I write this blog about ecotourism because I have a big interest in this topic and I do think it can make a difference. I want to share what I find/think interesting about it.
This blog is yours, please feel free to add any comment/suggestion/feedback or email me at guillaume.foutry (at) gmail.com

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Interested in Eco-Lifestyle? Try Ecoki

To bounce back on my previous post and to add more optimism, I would like to talk about a website I just discovered, Ecoki.

I find it quite interesting as it constitutes a one stop for all website regarding green topics: travel, design, food, health, fashion, etc. The website is very user friendly as it has a simple architecture (basically all the sections are on the bar). There is a limited number of writer at the moment but as they are looking for authors I guess this is to change quickly and more content is coming. Have a look and let me know what you think.

Ecotourism: the Scepticism Threat

Earth Hour March 28, 2009Image by sointula via Flickr

I know it might be hard at the moment to be optimistic with the current economic crisis, but I feel scepticism towards ecotourism and green policies generally is growing.

I could include myself into that as I have been very cynical towards the earth hour initiative. It aims to show politicians our commitment to protect the environment by switching off our lights for an hour from 8:30-9:30 pm (local time). Even if I have lots of respect for the people organizing this event, I just do not see the point of it. What's going to happen after this hour?? Are we all going back to our parties and keep polluting and being lazy, e.g. in recycling?? I know people need striking examples to be shaken, but honestly I prefer "the good old way" of lobbying combined to social media mobilization (but to be honest the earth hour mobilizes social media quite efficiently).

Beyond this initiative I have felt scepticism towards ecotourism becoming stronger (and sometimes for good reasons). With an article called "Can Ecotourism be more than illusion ?" , the Guatemalan Times points the fingers where it hurts: people flying thousands of miles to spend their vacation in a eco-lodge. Not really green. The website Ecotourism Caring for Mother Earth shows with the following video that ecotourism has been perverted as it is not precisely defined, which has enabled some people to call their project eco friendly whereas it does not respect the basic principles of the concept.

For Immediate Release.net goes further then that by asking the question "Can green be good for business?". I am not really a fan of Big Business, put if there is no economic incentive, no one will ever enter the green economy. If our good intentions were sufficient, we would live in a very different world.

However, as we only need one candle to fight the darkness, I have found some good reasons in all these article to keep hope. I could say that it is summarized in the article of the Eco-Club, "Ecotourism in Time of Crisis". As we are rethinking capitalism and what we want in terms of society, this is a unique opportunity to take new directions socially, politically, economicly and culturally speaking. And all these sectors could include a green component that would allow us to put sustainability at the core of our way of life. That might be long. That might be painful. But this is the only way.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Costa Rica and Ecotourism: the End of the Honeymoon?

A map of Costa RicaImage via Wikipedia

Recently I have found a couple of bad reviews/articles about the overall state of Ecotourism in Costa Rica. Even if the country is still ahead of many of its neighbours and other countries willing to adopt ecotourism for their tourism industry, several voices have expressed their disagreements/disappointment on the directions the country is following. The most striking post I have found is on Tico Times in a blog post named "Ecotourism, Corporate Greed and Development". You get the point.

There are two main questions in this post and they have been haunting ecotourism since its inception. Is tourism in itself a viable activity? How can we truly adopt ecotourism as an official policy when are our governments are obsessed by GDP growth and could be bribed(I mean every country look at the scandals in Spain)?

Well to answer the first question, I would say tourism is viable whatever its form is when you put some limits on it and have a long term vision. Unfortunately the second issues usually prevents government to have this long term vision. So how can we do something? Well we live in an internet era, which means information spreads fast and you can mobilize people easier than ever. We clearly have to monitor and review the choices made by our officials in terms of development and preservation as they rarely put their actions where their mouth are. As Margareth Mead said: "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has". So even if we are a small number of people, if we are determined to promote our eco-agenda and preserve as much as possible, we can do it. And to the sceptical one I would say "Yes, We Can".

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More Ecotourism Resources

What? Again?? I know I have loads of posts called "ecotourism resources", but this is one of the aims of this blog: give valuable resources to people. Promised next time I will work more on my title.

So today I advise you to have a look at the following websites as I am sure they will prove valuable to you. The first one is a list of the Top Ecotourism Websites. Unfortunately I am not in there, but I will work harder to get into the list for the next release.

I came across a website called Celsias and I have found it quite useful to find green information as their slogan is "all practical things to combat climat change". The website is pretty broad and if you are looking for green news/jobs/projects/whatever, you will add it to your Google reader or Netvibes.

The last one would be the place to go if you are looking for green volunteering places. Ecoteeer describes itself as "a unique volunteer opportunities agency - offering a directory of cheap volunteer work opportunities, volunteer jobs abroad and working holidays. Our volunteer opportunities are cheap because we have eliminated the middleman slashing the price to volunteer abroad for gapyears, careerbreaks and working holidays. Ecoteer is leading the way in a new type of volunteer work opportunities abroad and is changing the volunteer and working holiday industry back to what it used to be – benefiting both the volunteer and the volunteer project". What I really like about this website is they have a special section for ecotourism volunteering. So if you are craving for that, have a look!

If you have any good resources on ecotourism in mind I have not talked about on this blog, please let me know and I would be more than happy to had it to the list.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ecotourism in Bolivia

I just found this video of Ecotourism in Bolivia and I strongly advise you to have a look at it as it is ecotourism in action. Please also go to the website of the Mapajo community that is at the heart of this project.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ecotourism Becoming Global

An SVG map of China with Yunnan province highl...Image via Wikipedia

Ecotourism is about travelling whatever the distance is, I offer you to travel all around the world in this post.

First we head to China with Xin Tuo Ecotourism. If you would like to discover the Yunnan province, this website is for you. They will plunge you into the Naxi community and you will discover another part of this fascinating country. The compqny is owned by a local that speaks both English and Mandarin. You can follow them on Twitter and also on Facebook.

Now we heads towards Syria. I know that this country does not enjoy a good reputation, but in terms of historic spots, architectural wonders and culture Syria is a unique place. The website ecotourism Syria is a good point of entry to discover this unfortunately badly perceived country.

Our financial destination is Canada, more precisely the Ontario province. The Ontario Ecotourism Society has for mission to "provide support and promotion for the sustainable use of our natural and cultural tourism resources through education and responsible marketing of ecotourism in Ontario". So it is a good resource if you are looking for information on the maple leaf country.

So I hope you liked my worlwide trip and that you are using these websites to plan real trips.

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Back on the Ecotourism Track

Image representing Nile Guide as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase

I have been quite busy over the last few weeks and as I have more time now I just realized I have not posted anything for almost two weeks. Not really good. But for now I am back and I will put more efforts into my blog, starting now.

I would like to talk to you about Nile Guide, a trip planner.This website offers customized travels, tips for discovering places and other different advice on how to travel. According to what I defined as ecotourism (and please remember this is my personal definition of it), the website is not particularly ahead of the curvebut what got my attention was one of their posts on their blog:

"Wherever you’re going, managing your itinerary using some proximity-enabled planning tools can ensure that you spend less time in the car (or on the bus, the train, or the plane), and more time exploring or spending time with friends and family. This is one area that’s often overlooked when it comes to green travel — one of the best ways to limit your carbon footprint is to limit the amount of transport you need while you’re on your trip, not just when you traveling there and back. With sites like NileGuide, you can easily use distance-based filtering/sorting and maps to group nearby places together in your itinerary".

This is purely common sense that I have never thought of! If you know where you are going you obviously save times on transportation and reduce your carbon footprint. We live in such a technology driven world that sometimes we forget that simple ideas can really make a difference. Have a look at the website and let me know what you think.

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