matters, and in this spirit we are holding this month's Live Chat seeking simple, innovative ideas for everyday use. Four preliminary suggestions below:

Do not consume, just for the sake of consuming. From food, to buying the latest gadget. Try to avoid luxury. Luxury is the definition of waste, and your extra could be someone else's deficit. See through all these consumer ads that try to convince you to be more selfish, "because you are worth it". The truth is that these advertisers despise you so much that they appeal to your lower instincts.

Do not recycle, just for the sake of recycling. Recycling, usually benevolent, can also lead to waste and toxic sweatshops in the developing world. Instead, repair, reuse, resell or even better donate the unwanted appliance, or item to someone less fortunate. I am sure you met someone today.

Do not own, just for the sake of owning. Learn to share, your books, your knowledge, your bike, your car, even your house (ok, no need to share your toothbrush). It is not easy, after millennia of darwinism, and Proudhon is out of fashion, but it will emancipate your mind.

Do not seek pleasure, just for the sake of pleasure. Take care of your own ecosystem, your body. Avoid the artificial paradises of drugs of all types - from 4 cups of coffee, to cigarettes, to buying sprees, to irrational dogmas, to escapism and the exoticism of fake paradisiacal resorts. Walk! Cycle! Exercise your body and your brain. Go on real trips, meet real people, make real friends.

Antonis B. Petropoulos


Members News

Mexico, Q.Roo: Villas Ecotucan send us some good and bad news. An unfortunate event occurred early in the month of April, when with only one day notice large bulldozers arrived to open a 20 meters wide road running parallel to the lagoon, 100 meters from the shore, to provide access to more lots now for sale, yet still in dispute, on the lagoon front. A few of these lots have been already sold and have been completely cleared by the new owners. With very heavy hearts they have simply stood by as the destruction took place not wanting to affront "highly volatile yet very powerful ejido leaders". On a more positive note Villas Ecotucan announce the first visit by a rural school group that will take place on April 30th. About 30 participants will arrive to spend the day taking part in kayaking , recycling art, and jungle walk workshops, as well as small talks on taking care of the environment. Children will spend the night in the cabins and finish the program mid-day Saturday. Villas Ecotucan will provide all meals, lodging and necessary equipment free of charge and volunteer students from University of Quintana Roo alternative tourism career will provide necessary staff. Our Ecolodge Members also announce the second annual student tourism fair of Chetumal that will take place at the lodge on May 16. Students from various high schools in our municipality will be invited to participate in a weekend comprised of lectures, activities and competitions all based on introducing them to ecotourism.
Villas Ecotucan

India, Kerala: The Magazine Elle has featured The Green Magic Nature Resort in an article Excerpt:

"...that tree is a 200-year-old Banyan rising high up in the mountains of southern India through the rain-forest mists of the state of Kerala, and the cooing unfolds inside a cozy tree house 90 feet above the ground. At the rugged Green Magic Nature Resort-a trekworthy, eco-conscious retreat powered by the sun-romance is an adventure. After you take a sluggish bus ride to the nearby town of  Vythiri on a road lined with cardamom and tea planta-

Letters to the Editor

Ms. Megan Epler Wood sends this additional note regarding ECOCLUB's review of her new report in our March issue:

"The report does not claim that specific statisticians, such as the World Tourism Organization, inaccurately collected data on the size of the ecotourism market. Rather, the report demonstrates that the data available from WTO was inaccurately used to bolster the claim that the ecotourism market was very large. In fact, the data on how many travelers travel with green motivations was not gathered, and the problem has been that many false assumptions were made in the 1990s on the size of the market, because the survey researchers never looked at actual consumer behavior in terms of their eco-social selection process.

I would also like to point out, that the size of the U.S. market for those who actively eco-socially select ecotravel companies for their environmental and social agendas was estimated to be approximately 100,000 every year. I did not call such people true ecotourists, as I personally would not define true ecotourists this way. I believe the market is much broader, but it is simply not actively selecting vacations using eco-social criteria. We must understand their criteria, and I have received letters from 4 ecolodges, since the article was released, saying that they can immediately validate this article based on the experience of their companies, and these are some of the most eco-socially responsible companies in the world.

If businesses are to successfully market their ecolodge and ecotourism products, it is highly important that market numbers are properly understood, and consumer behavior is accurately surveyed. Knowing more accurately how consumer select their vacations will have an immense impact on businesses and countries worldwide."
Epler Wood Report

tions, a resort driver takes you by Jeep the rest of the way on hairpin turns past startled leopards. Once you're there, a water-weighted "lift" hoists you to your sylvan hideaway, an airy bedroom of sturdy rope-lashed jackwood-incandescent at sunset, otherearthly in the moonlight."
The Green Magic Nature Resort

Costa Rica: La Laguna del Lagarto's proprietor, Mr. Vinzenz Schmack was interviewed for an article in The Rotarian, the magazine of Rotary International. Please find an excerpt below: "Ecotourism is still more a myth than a reality," says Vinzenz Schmack, a member of the Rotary Club of San José and owner of La Laguna del Lagarto, an ecolodge set on 500 hectares of virgin rain forest near the Nicaraguan border. "I think true ecotourism means to go back to nature. Mass tourism and overcrowded places are incompatible with ecotourism." Schmack also cautions against the false promise of ecotourism as the country confronts broader issues of sustainable development: "Ecotourism can be a door opener and facilitator but cannot resolve all the problems."
Laguna del Lagarto

Dominica: 3 Rivers Lodge was reviewed in a special feature on Dominica in the UK's Daily Telegraph, excerpt: 
"Jem' Winston, a young man from Essex, gave up driving taxis to establish Three Rivers Eco Lodge, near Rosalie, in an enchanting place which, as the name suggests, has enough water power and sunshine to provide power for the enterprise. Everything is organic and bio-degradable. Chemicals are banned and the jeep has been adapted to run on cooking oil. So far, four comfortable lodges have been completed and there is a camping site for back-packers. "There is so much nature and beauty on this island, both at sea and on land, that no one with half an interest in flora and fauna could be bored here".
3 Rivers Lodge

Ecuador: La Selva Jungle Lodge in the heart of the Amazon of Ecuador announces it now offers a camping program for those who want a slightly different look at the rainforest. One can spend one night in tents, in combination with a stay at the lodge or camp for as many nights as one likes deep in the forest behind Lake Mandicocha. The tents are on elevated thatched roof platforms and there is room for 8 guests a night.
La Selva Jungle Lodge

USA, New York: Our Member Ms Claudia Derp is a Candidate for the Master in Science in Tourism and Travel Management. As part of her Masters project she is assisting the tourism authorities and stakeholders in Canavieiras, Brazil to determine priorities and infrastructure needs to attract more tour groups and individual tourists. For this purpose Claudia is conducting a survey of tour operators from the US who are currently offering tours to Central and South America and are exhibiting a concern for the tour destination’s environment and its people.
Take the Survey




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