Founder Pamela Lanier is releasing her latest book entitled Sustainable Tourism: A Small Business Handbook for Success. The book provides a compact and thorough guide, presenting the principles for sustainable and responsible tourism business practices that protect natural resources and wildlife and contribute to the socioeconomic growth of local communities. The handbook also features helpful supplemental articles, written by a variety of experts on specific innovations and practices, including original case studies of exemplary ecolodges. While the book is addressed to ecotourism entrepreneurs (both current and aspiring), it is also suitable for teaching students in the fields of sustainable business, hospitality and tourism, and can be used in environmental studies. As such, the book is organized in convenient sections to facilitate use as a class text.
As I read through the extensive messaging from the travel press at this time of year, one thing stands out in my mind: that responsible travel, ecotourism, and agritourism are increasing in popularity every day. There is a convergence of ecotravel and luxe in places which were once solely back-packers’ havens. Years ago, who would have expected a luxury eco-inn in Newfoundland? But that is precisely what the Fogo Island Inn, designed by Ilse Crawford, has accomplished with flair with its artistic collaborations and a pervading sense of natural drama. Other good examples are the Pikaia Lodge, which is located on a large tortoise reserve in the Galapagos Islands, and Bale Mountain lodge in Central Ethiopia, which has an in-house naturalist to help guests understand the five distinct habitats which make up the park, home to rare animals like the black-maned lions.
On other fronts, established ecotourism pioneers like Inkaterra are reaching out to new endangered sites such as Cabo Blanco, a fishing village in Northern Peru, where they have opened a new hotel and are helping to revive the area’s marine life by working with the locals on sustainable fishing practices. Meanwhile, rising culinary superstar, Alex Atala, author of D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients, has shined a spotlight on sustainable farming efforts among the Amazonian peoples and helped launch the ATÁ Institute to further work with Amerindian leaders to protect the land and heritage of their people.
On the subject of farm-to-table and agritourism, I am excited about innovative sites like Eatwith (eatwith.com), which are enabling home cooks to invite out-of-towners into their private dining rooms. A couple of others are Feastly (USA) (eatfeastly.com), Traveling Spoon (Asia) (travelingspoon.com), and Bookalokal (International) (bookalokal.com). I feel this concept adds a new dimension to eating local; not only are guests partaking in a locally grown, locally prepared meal, but also within a local context beside residents. Other distinctive developments in the food realm include the Barlow in Sebastopol in California’s wine country. The Barlow, a former apple processing plant, is now a collection of local food producers, wine-makers, and artisans, the aggregate of which equals a unique learning experience.
On the viticulture front, the area of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy, Salamanca, Spain, and the Central Coast wineries of California with a special nod to Tolosa Vineyards have done a great deal to institute sustainable viticulture practices. Also, I am loving the delicious red blend from Pasa Robles’ Paperboy Wines. Their motto “eat, drink, and recycle” is apt as their green bottle separates a liner from its recycled paper container for easy and complete recycling. Alongside the wine production of California’s Central Coast, the experiential has flourished: yurts at Tree Bones Resort in Southern Big Sur, delicious dry-cured Baker’s Bacon “bacon the way it’s supposed to be”, and the rapidly emerging wine trail in the Santa Lucia Highlands. All form a tremendous eco-destination package, the jewel of which is the Monterey May Aquarium which is doing ground-breaking work in marine ecosystem preservation. In world-famed Napa and Sonoma, the Boisset family is tapping their vast European experience to introduce advanced biodynamic practices and an entire hands-on biodynamic learning experience at Raymond Vineyards in Napa.
The scope of conscientious travel has expanded and matured. Ethical Traveler’s 2013 list of the world’s best ethical destinations includes Latvia, Mauritius, Palau and Uruguay on the list for the second year running along with Costa Rica, a perennial winner. I am excited to note that amongst new additions are Samoa, Cape Verde, and Ghana, proving that there is a whole planet full of destinations which have awakened to mindful, sustainable travel.
Correlating with the continued growth and focus on tourism are developments in transportation infrastructures which pave the way, literally, for the trend to persist. An expanded international airport in Livingstone, Zambia, has great potential for boosting tourism in the surrounding area which includes the Victoria Falls. Wonderful news for nearby ecolodges like Tongabezi Lodge, located just upstream of the Falls.
I am predicting that all these innovators will soon become not only trend setters, but also thought leaders within the environmental travel community. As was clearly shown at the Tenth World Wilderness Congress and the 2012 World Conservation Congress which were attended by thousands of experts from the scientific, government, and NGO communities as well as environmentalists and travelers: virtually the whole planet has finally awakened to the fact that human presence is having an unprecedented negative impact on our home world. Tourism is one of the few areas that shine an independent and personal spotlight on these changes for the record-breaking number of people who traveled internationally in 2013.
With more than 800 million tourist trips a year, 200 million people employed in travel and a profit of nearly 7 trillion a year, it is evident that tourism can be a springboard for economic development in developing countries and should be viewed as a stimulus to alleviate poverty in these areas.
Although tourism provides enormous potential for growth in impoverished areas, irresponsible tourism can significantly damage the natural and cultural resources that make these areas so desirable to visit in the first place. Poorly planned and managed tourism attractions are unsustainable, harm the local community and destroy irreplaceable natural environments.
Examples where environmentally degraded conditions have inhibited tourism include beaches in the UK being closed as a result of radioactivity, air pollution levels in Mexico City discouraging travel to the area and algal blooms making water impenetrable and unattractive to tourists.
Given the negative impact that travel can have on the environment and nature, it is important for tourists to seek alternative and responsible styles of travel that reduce adverse effects on the ecosystem and encourage sustainability.
The recent growth of sensitivity to ecological issues and awareness of conservation has shifted the way people view travel and energized the rising industry known as eco-tourism. Eco-Tourism, as defined by ICUN, is “environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features – both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations.”
Therefore, eco-tourism effectively blends the preservation of natural resource and wildlife with the socio-cultural and economic impacts on the local community. This unique way of viewing travel supplies the tourist with a deeper understanding of the consequences of his or her actions, a feeling of connection to the destination and a sense of fulfillment for enabling communities to sustain themselves.
The benefits of responsible travel to the environment, the local community, the traveller and future generations of visitors is notable and should be considered an important platform for conservation education, promoting the understanding and appreciation of other cultures and raising funds to support protected areas.
With the principles of eco-tourism in mind, it is possible to examine and evaluate individual accommodations around the world for their level of eco-friendliness. There are three measures that a property should enact in order to be considered ‘green’: green initiatives, community involvement and eco-cultural opportunities. Green initiatives are the steps that the accommodation takes to reduce the adverse affects on the environment through applying energy-efficient technologies, reducing waste and pollution and using sustainable products.
Community involvement entails the social, cultural and economic effects that the property and visitors have on the local inhabitants. Not only should local culture, traditions and values always be respected during the building and management of a property, but there should also be a commitment to supporting and strengthening the local community.
Eco-Cultural opportunities are activities and experiences made available to visitors that allow them to discover and appreciate the beauty of the natural environment, wildlife and local culture. Arts and crafts, hiking, cooking classes and canoeing are only a few examples of activities that allow guests to delve into the destination and engage with the environment.
There is an increasing number of green travel destinations dedicated to reducing their impact on the local environment by implementing these measures. These groundbreaking properties “reduce their draw on energy and use renewable forms of power, they conserve water, and they reduce the amount of waste they create through re-using and recycling.”
Not only do they utilize green sources of energy and promote conservation, but many are also dedicated to important social policies that ensure the money your vacation will be infused into the local communities through purchasing local produce and employing local people. Policies such as these ensure that visitors and accommodations give something back to the people that live at the destination all year long.
It is too often forgotten that “we visit their bars and restaurants, their national parks and beaches, and so by staying at a locally run hotel, buying locally produced goods and shopping at local markets, we’re giving something back to these places we so love to visit.”
Reflecting on a very successful speaking series in 2012, I am drawn back to how thrilled I was to receive an invitation to attend the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, WA last July. Bryan Welch, publisher of Mother Earth News, the fastest growing magazine in North America and also the publisher of Utney Reader, has created a major resource for sustainability and a very fun experience. I have been a reader for many years, and felt truly honored to be part of this event.
Of course, there were some wonderful innkeepers in attendance. I say “of course” because innkeepers have taken center stage in both rehabbing historic properties and creating sustainable environments—a fact that I like to ballyhoo as much as possible. I had the pleasure of running into Lisa Kivirist and John Ivenko, innkeepers at the Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B in Brownstown, WI, one of the greenest inns I know.
Lloyd Kahn made a wonderful presentation on hand-built shelters and I had the pleasure of lunching with Ed Begley Jr. He presented on “Live Simply So that Others Can Simply Live.” It was empowering, humorous and received a standing ovation.
Ed was very encouraging to me about my latest projects in sustainable tourism, and said “deep green eco-lodging experiences can be a wonderful educational tool for the public.” What a fulfilling comment to hear – especially because I have admired Ed’s work for a long time.
Find out more about the upcoming events at MotherEarthNewsFair.com
As January unfolds, I am excited to continue working with a fine team of hardworking interns for further progress in 2013!
During the same busy week, the second annual National Heirloom Exhibition, the World’s Pure Food Fair came to Santa Rosa. Held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, over 10,000 people attended this spectacular exhibition! This “not-for-profit” event attracted interest among home growers, chefs, farmers, school groups, the national media, and the general public, where all funds generated above the costs go to school gardens and other food programs. It was such a privilege to take part in this event and I was amazed with the display of passion and true dedication. The picture from the main exhibition hall exemplifies the creativity of the folks involved. And the one hundred speakers and over two hundred vendors were outstanding and brilliant.
I especially enjoyed my neighbor Bob Cannard’s talk. Bob has been farming sustainably for over 30 years. In 1972, he started the Sonoma Mission Gardens Nursery, which is still a favorite of locals. Bob has also taught horticulture at the Santa Rosa Junior College. He is a keynote speaker at industry gatherings and an Acres USA honoree. His talk at the Heirloom Exhibition inspired the entire crowd, creating a desire in everyone to go out and become a new age farmer.
Carlo Patrini also spoke at the exhibition and I feel that his quote really speaks to the importance and centrality of issues regarding agriculture today and the relationship between man and earth in regards to food. Carlo stated, “Agriculture isn’t just another sector of industry like iron and steel, say, but something much more complex than that. In reality, it is the fruit of a holistic vision that takes in ‘sacredness’ of food, respect for the environment, sociality, conviviality, and culture.”
It was thrilling to see a score of both new and old heirloom seed companies represented, with special thanks to Paul Wallace, convener and founder of the Petaluma Seed Bank. Seed company representatives shared their rich knowledge through workshops over the course of the weekend. I attended a few of the talks and learned some helpful tips, such as six tips for saving seed. These six tips are 1) know your seed, 2) save information, not just seed, 3) watch for cross-pollination, 4) consider plant populations – numbers count, 5) choose ideal plants for ideal seed, and 6) make it last. To learn more about the history and benefits of seed programs, visit www.seedmatters.org.
In addition to the fabulous speakers and intriguing workshops presented by the various seed companies, the different vendors provided valuable information regarding methods and resources for furthering the “pure food” and local food movement. Tara Firma Farms really stood out and appears to be making a difference through their motto of providing healthy food, healing the land, growing young farms, and having a lot of fun! For more information on Tara Firma Farms visit their website at www.tarafirmafarms.com.
I also really enjoyed Demeter’s Biodynamic Garden and Lounge, an interactive and experiential Biodynamic® showcase featuring engaging gardens, educational classes, photography exhibits and much more! It reinforced the importance of Biodynamic® farming and gardening, which integrates an organic approach with all the rest of nature’s terrestrial and celestial energies, viewing the garden and farm as a self-contained, self-sustaining, living being. To learn more about Demeter’s Biodynamic Gardening, go to www.demeter-usa.org. The two films, Dirt! The Movie and the iconic Food Inc. exposed insightful facts concerning our natural resources, economy, and nation’s food industry. I feel these are must see films for anyone interested in creating a more sustainable future for our society. In all, the entire event, from its educational aspects to its contests and exhibit highlights, was truly outstanding and made a lasting impression. To find out more, contact TheHeirloomExpo.com.
The post National Heirloom Exhibition, the Worlds Pure Food Fair appeared first on EcoGo.org.
I was delighted to be able to take part in Slow Food’s fresh food picnic, a celebration of emerging culinary talent, featuring Slow Food’s talented founder Carlo Petrini, Alice Waters, and Nikki Henderson. The afternoon event was held at the lovely Rancho Mark West, where our hosts, Jim and Betty Doerksen, were kind enough to show us around. Jim even shared with us his iconic 1907 Ford pick-up truck, which he has owned since high school. This personal touch and experience added to the rich and community oriented feel of the event.
After checking in, we strolled up to the pond, which was beautifully decorated by food and wine tents all around its rim. Within these tents, local agriculturalists showcased their finest; their products exemplifying the core essence of Slow Food. The entire event, from its local community feel, to its hearty and delicious menu, allowed us to experience what Slow Food calls rediscovering the rich varieties and aromas of local cuisine. The following is the menu of dishes presented at the event:
Shelling and pole bean salad with nepitella and charred tomatoes
Pickled summer veggies
Pork terrine with mixture of summer squash
Smoked chicken with kimchee soy dipping sauce
English muffin patty melt with caramelized onions, cheddar and swiss
Wild nettle cavatelli pasta with foraged mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, fine herbs and pecorino riserva di Calabria
Laloo goat’s milk ice cream
Straus organic ice cream
Dulce de leche brownies
In addition to enjoying good food and drink, we heard a talk about the new documentary film Ground Operations. This film promoted the idea that America needs a million new farmers and that veterans want the job! There were a variety of vendors at the event, including Claypool Cellars, home of Pachyderm brand fine wines. SolSolutions, who powered the stage and the excellent display of bands with their trailer mounted Tower of Power, ensured a remarkable show which added to the overall memorable atmosphere. The selection of bands included Dry Creek Trio, Cahoots and Con Brio.
Later, Alice Waters and I had a chance to relax, chat and catch up over a glass of wonderful La Jota Vineyards 2004 Howell Mountain Cabernet. I also enjoyed talking to Adam Davioff of New Family Farms, where they are repowering horse powered produce in Sebastopol. Carlo soon took the microphone and reminded us all of our purpose for gathering and our mission in this new day and age. He reinforced the impeding significance of the “Slow Food Manifesto” and its importance for a sustainable future where every person, regardless of culture, age, social class, and social location, can share this glorious Creation. Carlo’s discussion summarized and brought home the overall mission and vision of Slow Food.
Slow Food is an idea, a way of living, a way of eating and organization. It is part of a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members in over 150 countries, which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. Slow Food is guided by three values:
Good: this means enjoying delicious food created with care from healthy plants and animals. The pleasures of good food can also help to build community and celebrate culture and regional diversity.
Clean: this means nutritious food that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies. It is grown and harvested with methods that have a positive impact on our local ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.
Fair: this means food must be accessible to all, regardless of income and produced by people who are treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labor.
For more information concerning Slow Food, please visit www.slowfood.com.
Carlo Patrini will of course be attending and participating in the Feeding the Plant 2012 Slow Food International Congress Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto, which will be held in Italy on October 25-29. This would be a wonderful and intriguing event to attend if you have found Slow Food inspiring. In general, this entire Slow Food event was a huge success and reinforced the core values and goals of Slow Food.
I recently returned from the World Conservation Congress (hosted by the IUCN) in Jeju, South Korea after making two major presentations on Eco Travel and Sustainable Tourism. These talks were very well received and the Congress at large was successful in putting nature back to center stage as the solution to solving a growing list of economic and social issues. As Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN, stated, the Congress “demonstrated how nature-based solutions, as expressed in the Congress slogan “Nature+”, help us address many of our most pressing challenges.”
People, communities, governments and businesses are underutilizing the potential of nature and the solutions it provides – one of those certainly being eco-tourism. With over 10,000 participants and 5,000 conservation experts from 153 countries, the World Conservation Congress served as a platform for me to show how valuing and conserving nature can achieve a more prosperous and harmonious society. As economic difficulties continue to dominate international debate and the demand for sustainable tourism continues to grow, my presentations focused on best practices to develop eco-travel destinations in fragile areas, creating income opportunities for local people and preserving natural resources and heritage. With the help of a team of very adept interns, I led a group of educators, scientists, ecologically conscious business minds, government envoys, and many others in developing a guideline of necessary steps to ensure the smallest ecological footprint while providing eco-tourists with a comfortable atmosphere to learn about and partake in the local conservation efforts. We are especially pleased to welcome into this discussion the new IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng, who is a devoted advocate for environmental protection and sustainable development.
My participation in the World Conservation Conference was in honor of Maxine McCloskey, environmentalist, whale saver and wife of Michael McCloskey, Sierra Club.
The post World Conservation Congress – A Big Win for Nature + appeared first on EcoGo.org.
ECOLODGE DEVELOPMENT AROUND THE WORLD: THE NEED FOR TRUE SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE IN ECOTOURISM
by Arq. Hector Ceballos-Lascurain,
International Consultant in Environmental Architecture,
Ecotourism and Regional Planning
Director General PICE
Special Advisor on Ecotourism to IUCN
Av. Constituyentes 1076 Euc 602
Col. Lomas Altas, Del. Miguel Hidalgo
11950 México, DF, MEXICO
Tel: (52) (55) 5676 8734; Fax: (52) (55) 5676 5285; Cel.: (52)(55) 2272 7795
Web site: http://www.ceballos-lascurain.com
1. INTRODUCTION. ECOTOURISM DEVELOPMENT AROUND THE WORLD
At the beginning of this new millennium, ecotourism is not merely a buzzword. It is something real happening around the world. Ecotourism is starting to provide tangible benefits for a variety of countries, both developed and developing.
It is a well-known fact that tourism has now become the world’s most important economic activity, representing annually a US$ 4 trillion activity. The travel and tourism industry employs 212 million workers (one in 9 workers worldwide). According to results released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals totaled 983 million in 2011, an all-time record, and for 2012 the figure is expected to exceed one billion (WTO, 2012).
The segment of tourism undergoing the fastest growth is nature-based tourism, which includes ecotourism. Nature-based tourism has been estimated to account for between 15 and 20 percent of all international travel expenditures, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), and that figure seems to be increasing rapidly (WTTC, 2008). It is quite clear that unless this growth receives careful and professional guidance, serious negative consequences – some of which may have terminal effects – could occur.
Ecotourism, as defined by IUCN – The International Union for the Conservation of Nature -, is “environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy, study and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features – both past and present), that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations” (Ceballos-Lascurain, 1996). In other words, ecotourism denotes nature tourism with a normative element.
Only a few years ago, the word “ecotourism” didn’t exist, let alone the principles it now embodies. It is only recently that ecotourism has emerged as a feasible option for both conserving the natural and cultural heritage of nations and regions and contributing to sustainable development.
Natural areas, and especially legally protected areas, their landscape, wildlife and flora – together with any existing cultural features – constitute major attractions for the peoples of the countries in which they are found and for tourists around the world.
These last several years have witnessed a remarkable upsurge of ecotourism activities around the world. Governments of the most varied countries are showing heretofore-unknown interest in ecotourism, recognising its enormous capabilities for conserving the natural and cultural heritage of their nations and also its rich potential for ensuring sustainable development. Conservation NGOs around the planet are also embarking upon ecotourism projects, recognising in them an important ally. Ecotourism operators and professional membership organisations are sprouting everywhere. Local communities in remote localities, which until very recently had very little contact with “modern” civilisation, are now attracting ecotourists to their settlements in the jungle, the desert or the island (Ceballos-Lascurain, 2012).
Unfortunately, accurate statistics as regards ecotourism are still lacking. Institutions such as WTO and WTTC are urging both governments and private firms to generate trustworthy data in order to evaluate the true magnitude of ecotourism around the world. Some preliminary studies indicate that perhaps around 15 % of international tourism is ecotourism-oriented and that the annual rate of growth of this type of tourism is also around 15 % (compared to a 4 % growth rate for overall tourism in the 1990s (UNWTO, 2008).
International agencies such as the World Bank, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), UNESCO, WTO, the European Union, WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature), IUCN (The World Conservation Union), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Conservation International (CI), are all involved in promoting and developing studies and specific projects in different fields of ecotourism.
The Program of International Consultancy on Ecotourism (PICE), coordinated by the author, acting as Special Advisor to IUCN on Ecotourism, has carried out since 1990 consultancy work for governments, NGOs and private firms in many countries around the world, carrying out a number of national ecotourism strategies, local and regional ecotourism plans, as well as the design and construction of ecolodges and other physical facilities required for ecotourism.
But not everything about ecotourism is on the bright side. There are also serious problems. Since the term “ecotourism” has currently become very popular, being overused and misused in numerous instances, many pseudo-ecotour outfits are being set up, masquerading as “green operations”, but in reality only seeking a fast profit, engaging in no real environmental consciousness or co-responsibilities. In other cases, projects with the intention of being “ecotouristic” have failed because the training aspects were neglected, or the active involvement of the local communities was not achieved, or for a number of other reasons.
Also, tourist “mega-projects” continue rampant in many countries, especially in beach environments, with their well-known ravaging effects on the natural and cultural environment.
But genuine, well-planned ecotourism projects are definitely becoming more and more numerous and popular everywhere and hopefully they will establish new trends for the 21st century, in which all human activities will have to be of a sustainable nature.
The question is no longer if tourism may perform a role in the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of our planet, but rather what are the specific steps that need to be taken in different countries to carry out activities that will ensure an adequate symbiosis between tourism, conservation, and sustainable development.
2. SITE PLANNING
Site planning and design is a process that involves in an integrated way the issues of land use, human circulation, structures, facilities and utilities within the natural and human environment. In order to ensure harmony between tourism developments and environmental protection, it is indispensable to apply sensitive design of infrastructure, master site planning, ecologically and socially conscious site design, and landscaping.
Preserving the special characteristics of a tourism destination demands an in-depth understanding of the natural systems on the site, as well as an immersion into the time-tested cultural responses to that environment’s opportunities and constraints. If we want to change the way we build tourism facilities in environmentally-sensitive sites, we need a new way of thinking about site planning and design, which involves a holistic approach. Sustainable site planning and design can lead to a better integration of physical facilities for tourism and their site and surroundings and can indeed help to lessen the environmental impact of these facilities.
Site planning and design for any tourism facility must clearly indicate the process of ordering human actions and works in a specific tract of land. In addition to constituting a graphic representation (to scale) that shows location, layout, general size and shape, and orientation of the different elements of the project, site planning and design should indicate the sequence of activities that make up the project, clearly establishing a space-time interaction. Also, it should ensure that all on-site human activities should have a minimum negative impact on the natural and human environment (Ceballos-Lascuráin, 2010).
The site planning and design for any ecotourism facility must be, first of all, an instrument that safeguards the sustainability and conservation of the surrounding natural and cultural heritage. Not only should it conserve the natural ecosystems but it must also contribute to repairing and restoring the environmental damages that may already be present in the site. The development of the site should strive to leave the site better off after development than before.
Zoning is a very important tool in the site planning and design process. It is the process of applying different management objectives and regulations to different parts or zones of a specific area.
EXAMPLE OF AN ECOTOURISM MASTER PLAN IN A PROTECTED NATURAL AREAS: WADI EL GEMAL ON THE RED SEA COAST OF EGYPT. DESIGNER: HECTOR CEBALLOS-LASCURAIN.
The success of any tourism facility (including ecolodges, which are the appropriate facilities for ecotourism) often lies on the initial process of site evaluation and selection. Careful evaluation, in some instances, may reveal that the site is not appropriate for developing the facility. All considerations involved in selecting the most appropriate site will be essential in any forthcoming decisions dealing with design and construction.
Considering the increasing visitation to wilderness areas over the past decade and the resultant effects on the carrying capacities of the ecosystems, it would be prudent to select sites for developing ecotourism facilities that are situated just outside the nature preserves, although this is not always possible since some of the preserves are very large. As such, a well-conducted site evaluation can assist developers in finding alternatives to developing in protected areas. Selection of an appropriate site is critical for ensuring the sustainability and viability of an ecolodge. The selected site should support the lodge within natural and biophysical resource limits while offering ecotourists the opportunity to experience and enjoy the environment (Ceballos-Lascurain, 1996).
Frequently, in those sites which are more appropriate for ecolodge development there are limited or no infrastructural elements or public services, because of typical isolation and remoteness.
It is important to analyse how much infrastructure should be provided by the local authorities, and how much by the private sector. Since the extra service demand is often only used part of the year (seasonal), and takes precedence over use by local communities, tourism providers must invest in their own infrastructure needs. Both communities and tourism sector should benefit from infrastructure development.
In every case, the private sector has an enormous responsibility in sustainable hotel planning and design, appropriate scale of development, zoning and compliance to environmental regulations. It is essential to ensure that your site plan is environmentally-friendly, minimising negative impacts on the natural landscape, local biodiversity and any existing cultural features found nearby.
3. ECODESIGN OF ECOTOURISM FACILITIES
A new approach to architecture and physical facilities planning is needed, not only in tourism, but in all human activities, if we are really going to stop the irreversible damage to the environment, further pollution, and depletion of energy sources. This new approach should be based on the concept of ecodesign, which may be defined as “any form of design that minimises negative environmental impacts, by integrating itself into the surrounding ecosystem” (Ceballos-Lascurain, 2002).
Ecotourism facilities (including ecolodges), should be particularly designed in an environmentally-friendly way, since they are usually located in areas of great scenic beauty and ecological significance. Application of appropriate waste treatment methods and the use of alternative energy sources (especially in remote locations) are especially important items to be considered. Physical facilities should be technologically viable and adequate, and also socially acceptable and economically feasible. Joint ventures, communication and working with funding agencies can assist with addressing the expense of technologies. Physical planning and building (planning for expansion) should always be long term endeavours.
It is important to remember that economic benefits come from environmentally-friendly facilities and technologies.
A product of the ecotourism industry is packaged lodge accommodation in remote, natural areas. According to The International Ecotourism Society, “the term ecolodge is an industry label used to identify a nature-dependent tourist lodge that meets the philosophy of ecotourism” (Hawkins et al., 1996). In other words, an ecolodge is the accommodation preferred by ecotourists.
At a purist level an ecolodge will offer a tourist an educational and participatory experience, be developed and managed in an environmentally sensitive manner and protect its operating environment. An ecolodge is different from mainstream lodges, like fishing and ski lodges and luxury retreats. It is the philosophy of ecological sensitivity that must underlie, and ultimately define, each operation. It is this philosophy that the client is seeking both from the lodge operator and from government in their support of resource conservation.
It must be stressed that “the most important thing about an ecolodge is that the ecolodge is not the most important thing” (Ceballos-Lascuráin, 1997), i.e., it is the quality of the surrounding environment that most counts: the nearby natural and cultural attractions – and the way ecotourism circuits are set up, operated and marketed, also the way in which local populations are actively involved in the process.
The main reason for a tourist coming to an ecolodge is that it provides the opportunity of being in close contact with nature (in some cases, supplemented by interesting cultural elements).
The major distinction between an ecolodge and a traditional lodge is that in the latter the main attractions are of an artificial character, as well as the facilities and activities which take place there (golf, tennis, gymnasiums, water-jetting and water-skiing, windsurfing, swimming pools, etc.). Inversely, the main attractions of an ecolodge are its natural setting and nature-based activities, which allow for a better appreciation and enjoyment of the ecological environment. In the conventional resort-type lodge, much of the site is typically reconfigured (patios, terraces, lawns, garden compositions, sporting fields, water basins, swimming pools, etc.), the tourist’s experience being heavily controlled and programmed, reflecting the view that earth’s resources are for human use.
Ecolodges are often located in remote and wild areas, and therefore very few typical infrastructural elements and services found in more traditional settings are available, such as access by paved highway, public transportation services, electric and telephone lines, piped potable water, public drainage and sewage, refuse collection and disposal, nearby school and medical services, shopping areas, etc.
SIAN KA’AN ECOLODGE IN THE BIOSPHERE RESERVE OF SIAN KA’AN, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO. DESIGNER:HECTOR CEBALLOS-LASCURAIN.
For this reason, a totally new and different approach to physical planning is required, one based on a high level of functional, energy and food self-sufficiency. Before designing and building an ecolodge, realistically and clearly identify the specific characteristics of isolation and difficulty of access to infrastructural elements and public services and define beforehand the level of self-sufficiency you wish or need to attain.
It is always important to harmonise tourism facilities with the surrounding environment (both natural and cultural), using architectural forms in harmony with the natural landscape (vegetation and land forms), designing with long-term environmental criteria. An ecotourism facility should always possess a sense of place.
Some good examples of ecodesign of ecotourism facilities are the following:
1) Manu Lodge, located in the Peruvian Amazonian rainforest, is a rustic facility using local building materials (wood, palm leaves, bamboos), designed in such a way that it is practically hidden in the deep forest, its building height well below the tree line. Situated in Manu Biosphere Reserve, one of the areas of major biodiversity in the world (1,100 species of birds), the lodge attracts ecotourists from around the world (especially US bird watchers), who are willing to pay US$250 per night, without having such conventional amenities as electric light (kerosene lamps are used instead), air conditioning or jacuzzi.
2) Kapawi, an ecotourism/ecolodge project in a rain forest locality of the Amazonian region of Ecuador, with community-based participation (members of the Achuar nation), provides a model of environmentally-friendly design and also a model of how private capital investments can be integrated with local community goals, with minimum cultural and environmental impacts. Kapawi offers a model which avoids the integration/destruction paradox that faces most indigenous Amazonian groups (Rodríguez, 1999). Living in the remotest area of southeastern Ecuador, the Achuar community had practically no contact with westerners before the arrival of missionaries in the late 1960s. Even today western influence is minimal and the Achuar remain nearly self-sufficient in their territory, still able to obtain most of what they need from the forest. The traditional Achuar architecture represents an ancient knowledge of technologies and concepts that have evolved in order to fulfil the conditions imposed by the tropical rain forest. The structure is simple and harmonious with the environment.
The techniques used for the building of the Kapawi Ecolodge followed this traditional concept of architecture and was performed only by members of the Achuar community. Within this framework, a few foreign elements were added to the original Achuar design, such as individual rooms within each house, installing electrical systems powered by solar energy and bathrooms with sanitary installations that required non-traditional materials such as wires, cement, metallic mosquito netting, furniture, modern waste management, organic black water treatment, etc., yet without invalidating the traditional concept. The Kapawi Ecolodge was built on the edge of a lagoon, accommodating a maximum of seventy people, including guests and staff, this being not larger than a medium-size Achuar village. The Kapawi Ecolodge consists of 21 huts (double rooms), each room with private bathroom and a terrace facing the lagoon. By building the huts on stilts, less impact was caused to the surrounding vegetation. The complex includes kitchen, dining room, bar, reading room and boutique, various houses to accommodate staff, storage rooms for food, camping equipment and fuel, a workshop, two docks (one at the nearby river, another at the lake), and shelter for backup generators.
As regards water supply, a well provides sediment-free water. The water is pumped into five plastic reservoirs of 2,000 litres each, fed by the pump at a rate of 15 litres per minute. Submersible solar-powered pumps pressurise the system and distribute the water to the different parts of the ecolodge. The water is filtered in a carbon filter where a silver-nitrate element kills micro organisms. Sun showers provide 10 litres of warm water per passenger at the end of the day. Throughout the day there is unlimited cold water.
3. Simunye Zulu Natural Heritage Site, in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, is a tiny and as yet little known Zulu heartland getaway tucked away in the bend of a river, constituting a very interesting ecotourism experience, combining lodge and tribal village seemingly in holistic harmony. Simunye’s virtues lie not only in its unique physical facilities (which, although rustic, are of a very high architectural quality), but in its overall concept of ecotourism development and operation, which is conceived as an effective mechanism for sustainable development and integration of local communities.
Simunye is a joint effort between the local villagers and Barry Leitch, the “white Zulu”, who was born in this region, a descendant of a European religious preacher, and who has grown up according to Zulu cultural traits and speaks their language perfectly. The Simunye Ecolodge, using local materials and building traditions, was built about 500 m from the village. No pre-conceived architectural design was used; the local villagers started building according to their local customs and their own tastes. The results are extremely pleasant, with an attractive combination of riverbed stone, wood, bamboo and thatch. The adjoining cliff, with its huge boulders, has also been appropriately utilised as part of the architectural expression. The bathtubs inside the huts are carved out of the native rock and water is heated in pots and poured by hand by village women. Toilets have wooden flush levers and use anaerobic septic pits. There is a total of seven tourist huts, plus six others in the nearby village, with a total capacity of 24 tourists. Electricity is not available. In the public areas kerosene lamps and campfires are used at night. This atmosphere of rusticity seems to charm the foreign visitors who are in fact looking for this type of experiences.
4. Explorean Ecolodge in Kohunlich, Quintana Roo, Mexico, is located in the midst of the Mayan rainforest in southeastern Mexico, alongside the ruins of an important Maya ceremonial site. The architectural design is inspired on the vernacular practices of the region, using local building materials and forms, complemented by a number of ecotechniques. The facility is comprised of 38 bungalows and 2 cabanas. A number of ecotourism and adventure tourism activities are offered to its guests, including bird watching excursions, archaeological exploration, biking, rappel, kayaking in nearby streams and lake, and jungle trekking.
TWO EXAMPLES OF ECOLODGES IN LATIN AMERICA: Left: LAPA RIOS ECOLODGE, COSTA RICA. DESIGNER: DAVID L. ANDERSEN. Right: EXPLOREAN ECOLODGE IN KOHUNLICH, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO. DESIGNER: HECTOR CEBALLOS-LASCURAIN.
4. GREENING MASS TOURISM
It must be recognised that conventional mass tourism is still the mainstream of the tourism industry and it is quite probable that this situation will prevail for some time. For this reason it is vitally important to aim our attention on mass tourism, striving to apply measures to make it more environmentally friendly and minimising its negative impacts on biodiversity.
We should not consider only ecotourism linkages with biodiversity conservation, but also linkages of mass tourism, especially the effects of big hotels on the environment and how their design and operation can become more environmentally friendly. At a global scale, perhaps providing an important number of ecolodges is not going to make much of a difference – ultimately we have to affect the larger tourism industry. This means we have to consider how to improve the environmental record of very different items like big city hotels, mega-resorts, airlines, airports, big amusement and theme parks, golf courses, and sports stadia.
Again, the private sector has an enormous responsibility in providing environmentally-friendly hotel design, construction and operational methods.
Training to develop skills of hotel owners and operators to understand what sustainable tourism is and education about best practices are vital activities. There is a need to strengthen and to revise legislation so that this approach is well understood and widely disseminated. Environmental legislation should act as a motivation force, and also as a base for certification. Also, a widespread educational campaign so that tourists will be demanding environmentally-friendly hotels is urgently needed.
It is vital to disseminate codes of ethics for conventional tourists, which will serve as a tool for alleviation of negative impacts. The effects of negative impacts are frequently long term and not always obvious in the short term.
Saving water and energy by reducing the number of towels used in hotel rooms has become a cliché – but only because notices have made a difference in hotels around the world.
In analysing mass tourism impacts, both new tourism facilities and pre-existing tourism facilities must be considered. In the former case, the application of minimal environmental standards for siting of new tourism services and facilities is urgently required. In the latter case, methods for improving the operation, making it more environmentally-friendly, should be applied, through retro-fitting or adding new, more appropriate technologies. In every case, the benefits to the tourism sector (market demand, economics, effective management) must be persuasively demonstrated.
It is not a matter of sanctions and pressuring, rather encouraging the tourism sector to become more environmentally friendly (which will result in economic benefits for them). For example, water heating in many conventional hotels around the world is currently very inefficient and costly, so that wide use of alternative energy sources should be more than welcome by mainstream tourism operations. Also, many traditional beach destinations are experiencing a loss of repeat visitors because of water pollution, so that more environmentally-friendly practices are definitely in the interest of beach resort owners and operators.
Cruise ships cause enormous environmental damage. It is estimated that they discard many thousands of tons of untreated waste into the oceans of the world every day. Strict regulations have to be applied to this type of destructive tourism.
It is important to encourage linkages between all-inclusive resorts and local enterprises (e.g. local food suppliers, daily bazaar, local excursions, etc.), promoting symbiotic relationships between big hotels and smaller tourism suppliers, including small lodges. One should avoid isolation or enclaves and have tourists be in contact with the social and natural environment (when desired by the community).
Following are some good examples of environmentally-friendly measures taken by larger hotels in different parts of the world.
1) Kingfisher Bay Resort & Village is located in Fraser Island, Australia, a World Heritage site located 250 km north of Brisbane. The site encompasses 65 ha and includes a 152-room hotel, 75 self-contained villas, a 114-bed wilderness lodge, a day-visitor pavilion, the staff village, three restaurants and conference rooms for up to 300 people. Although due to its scale not an ecolodge, Kingfisher Bay was built to strict environmental guidelines with the aim of offering a modern resort to blend harmoniously with the island’s sensitive ecosystem. Before construction began, extensive environmental impact assessments were performed. Striving for a high level of environmental integration: roads and buildings were planned around the major trees to the greatest extent possible; colours reflect the surrounding vegetation; buildings are limited to two levels and are below the tree line; all timber used is from common, native species; the hotel centre complex is designed without air-conditioning; natural convention currents are created by windows and vents at the upper and lower levels of the building; impacts on the dunes and marshlands are minimised through the use of either hardwood boardwalks or wood chip walking tracks; the resort has an on-site sewage treatment plant. The design of the resort is estimated to save over 500,000 Kwh of energy each year, which is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 100 households.
Left: KINGFISHER BAY RESORT IN FRASER ISLAND, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA. DESIGNERS: TIM GUYMER, RALPH BAILEY, MARK FRENCH. Right: QUSEIR RESORT ON THE RED SEA COAST OF EGYPT. Designers: MUHAMMAD FATY, HÉCTOR CEBALLOS-LASCURAÍN.
2) Disney World in Florida, USA, recycles fifteen million litres of wastewater a day for irrigation of landscaping and golf courses. The company found that this method was not only environmentally wise, but also cost effective, as using municipally treated water would have been much more expensive.
3) At the Le Sport Resort in Saint Lucia, sewage was formerly treated at an outdated plant. In 2006 the resort created a series of wetlands, in the form of three interconnecting lagoons, that filter wastewater with aquatic plants and mesh. The filtered grey water is then disinfected further with ultra violet rays and used for irrigation on the resort’s grounds. Fish in the ponds control mosquito larvae and algae. In its first year of operation, the new treatment method saved four million litres of water and thousands of dollars.
4) Several big hotels in Canada have been applying a series of environmentally-friendly practices: the Skydome Hotel in Toronto, by placing recycling boxes for glass and cans in just 70 rooms, collected 58,000 cans and 12,000 bottles in a single year; at L’Hôtel in Toronto, old bed sheets are sewn into reusable laundry bags, to replace disposable plastic bags; at the Banff Springs Hotel, a recycling programme that includes bottles, cans, paper, hangers, kitchen grease and used motor oil has cut waste by more than 85 % (Sweeting et al, 1999). By protecting the environment, there are obvious benefits to biodiversity conservation.
5) The Pukhet Yacht Club in Thailand is a resort with a radically different approach to environmental management. The hotel’s environmental committee was convinced that environmental sustainability could only be achieved through programmes that: increase environmental awareness, stress the urgent need to act due to the present state of the environment, and develop the notion of ‘environmental stewardship’ – a positive and caring attitude towards the environment. The main focus is on changing people’s attitudes, starting with the Yacht Club staff and widening the range of influence to reach the neighbouring village communities. Waste water from the hotel goes through a treatment process using BIO-BAC which treats the water biologically. It is then used for watering the gardens. The Yacht Club estimates that per day it saves 70 m3 of water and US$70 in high season. By cards in the bathroom, guests are invited to save water and reuse towels, and it is estimated that laundry loads have been reduced by 25%.
6) The Seattle Westin Hotel overhauled its entire lighting system in 2003, changing incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and improving control mechanisms. As a result, the hotel has achieved a 66% reduction in guest room wattage with overall savings from the lighting system estimated at US$400,000 per year.
7) In Costa Rica, there have been some NGO initiatives where hotels donate to the biodiversity conservation cause, through schemes like “Adopt a Reserve” and also providing opportunities for donation from tourists.
8) The city of Banff in Canada voluntarily stopped more tourism facility development by clearly establishing physical boundaries of the town, strictly limiting the depletion of the water table, and specifying a maximum height for buildings.
9) In Australia, for the 2000 Olympic Games the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG’s) mission was “to deliver the most harmonious, athlete oriented, technically excellent and culturally enhancing Olympic Games of the modern era”. SOCOG used its best endeavours to set a new standard of environmental excellence for organising and staging a large sporting event. To this end, SOCOG was committed to strict environmental guidelines, guided by the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD). Environment was considered by the organisers as the “third pillar of Olympism”. Among the major environmental achievements were: the SOCOG Environment Programme was established in 1996, early enough to allow sufficient time for staff to be integrally involved in planning; carrying out of the Olympic Greenhouse Challenge, a major project to assess the greenhouse impact of the Games for minimising greenhouse gas emissions; a programme of environmental education (including a waste education plan) as a component of staff training; an environmental specification for sponsors, licensees and suppliers; an integrated waste management solution; packaging and foodware specification to control inputs into the waste stream; an Olympic Results Information Service (ORIS), an electronic system which reduced the huge amount of paper required to provide media with results; saving water and energy at all Olympic buildings and facilities; facilitating access of spectators through public transport, resulting in energy conservation and pollution and greenhouse gas avoidance; Olympic merchandise had minimal packaging and minimised the use of PVC.
Hopefully, in the not too distant future, all ecotourism activities and facilities will be generally carried out in a more environmentally-friendly way, which will contribute to the conservation of our planet’s natural and cultural heritage, including the valuable resources contained in national parks and other protected areas around the world.
Most important, the paradigms and models of ecotourism and ecolodge development will hopefully affect the way other types of more traditional tourism are carried out. All tourism – including mass tourism – will surely benefit from this trend, since travel and lodging should become more ecologically appropriate and every kind of tourist will be expecting – and demanding – a clean and less disturbed environment.
Ceballos-Lascurain, Hector. 1996. Tourism, Ecotourism and Protected Areas. IUCN. The International Unio for the Conservation of Nature. Gland, Switzerland.
Ceballos-Lascurain, Hector. 1997. Ecolodge guidelines for the Red Sea Coast of Egypt. Report to Winrock Organization. Washington, DC, USA.
Ceballos-Lascurain, Hector. 2001. Integrating Biodiversity into the Tourism Sector: Best Practice and Country Case Studies. Study for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/UNDP/GEF/BPSP). Nairobi, Kenya.
Ceballos-Lascurain, Hector. 2002. Architectural Design (Chapter 3) in International Ecolodge Guidelines The International Ecotourism Society, Burlington, Vermont, USA.
Ceballos-Lascurain, Hector. 2010. Avant-propos: Le développement de l’écotourisme dans le monde. En L’Ecotourisme visité para les Acteurs Territoriaux. Presses de l’Université du Québec. Québec, Canada.
Ceballos-Lascurain, Hector. 2012. Retos, Avances y Tendencias del Turismo de Naturaleza y Ecoturismo en Asia del Este y América Latina. Presentation at 3rd International Conference FEALAC on Nature Tourism and Ecotourism. August 23-24, 2012. Barranquilla, Colombia.
Hawkins, Donald E. et al. 1996. The Ecolodge Sourcebook. The International Ecotourism Society. North Bennington, Vermont, USA.
Sweeting, James, Aaron Bruner and Amy Rosenfeld. 1999. The Green Host Effect: An Integrated Approach to Tourism and Resort Development. Conservation International. Washington, DC, USA.
UNEP/IHRA. 1995. Environmental Action Pack for Hotels: Practical Steps to Benefit your Business and the Environment. The International Hotel Association. UNEP Industry and Environment Technical Report N° 31.
UNWTO. International Tourism to reach one billion in 2012. http://media.unwto.org/en/press-release/2012-01-16/international-tourism-reach-one-billion-2012
UNWTO. 2008. World Tourism Barometer. Madrid, Spain.
WTTC. 2008. Travel and Tourism Economic Impact. World Travel and Tourism Council. London, UK.
Nov 24 2012
Los Islas Encantados – The Enchanted Islands
Sign upon entering the airport in Ecudor: “Galapagos is peace, human history, and evolution. We hope it means the same to you.”
Los Islas Encartadas was discovered in 1535 by a Spanish ship blown off course while carrying the Bishop of Panama to Peru, but was never claimed for Spain. In 1832 Ecuador claimed Los Islas Encartadas and no one objected. Only one word describes Charles Darwin’s feat in turning these islands from worthless to priceless… magical…..
An archipelago of volcanic peaks separated from the mainland of South America by 600 miles of very deep cold water, primarily from the Antarctic.
Galapagos Are Unique
Stretching over 50,000 square miles, bisected by the equator, the islands are profoundly influenced by 3 marine currents – the Humboldt from the Arctic, the equatorial Cromwell, and the Panama. The swilling hot and cold temperatures give rise to a wild diversity of habitats and specially adapted creatures. This astounding ecosystem is home to over 3,000 kinds of plants and animals, approximately 20% endemic – found nowhere else in the world. Here penguins live side by side with manta rays and fur seals dart through vivid coral reefs.
Hotel Oro Verde
Hotel Oro Verde was our home while in the Galapagos, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. What is it about the scent of an elegant hotel in South America? The ineffable scent of tropical flowers….and ultra high end service. A superb rooftop pool and full service spa – a massage in a class by itself is not to be missed! http://www.oroverdehotels.com/
Located 2 degrees below the equator, Guayaquil consists of 2.5 million acres built on reclaimed mangrove. Teeming, passionate, polyglot Guayaquil is a hot and funky seaport. Be sure to walk the Malecon. Visit the museum and botanical garden, then eat at the food court at the far end. Deep fired sea bass is lovely! The Craft market has wonder things as well!
The Good Ship Eric
We cruised aboard the Good Ship Eric, which was built in 1990 in Guayaquil. This 67 foot ship weighs in a 237 tons and cruises at an average speed of seven knots. This trip comprised 424 miles during which we crossed the equator four times.
Ecoventura is committed to conserving the pristine Galapagos environment on which its business depends. The organization takes great care to minimize environmental impacts while maximizing visitor experiences with one of a kind species and landscapes for which the Galapagos is famous.
Ecoventura is a proud partner of the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund, which is admired jointly by World Wildlife Fund and Galapagos National Park Service. Ecoventura and WWF have partnered to conserve the Galapagos for generations to come.
Some of the many ways Ecoventura has equipped its fleet of 3 small ships, each woth 10 guest rooms:
To read my daily diary of my adventurous trip to the Galapagos Islands click this link to download the complete document in pdf format. >> To view all the wonderful photos of my trip click this link to my Flickr page. Enjoy!
I was thrilled to receive an invitation to attend the Mother Earth News Fair last month in Puyallup, WA. Bryan Welch, publisher of Mother Earth News, the fastest growing magazine in North America and also the publisher of Utney Reader, has created a major resource for sustainability and a very fun experience. Find out more about the upcoming events at MotherEarthNewsFair.com
Of course, there were some wonderful innkeepers in attendance. I say “of course” because innkeepers have taken center stage in both rehabbing historic properties and creating sustainable environments—a fact that I like to ballyhoo as much as possible. I had the pleasure of running into Lisa Kivirist and John Ivenko, innkeepers at the Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B in Brownstown, WI, one of the greenest inns I know.
Lloyd Conn made a wonderful presentation on hand-built shelters and I had the pleasure of lunching with Ed Begley Jr. He presented on “Live Simply So that Others Can Simply Live.” It was empowering, humorous and received a standing ovation.
Ed was very encouraging to me about my new projects in sustainable tourism, and said “deep green eco-lodging experiences can be a wonderful educational tool for the public.” This was a thrill because I have admired Ed’s work for a long time. I am excited to be working this summer intensively on the two presentations I will be making at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea this September. The topic is Best Practices for Developing Successful Eco-Tourism Destinations, and will be presented to a group of international scientists, environmentalists, government park and open space managers from around the world. This is challenging! Fortunately, I have a lot of friends in the industry, including of Stanley Sellengut, a pioneer in eco-tourism and founder of Maho Bay Resorts, who was kind enough to keynote at our Bed and Breakfast Fair for Fun and Profit at the Javitt’s Center in New York City. Stanley is making a video introduction for the Jeju conference. I am also liaising with Diane Edwards of the Wild Iris Inn in Portland, ME, who has also spoken at our Bed and Breakfast Fair for Fun and Profit. She also authored a wonderful article on greening your inn for our Bed and Breakfast Chronicle. I am very thankful for the helpful insight and support in putting together these presentations. What an honor to have these two proposals selected out of over 600 submissions!
Later in the fall, I will be keynoting at the Manitoba Bed and Breakfast Lodging Conference on the topics of Putting Heads in Rural Beds and Marketing Your Passion. I always enjoy speaking in Canada, a country I love, and one in which the tradition of bed and breakfast hospitality enjoys a central place in the overall lodging scheme. This has resulted in Canadian B&B owners having incredible marketing expertise and presenting the concept of B&B travel in a very organic way. I look forward to a an interactive and rich discussion on the topic of marketing, particularly as this adds another leg to my Western and Mid-Western speaking tour: Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Michigan, and now Manitoba. It is really helpful in deepening my understanding of how geography and culture impact the tourism dynamic.
All of these wonderful opportunities to speak and learn outside of my home country of USA is helping me develop the stronger perspective on the diverse challenges that face small properties owners and how we can help. For more information about the World Conservation Congress, please click here.
I hope you all are having a beautiful and highly successful early summer.