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“Why sustainability is a myth”

Having read Geoffrey Lipman’s views on what he calls sustainable “travelism” I would like to add a point of view from the southern reaches of the Dark Continent, Africa, which may put into perspective some of the points Geoffrey raises.

Firstly, I have to say that I am a supporter in principle of sustainability, and of putting “green before growth,” but living and working in Africa, and traveling throughout its sub-Saharan expanses over the last 40 years has provided me with an altogether less Utopian outlook and one which may burst a few bubbles.

No matter how admirable the ethics of sustainable growth and development, and how cognizant the “west” has become of the need to adapt and evolve the way we live, work, and play to be less impactful on the planet on which we depend, the simple fact is that we are fighting a losing battle. Sustainability, in its present form at least, is a myth.

Turismo Sustentable

The brand of sustainability we are practicing is delaying a process rather than arresting it completely. Why? Lee el resto de esta entrada

A-Z of Responsible Travel

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Responsible Travel: TO photograph or NOT to photograph???

camara fotosAlmost every traveler carries a digital camera, iPhone, or some piece of equipment that allows them to take photos or video to share on Facebook, use for artistic projects, make photo/video montages on Youtube, or upload onto blogs that give travel advice to others. Taking photos and video can be a wonderful way to share your experiences, connect to others, and even get people excited to travel themselves.

While traveling, it’s important to discern what is appropriate to photograph so you don’t intrude on local people’s privacy or get yourself into trouble. Here are some guidelines for photographers abroad.

Ask First: This is the simplest way to figure out if a situation is appropriate or not. When you want to take a photograph of a random local, imagine if you were walking down the street in your hometown and random people started taking pictures of you without asking. For travelers to Thailand or India, some religious buildings allow photography while others don’t, but there isn’t always a sign that says so.

Be Careful While Photographing Government Buildings, Borders, Military Bases, or Police: In certain countries, there is paranoia that people photographing government buildings or military bases are spies or terrorists. We’ve run into this sentiment at the line of control in Kashmir and the Russian/Mongolian borders. With police, we’ve found that they are OK with being photographed if you ask, but won’t want you to photograph them while they are actually working. Don’t photograph a policeman while he’s taking a bribe (we know from experience that they don’t like that!). Lee el resto de esta entrada

What is ecotourism? Responsible Travel

In sports,  only as strong as your weakest player.  Similarly, when it comes to ecotourism, a destination is only as sustainable as its least eco-friendly attraction.  The attractions, accommodation, services, and infrastructure are all integral components to the overall sustainability of a destination, therefore the eco-success of a destination depends on the sustainability of its parts.  For those conscious travelers seeking an holistic experience of sustainability, there are a few key elements to be considered when evaluating the overall sustainability and ecotourism potential of a destination.

According to the definition and principles of ecotourism established by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in 1990, ecotourism is “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”

As such, when considering how to conduct sustainable development and participate in ecotourism, it is crucial to consider all aspects of this definition: economic, social, and environmental impacts. Following this, these are some ways to consider the elements of ecotourism on your next adventure.

Environmental Protection          

A destination’s care and concern for the protection of its natural environment is integral to thedestination’s sustainable and ecotourims practices success.  Often considered a cornerstone of sustainability, along with socio-cultural and economic factors, the environment is so easily impacted by human activity, especially due to high levels of tourist behavior.  Environmental concerns will be touched upon in most of the following sub-headings, and it is important to understand that a destination’s sustainability can be defined by its commitment to environmental protection.  The environment, however, is not the only mark of a sustainable and ecotourism destination, as will be discussed further below.

Local vs. Foreign Ownership

Foreign capital investment is, often times, an integral component of development when it comes to the tourism industry, as are foreign business consultants.  However, foreign ownership of properties, attractions, transportation, and services can be one of the most detrimental forces working against local communities seeking to benefit from tourism.  Often times foreign ownership causes economic leakage, which is when profits ‘leak’ out of the destination and back to the country of ownership.  This typically happens with resort properties and chain hotels, common destinations for tourists, so it is important for ecotourism travelers to understand the full impacts of their spending.  Not only do profits from the rooms go to benefit foreign entities, it is also very common for hotel accessories, amenities, food, and other products to be imported into the destination from the source country, meaning local farmers and producers have no opportunity to provide their produce to hotels.  This barrier between the locals and tourism industry is unfair and unsustainable, since it does not allow the local population to profit and benefit from a consumptive industry operating in their backyard.  When the local population is involved in the process, they are able to contribute to a ecotourism industry that is positively facilitating opportunities for local development through responsible tourism.

Local Communities and Tourism Development

The cornerstone of sustainable tourism is that it is able to enrich a promising future, economically, environmentally, and socially, for the local community. Often times we focus on environmental impacts, and economic forces, and forget that the social concerns are just as important. Lee el resto de esta entrada

Por un turismo responsable con los animales


Durante nuestros viajes, ¿por qué no practicamos turismo responsable con los animales?

A día de hoy, está cada vez más asimilado que los animales tienen el mismo derecho que las personas, de vivir en libertad sin perjuicio alguno a ellos y a su modo de vida, y en relación a esta primera afirmación nos tendríamos que preguntar: ¿Quién no ha realizado en alguna ocasión un paseo en camello? ¿Quién no ha presenciado un espectáculo con fieras, aves, caballos, perros, delfines…etc? ¿Es posible que nosotros, como viajeros responsables, podamos influir en la mejora de las condiciones de vida de los animales? Para responder a esta pregunta tenemos que ser consecuentes con las actitudes que debemos tener todos los agentes que intervenimos en el desarrollo de la actividad turística, nosotros los viajeros entre ellos, para conseguir minimizar las graves consecuencias que tienen sobre los animales determinadas actividades turísticas aparentemente inocentes y lúdicas.

Tenemos que ser los viajeros/turistas los que escojamos invertir nuestro dinero en atracciones sin crueldad, siendo responsables de asegurar que nuestras acciones no contribuyen al sufrimiento animal ante las graves consecuencias que tienen sobre los animales determinadas actividades turísticas aparentemente inocentes y lúdicas, ya que la mayoría de los profesionales y viajeros desconocen lo que implican las actividades con animales y su explotación en este sector.
Pingüinos en Chile En una primera fase resulta imprescindible sensibilizar e informar a las personas, sobre la necesidad de reducir y eliminar las posibles acciones que, en muchos casos por desconocimiento y de manera inconsciente, ejercen una actividad negativa sobre la vida de los animales. De tal manera que estas actitudes básicas y fundamentales van a ver trasladadas a la práctica y desarrollo de un turismo responsable y sostenible no solo con el medio, sino que también con las personas, la cultura, el patrimonio, el sistema económico,…etc.que tienen sobre los animales determinadas actividades turísticas, ya que la mayoría de los profesionales y viajeros desconocen lo que implican las actividades con animales y su explotación en este sector.

Resulta imprescindible, la asimilación sine qua non de ciertos comportamientos éticos y responsables respecto a los seres vivos que habitan este planeta llamado “Tierra”, para entender que durante el desarrollo de nuestras ansiadas y merecidas vacaciones y viajes, a veces, podemos provocar perjuicios graves en el estado de estos seres. En muchísimas ocasiones, detrás de algunas actividades en las que participan animales, se esconde el sufrimiento y el maltrato animal. Para tener una mayor información y anticiparnos a la participación inconsciente en aquellos espectáculos que provocan perjuicios sobre los animales y que tienen, en muchos casos, a la cultura como excusa para la crueldad, existen guías explicativas como la recientemente publicada por la Fundación para la Adopción y el Apadrinamiento De los Animales (FAADA) http://www.turismo-responsable.com/userfiles/file/dossier-turismo-responsable.pdf

Al respecto de nuestra conducta hacia los animales, no deja de ser menos importante la necesidad de observar a los animales en su hábitat natural, desde el respeto a este entorno y sin interferir en el desarrollo natural de sus comportamientos, de manera que determinadas actitudes y ansias, por parte de los viajeros, pueden tener consecuencias muy graves no solo para los animales, actitudes como la pretensión de acercarnos demasiado a los animales con el objeto de tocarlos, obtener la mejor fotografía sin tener en cuenta a distancia o el intento de ofrecerles comida pueden resultar muy peligrosas y llevar a ataques o a la transmisión de enfermedades. Lee el resto de esta entrada

Being responsible is the key to sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism is defined in the Brundtland Report of 1987 as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”1. It is fitting, then, that we look at sustainable tourism as a journey from then to the now, and beyond that into the future.

What is the difference, then, between sustainable and responsible tourism really? Sustainable tourism and responsible tourism have the same goal of sustainable development, but responsible tourism is regarded as a pathway towards sustainable tourism.

Responsible tourism is about making “better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit” – in that order. It is about using tourism rather than being used by it. It is about identifying the locally significant issues and acting to deal with them.

Over the past couple of years the phrase “sustainable and responsible tourism” has gained currency. But they are not the same thing. Responsible tourism is about taking action; it is about identifying the economic, social and environmental issues which matter locally and tackling them, bringing the stakeholders together to exercise responsibility.

Responsible tourism is a way of life and doing business. It is more than a form of tourism or a special project, as it represents an approach to engaging with tourism, be that as a tourist, a business, locals at a destination or any other tourism stakeholder. It emphasises that all stakeholders are responsible for the kind of tourism they develop or engage in. While different groups will see responsibility in different ways, the shared understanding is that responsible tourism should entail an improvement in tourism. Tourism should become “better” or more sustainable as a result of the responsible tourism approach.

So what does responsible tourism look like? Focusing in particular on businesses, according to the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism, it will have the following characteristics: Lee el resto de esta entrada

Programas de viaje para la conservación de la naturaleza por Grecia


  

 Agrotravel Turismo Responsable ofrece, a todos aquellos investigadores o personas interesadas en la investigación de la fauna y flora, 2 interesantes programas de viaje (fecha de salida 1 de Abril de 2013) para la conservación de la naturaleza por Grecia. Co-organizados junto a investigadores de la fauna, aprenderá sobre los diferentes métodos de investigación como el seguimiento por radio y los desafíos causados por la coexistencia de los seres humanos y los grandes carnívoros, además contará con un asesoramiento experto.

NATURALEZA EN ESTADO NATURAL EN EL NORTE DE GRECIA (5 DÍAS)

Buceo Solidario: Centros de Buceo de Economía Solidaria, Turismo Sostenible y Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo

Se ha creado el nuevo Seguro de Buceo Solidario que permite a los buceadores adquirir el seguro obligatorio de buceo internacional de la marca SCUBA MEDIC, con sus coberturas habituales. Además, y sin ningún coste adicional para el buceador asegurado, la compañía donará por cada seguro contratado un porcentaje para financiar las actividades de SoliDive. ¡Ahora puedes ser un buzo solidario y responsable con tu seguro de buceo! Contrata ya tu Seguro de Buceo Solidario y colabora -sin ningún coste adicional para ti-, con SoliDive.

Contacto: http://www.solidive.org/

Solidive es una asociación sin ánimo de lucro que tiene como finalidad contribuir al desarrollo y la mejora de la calidad de vida de las comunidades en países o zonas empobrecidas mediante la creación de centros de buceo de economía solidaria, la promoción del…
See on www.solidive.org

“Viajar de manera sostenible y responsable no es más caro, pero sí es más comprometido”

arkaia Ceres Ecotur realizó recientemente la siguiente entrevista con Ángeles Arroyo, propietaria del singular Agroturismo Arkaia. Ángeles nos explica algunos de los compromisos que tiene con el turismo responsable:

El Agroturismo Arkaia es un establecimiento con mucho encanto situado en la provincia de Álava-Araba (Euskadi), fruto de la rehabilitación minuciosa y laboriosa de un edificio original del siglo XIX, que ha conservado la arquitectura tradicional.

Productos gastronómicos locales y ecológicos, una filosofía impregnada de prácticas responsables para fomentar un turismo lo más sostenible posible, explotación agraria propia, huerto ecológico para autoconsumo, fomento de medios de transporte poco contaminantes, políticas activas para reducir la huella ecológica de sus clientes, todo tipo de medidas para promover la eficiencia energética y una correcta gestión de los recursos naturales…

¿Hace falta seguir? Por todo esto y mucho más, el Agroturismo Arkaia es una de las últimas incorporaciones al proyecto Ceres Ecotur, de turismo rural ecológico en España. Lee el resto de esta entrada