ISSN 1108-8931


Issue 61
5th Anniversary Issue

Sponsored by: Zante Feast Holidays

Member News
from Ecuador, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Dominica, Greece, Italy, Spain

Eco Focus
ECOCLUB Ecolodge Award 2004. 
Community Ecotourism in Bolivia.
11 things to do in Athens, besides the Olympics

Eco Crossword
Types of Tourism Accommodation

Plus for our Members
Jobs, Eco Projects & Finance, World News

Subscribe to ECOCLUB, Print Edition
Subscribe to the
Print Edition
containing all material

Disclaimer:  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 © 1999-2004 ECOCLUB
S.A. All rights reserved.

ECOCLUB's 5th Anniversary - The Olympics' 2,780th...

As we enter our 6th year, we wish to thank all of you, Members, friends, and readers. ECOCLUB's 5th Anniversary was celebrated on-line on the 1st of July, by presenting our first ever Ecolodge Award, offered after a tough Members vote - as all candidate proposals were very good, to Ranweli Holiday Resort of Sri Lanka. The award funds will be used by the Lodge to implement a very worthwhile project, the construction of an organic plot and greenhouse in the premises of a 1000-student school, close to Ranweli. We hope this Award will grow together with ECOCLUB and provide in time a real alternative to the usually wasteful and mismanaged tourism development financing. We strongly believe that ecotourism should be financed from within and as an international ecotourism cooperative we believe we are able to succeed with  this initiative.

On a separate note, and as we are based in Athens, I am receiving quite a few communications from Members and friends asking how we feel about the Olympics "invading" the city. To all I invariably, and honestly reply that we feel great ! After all the Olympics are not invading, they were born in Olympia in 776 BCE and reborn in Athens in 1896. The oligopolistic world media have cultivated a negative climate, with vitriolic stories (easier to write, easier to sell) about the Athens Games, but scratch the surface and you will find "press releases" by international contractors who did not get their big contracts (security or construction) and others who pressed this way until they did. There is no denying that there have been delays, but most were caused by the fact that this is also the city where democracy first appeared (OK also cynicism and anarchy), so when there were protests against Olympic works, by environmentalists, archaeologists or local residents, the works had to stop. Still thanks to the heroic efforts (18 deaths !) of construction workers working day and night, including many economic migrants, this giant undertaking will be ready on time and the paid Cassandras will shut up. There is no denying that some of the projects were of the red herring / white elephant variety, cynics believe some were thankyous to immortals and friends. There is no denying that some opportunities for a greener Olympics have been missed due to the pressure to get things done fast, but nevertheless Athens has acquired for the first time, thanks to the Olympics, a modern and extensive public transport infrastructure, including a tram, after 50 years, and a brand new, underground system. And a pleasant surprise is that the new website of the new Greek Ministry of Tourism Development, also a by-product of the Olympics, features "sustainable development" in its motto, it is hoped not for window-dressing. There is no denying finally, that these Olympics are conducted more or less in a time of war, but even on this account the host country, apart from spending the highest ever sum for security at a sports event (EUR 2 bn) had also something else to propose, perhaps naively, the Olympic Truce, a cessation of all wars and battles for at least two weeks, as in the ancient Olympic games. The United Nations has "unanimously" approved the idea, let's hope they meant it.

Antonis B. Petropoulos



Copyright © 1999-2004 ECOCLUB S.A. All Rights Reserved.