INTERNATIONAL ECOTOURISM MONTHLY
Year 5, Issue 48, May 2003
CUM GRANO SALIS
CANADA: Aboriginal Tourism Team Canada (ATTC) released the key
findings from the first-ever national Aboriginal tourism study during
their National Aboriginal Tourism Conference at Winnipeg. Aboriginal
tourism businesses' total economic activity generated $4.9 billion in
2001, of which $2.9 billion resulted directly from tourist spending.
This is significantly higher than any previous estimates. The research
revealed that Aboriginal tourism still faces challenges in a number of
areas such as community capacity/ infrastructure, human resources,
product development, marketing and financing.
BRASIL: Pantanal is the world's biggest expanse of wetlands.
In late April, Brazil designated a significant portion of the enormous
Pantanal wetland, in Mato Grosso State as a Wetland of International
Importance. Established in 1998 as a reserve, the site is owned by
Servicio Nacional do Comercio (SESC), a non-profit organization
created by law and funded through an annual contribution from private
enterprises, with branches in every state in Brazil. As a reserva
particular de partimonio natural (RPPN), the reserve's legal status is
said to differ from a national park only in terms of ownership; the
owner could legally sell the area but, under the RPPN law, only if the
objective of nature protection would not be altered. The SESC
administers this private reserve, under the supervision of the
Brazilian Intitute for the Environment and Natural Renewable
Resources. SESC is responsible for implementing a management plan and
carrying out environmental education activities and non-intensive
ecotourism at the site. Meanwhile, the governor of Mato Grosso do Sul
state, Jose Osorio dos Santos, is reported to want to build a
thermoelectric plant, a steel mill, and a petrochemical complex to be
fueled by the gas and to turn Corumba, a sleepy colonial city of the
Pantanal into a hub of industry, dismissing concerns that such
development would endanger the Pantanal's delicate ecological balance.
Reinaldo Lourival, director of Conservation International's Pantanal
program, worries what the thermoelectric plant is "will generate
in the future with the installation of other industries". Shabib
Hany of the Corumba-based Organization for Citizenship, Culture and
Environment remarks that "because of the economic stagnation
here, any type of project generates a lot of expectation but too often
there is no plan behind it...that was the case with ecotourism and
that's the case with the thermoelectric plant."
UK: Ornithologists have found a 52-year-old Manx shearwater
which they say is Britain's oldest known bird. They believe the bird,
found on Bardsey Island off the Lleyn Peninsula, North Wales, will
have flown about five million miles in its lifetime. It was first
ringed in May 1957 when it was about six years old.
MALTA: Local environment group Nature Trust has called on
the authorities to block large-scale projects such as the Rabat golf
course and the Qala Creek development. The trust believes that the
authorities should "support sustainable ecotourism initiatives
rather than sacrificing more of the land to conventional tourism
CAPE VERDE: In a 500,000, 2-Year project, UN Volunteers (UNV)
and the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
will instruct Cape Verdean trainers on starting up pro-environment
small businesses that protect the fragile biodiversity of the islands,
including ecotourism, recycling and handicrafts.
MALAWI: A poacher has been jailed for seven years of hard
labour to send a strong message to illegal hunters targeting newly
introduced animals in the Nyika National Park. The park is the focus
of a joint Malawi/German ecotourism initiative that has reintroduced
animals to the park and reformed local agricultural practises to be
eco-friendly. The new ecotourism projects are in danger, however,
because of massive hunting of the new herds of zebra, antelope and
other animals. The park, in northern Malawi, shares a border with
Zambia and is particularly hard hit by cross-border poachers.
ZIMBABWE: A local NGO will soon start running training
courses in preparing and processing traditional foods to encourage
eco-tourism in the Zambezi Valley. The courses are meant to equip
communities with skills to establish restaurants that will serve local
cuisine in the Zambezi Valley area. The Zambezi Society is working
with communities in Binga, Guruve and Muzarabani to encourage
efficient and effective sustainable management of their
BOTSWANA: Botswana's Bukakhwe San Bushmen, have launched a
community-run ecotourism project built on preserving their traditional
values and protecting the region's declining wildlife. Working in
partnership with Conservation International and Wilderness Safaris,
the Bukakhwe Cultural Conservation Trust recently inaugurated the new
venture called Gudigwa Camp. The ecotourism venture is fully owned by
the Bukakhwe San Bushmen and all proceeds will be funneled back into
community development projects.
GHANA: The Atiwa Range Forest Reserve in the Eastern Region
could be developed into an ecotourism site because of its aesthetic
value, Mr Walter Atuoni Gyabaah, Eastern Regional Forest Manager,
said, speaking at a workshop at Kibi on a Draft Management Plan for
the Atiwa Forest Reserve under the auspices of the Ghana Wildlife
Society in collaboration with the Forestry Commission and sponsored by
the World Bank.
UGANDA: Following a petition by Nature Uganda, a local NGO
and a partner of BirdLife International the National Environment
Management Authority issued a restoration order to one of the four
flower farms on the shores of Lake Victoria, so that they destroy the
road they built in Lutembe Bay, an Important Bird Area (IBA) and
upcoming ecotourism destination.
SOUTH AFRICA: The decision by the South African National
Parks' (SANParks) to allow private concessions in S.A. National Parks
is being opposed by NGO Wildlife and Environment Society of South
Africa - Northern Areas (WESSA NAR.) as according to its Chairman,
Stuart Bartman, "concessions will cut up our national parks into
pieces and allocate these pieces of land to the private sector
businesses for their exclusive use for a minimum of a 20-year
LEBANON: Environment Minister Fares Boueiz said his ministry
urgently needs new advanced legislation that provides it with the role
of consultancy in environment issues and that "ecotourism cannot
be successful unless environment violations become punishable by
law". The environment had so far been the victim of “political
conflicts and narrow interests.
SAUDI ARABIA: Sewage and spear-fishing by mostly expatriates
are seriously damaging the reefs up to 40 km south of Jeddah,
according to Hagen Schmid, an internationally-renowned undersea
photographer who has been recording the reefs and their decline for
more than 25 years.
PAKISTAN: The provincial government of North West Frontier
Province (NWFP) has announced area of Lake Saiful Maluk as National
Park to protect this lake from further degradation. In relation to the
current state of tourism in the country, the head of the Pakistan
Ecotourism Society, Agha Iqrar Haroon, said the livelihood of
thousands of skilled workers dependent on mountaineering was at
serious risk. “The porters, the guides, drivers, hotel business have
badly suffered” while “continuing instability in Afghanistan and
ever present fears of a resurgence of hostilities between Pakistan and
India make a tourist-unfriendly atmosphere,” Mr Haroon said. On a
separate note, Ecotourism Society Pakistan (ESP) has announced an
Article competition for journalists with award amount of Rs. 5,000 on
"Role of Non-government and government organisation for the
development of Ecotourism in Pakistan during IYE 2002".
Journalists can submit their article before June 15, 2003 along letter
of organisation (from Editor of News paper) to ESP Article must be
3,000 words and in digital format. Free Lance journalists are also
welcome with a letter from Press Information department or Regional
Information department regarding their status as Freelance journalist.
INDIA: A much publicised ecotourism project at Iritti near
Kannur in Kerala State, received a major boost last week when the government announced
a financial package for the speedy development of the site. Small
cottages, pathways and camping facilities will be made available at
the wild life sanctuary. An eco-friendly park will also be set up at
Pazhassi Dam site. A rope way will connect the new park with the
already existing Mahatma Gandhi Park over the river. The state
government has given nod for four eco-tourism projects in the state.
Apart from the Iritti Tourism Project the remaining ones will be
coming up at Thenmala, Ranni and Paalaruvi.
INDIA: More than two decades after it was closed for human
activities, the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve was today reopened
partially for initiating ecotourism related work. However, no tourist
would be able to visit the area since infrastructure in the area has
to be developed, NDBR director Jyotsna Sittling told PTI. The NDBR was
closed for all human activities in 1982 following concern expressed by
environmentalists that the fragile region was getting polluted. When
asked as to when tourists would be allowed in the area, she said the
government's first priority was to build infrastructure along the nine
km-long trek and involve local villagers in eco-tourism-related
activities. A team of experts, which last year visited NDBR, housing
the famous Nanda Devi national park, had recommended that the area
should only be opened for eco-tourism and also the ban on
mountaineering should not be lifted, official sources said.
BRUNEI: According to Canadian expert Anne E Russon,
orangutan numbers are diminishing as a result of hunting pressure and
the deterioration of the species has unfortunately increased in recent
times. Great apes numbered approximately 315,000 at the beginning of
the 20th century. By 1997-1998, their numbers were estimated to be
22,000 and in the next 5 to 10 years orangutans will become extinct
unless current practices are curbed.
AUSTRALIA: Coles Bay in Tasmania has become the first
Australian town to ban plastic bags in all retail outlets. The tiny
community is at the gateway to the world-renown Freycinet National
Park and will instead offer shoppers reusable paper bags at 25 cents a
pop or sturdier calico bags for $2. Australian shoppers use a
staggering seven billion bags each year. Often ending up in oceans and
waterways, the bags spell potential death for marine creatures.
AUSTRALIA: Richard Branson announced that he is buying at a
A$5-million Makepeace island off the plush Sunshine Coast resort of
Noosa to turn it into an "ecotourism retreat". The 25-acre
island will have a main house, numerous camping sites, a training
centre and tree-house accommodation and will offer tennis courts,
nature walks and water sports.
HAWAII: A legislative proposal would set up funds to
maintain and improve access to Hawaii's trails in an attempt to
promote eco-tourism. The funds, from the visitor-paid transient
accommodations tax, would be deposited into a special land and
development fund for the Hawaii statewide trail and access program
administered under the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
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