February 26, 2014

IUCN World Parks Congress

The IUCN World Parks Congress will be held in Sydney, Australia from 12-19 November 2014.
Going further: www.worldparkscongress.org

July 9, 2013

X Congress in Private Nature Reserves in Latin America

X Congress in Private Nature Reserves in Latin America, which will be held in Valdivia, southern Chile.
For more information: http://asiconservachile.cl/x-congreso-latino-ago-13.html (in spanish)

July 4, 2013

Sustainable Tourism as a Tool against Unsustainable Development

In current days, It is very well known that in this global world most of time the development is executed without taking into account land ordering, environmental variables, community thinking and goals, among others. One example of this problematic it has been happening for a few years in the Pehuenche Community called Camilo Conoequir Lloftunekul, located in Chile, Araucania Region, specifically in Curarrehue Village in Trancura Valley.
This location has lots of tourism attractions, been some of them, the beautiful landscape with volcanoes, Rivers, Forest, proximity to Argentina border (5km), cultural heritage led by Mapuche - Pehueche ethnicity, among others.
Since 2010, an hydroelectric company has been trying to install a plant for electricity production in a river named Anehuerraqui, which is an affluent of the great Trancura River, which is known around the world because of its excellent conditions to do adventure tourism activities as rafting and kayaking. Furthermore, the water that brings Anehuerraqui River is used by the community to irrigate plantations of different products, and also some families do subsistence farming.
As we can see, there is a confrontation of two kinds of developments or uses that are difficult to fusion. For one side, the hydroelectric plant is going to produce a big quantity of impacts which are going to affect directly tourism activities and daily life of families. On the other side, nowadays there is a pushful experiential tourism driven by the Pehuenche Community Camilo Conoequir Lloftunekul that is improving quality of life.
According to this scenario, there is a question that arises. Is it possible to fight against this crazy development using sustainable tourism as a tool? To answer this question (according to this case) it is necessary to understand what the community has been doing related to tourism development. A couple of years ago this community started establishing experiential tourism without knowing, and today they have an offer extremely interesting, including accommodations, restoration, kayaking, apiculture, guiding, among others.
Diagram 1: Tourism development in Trancura Valley – Community camilo Conoequir Lloftunekul.
Actually, some residents are kayaking and hiking guides, some families have opened their houses to receive tourists, offering them not only accommodations, but also native food. This offer is a truly experiential tourism, where clients can know Pehuenche culture from inside of a family.
In my point of view (and also tested by hundreds of studies), Tourism can help to affront unsustainable developments, creating new commercial activities that help to improve local economy. Furthermore, Sustainable Tourism can be used as a tool, because through this economical activity is possible to show that there is an economical growth, recovering of cultural heritage, and conservation and improvement of natural areas by community residents.
What to do in these kind of cases?. Well, it is a key that big companies take into account all the economical activities that are part of a territory, village, or community. Moreover, in the project development process communities should be ask since the beginning of the planning, in order to work together. This is the company, the community, and others actors (affected by projects), with the aim of improve quality of life. Truly sustainable development is not just giving some money to each resident or building a new school and some outdoors games and think the task is done, it is necessary to go further having as a goal the three sustainable pillars.

June 11, 2013

7th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destination

The 7th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destination takes place this year in Barcelona-Catalunya. The main event is on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th October, preceded by a full-day field trip to learn about the regeneration of L’Estartit on the Costa Brava on October 2nd.
For more information: www.rtd7.org

April 7, 2013

JP Le Moigne has joined The International Ecotourism Society.
For more information click here.

March 15, 2013

Sustainable Destination: Education and training.

In the challenge of getting sustainability in tourism destination there are different crossroads that give at this task a difficult character. Most of people that work helping at tourism to get more sustainable, know very well the three pillars of sustainability. But through the years working and traveling I‘ve realized that most of times when planners develop sustainability plans for destination and specifically community involvement, it is just taken into account the level of training, focusing in training to develop a specific task that allow people to work into tourism industry or others activities that help its functioning.
But, what about formal education?, In all my travels and specifically in my last visit to Brazil I could see that in small villages where tourism is developed most of time there is not secondary schools, and if students want to continue studying they have to leave their villages. Most of them don’t have enough money to do it or prefers working in the tourism industry. My second question is what will happen with those small villages if the world economy goes down, there is a natural catastrophe, a new disease appears, or a war starts, and tourists do not go anymore, or the number of arrivals goes down until 30 %?. Obviously we will have a terrible economy disaster, because most of people are trained in the different topics involving the tourism industry, but not in formal education because it was left beside.
This point is very tricky to resolve and should be bear into account when certifying a destination as sustainable. According to me this work has to be done by the public sector with the commitment and support of the private one.