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Reflections on Ecotourism (4)

The Elephant in the Room.

An issue I want to return to at a later date (so why am I putting it right at the beginning of the post ? Good question !) is the incredible lack of ecotourism destinations / facilities / accommodations in what is generally referred to as the industrialised, or western world.

I attended the Reisepavillonalternative travel show in Stuttgart last January, with a wonderful ecotourism provider from Ireland. I spent ages trying to find a sustainable tourism place to stay near the venue (or even not so near). I could not find anything. So just for fun, I widened the search criteria out to cover the whole of the wonderful Black Forest region, all the way down to the Swiss border and Lake Constance (Bodensee). Nothing. So we stayed in a  multi-national hotel chain joint.

Anyway, we’ll return to that. If you can vouch for a worthwhile ecotourism place in Western Europe, send me the details. And no, don’t tell me just about a nice place that’s in the countryside. Stay genuine.

Anyway, the beast to which I allude above is today’s story.

Why is it that we talk so much about ecotourism (and let’s face it, there are more and more doing so) in far off places ?  There is no doubt that this is one of the major conundrums of ecotourism.

While ecotourism wants us to ‘go easy’ on resources, step up conservation efforts, help ‘local’ providers, like accommodation, food and guiding, nevertheless it invites us to jump on to multi-national owned aircraft and belch out more than our fair share of GHG into the atmosphere, all in the name of patronising a far off ecotourism venture. Maybe we should talk a bit more about local ‘local’ providers, rather than far flung ‘locals’ in Costa Rica, Ecuador, or wherever.

This is a big issue and, if anything, it allows green-washing to proliferate, since we (ecotourism folk) continue to turn a blind eye to this particularly large elephant in the room.

Posted in Ecotourism | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

One Response to Reflections on Ecotourism (4)

  • Guillaume Foutry said on January 31, 2009 at 15:01:

    I keep following your post on Reflections on Ecotourism and there is always good thoughts on it. I think it is the problem of ecotourism: it has been associated with too many far flung destinations whereas we have the same problems in Europe.


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