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Director’s Cut: Towards Ecotourism 2.0
On World Tourism Day, I took 5 minutes off my daily routine, to think how ECOCLUB can improve its efforts & results
towards a more ecological Tourism. My feeling, a result of correspondence with many of you, is that the broad Ecotourism
movement, has reached a crossroad, and must pick the correct path in order to maintain its freshness, relevance, coherence and
raise its voice and power. An Ecotourism 2.0, confident & outward-looking, with political power, with a clear ecological
message, internationalist, pacifist, making full use of the internet and direct democracy.
Personally, I am fed up with Pontius Pilate Governments who avoid their responsibilities through voluntary measures, private
initiatives and charity. With government-funded non-governmental organisations acting as the long arm of powers that be, and
government organisations masquerading as private concerns. With powerful tourism interests endlessly paying lip service to the
millennium development goals (which millennium would that be, the fourth?) and congratulating each other through opaque
We need laws for all rather than optional, voluntary arrangements for the few. But laws that are realistic, that can be applied, not
draconian ones that encourage corruption. Certification, if it is to acquire any real meaning, should not be a marketing exercise
involving conflicts of interest at the local level, and an exercise in empire building at the international. We also need authentic
reviews by knowledgeable tourists, but also to give the opportunity to people who toil for ecotourism - accommodation & tour
providers - to be given a fair chance to respond. We also need laws, local, national, international. A clear, level-playing field for
I am fed up with self-congratulatory announcements about the importance of Tourism with a "billion tourists" (inflated 3 times
by frequent
travellers travelling business class, in
fact a tiny share of the world's population), which "employs millions"
(frequently with abysmal working conditions), and with incredible (invisible?) peace-building abilities, when the evidence is
thin, and when the tourism status quo is invariably silent tourism infrastructure is destroyed during conflicts, when brutal
dictators and mafias invest in Tourism, when ecotourism practitioners disappear, or when tourism becomes a cover for
intelligence gathering before renewed conflict.
I am fed up with international tourism bodies eulogising tourism while at the same time pleading, begging, instructing "the
Media" what to say and what not to say. Media should report whatever they wish, and hopefully scrutinize powerful tourism
interests as well as the performance of those paid to govern tourism, be they in the public sector, the private sector or the ngo
sector. Media should neither 'educate' (Orwell) or 'be educated' (Orwell). On the other hand we should be aware of the
oligopolistic and concentrated control of mainstream media groups and their partiality and shady role in key issues. There is a
choice: prefer independent, internet media, local media, these Web 2.0 days potentially everyone of us!
Equally, we should be weary of endless reports produced by multilateral bodies, some overpriced, others dumped, others pulp
non-fiction, few authors bothering to look up what is already written, even fewer bothering to read it. We need local reports in
synch with local policy for RESULTS, not more models & hair-splitting, head-scratching theories. We need reports written in
the language of the people, and representing the interests of the people, not of the top brass! And I better not say too much about
the proliferation of green tourism events that invite speakers irrelevant or even hostile to the interests of ecological tourism, only
because they are part of some invisible merry-go-round, or just because they are well-oiled. Or how most events are used as a
rubber-stamp of old decisions, decisions that have usually less to do with promoting a cause, than slicing a pie.
ISSN 1108-8931
Year 8, Issue 93
COSTAS CHRIST: Economic and social
justice along with protecting nature are core
values that should be found in all ecotourism
In this issue: Ecotourism Awards Progress: p.3
Ecotourism Paper: Ecotourism in Himachal Pradesh p.13
ECOCLUB Monitor: Greek Fires, Trouble in Alonissos
National Marine Park  p.17
Eco & Member News Roundup: p.18
NIKKI ROSE: If we think tradition should be
offered to us for free, we are part of the serious
problem. The people we meet during our travels
are not obligated to treat us to a single peanut, let
alone a feast free of charge.”
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