Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, Second Edition: Who Owns Paradise?

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Island Press, Mar 5, 2013 - Nature - 568 pages
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Around the world, ecotourism has been hailed as a panacea: a way to fund conservation and scientific research, protect fragile ecosystems, benefit communities, promote development in poor countries, instill environmental awareness and a social conscience in the travel industry, satisfy and educate discriminating tourists, and, some claim, foster world peace. Although “green” travel is being aggressively marketed as a “win-win” solution for the Third World, the environment, the tourist, and the travel industry, the reality is far more complex, as Martha Honey reports in this extraordinarily enlightening book.

Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, originally published in 1998, was among the first books on the subject. For years it has defined the debate on ecotourism: Is it possible for developing nations to benefit economically from tourism while simultaneously helping to preserve pristine environments? This long-awaited second edition provides new answers to this vital question.

Ecotourism and Sustainable Development is the most comprehensive overview of worldwide ecotourism available today, showing how both the concept and the reality have evolved over more than twenty-five years. Here Honey revisits six nations she profiled in the first edition—the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, and South Africa—and adds a fascinating new chapter on the United States. She examines the growth of ecotourism within each country’s tourism strategy, its political system, and its changing economic policies. Her useful case studies highlight the economic and cultural impacts of expanding tourism on indigenous populations as well as on ecosystems.

Honey is not a “travel writer.” She is an award-winning journalist and reporter who lived in East Africa and Central America for nearly twenty years. Since writing the first edition of this book, she has led the International Ecotourism Society and founded a new center to lead the way to responsible ecotourism. Her experience and her expertise resonate throughout this beautifully written and highly informative book.

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Ask not who own it but what to do. See below. Cheers, Carol
Overview and Ideal Direction for the Masai Heartlands Intrepid Trip and Beyond
I recently returned from the fifteen day Intrepid trip ‘Masai Heartlands’. In international context this evaluation argues the protection of endangered African species is ideally treated as the first enterprise to raise the quality of life for all the children of the world, not only sick or poor ones. This is necessary for sustainable futures which all who have heard the word say we seek. At the current rate, for trade and population related reasons discussed later below, African wild animals, whether endangered species or not, are under major competitive onslaughts for trees, land and water, even from watchers and keepers. Help all, including Intrepid, by assisting more sustainable use of land and water and also pursue trade in this context. Call for and support open tree planting partnerships and try to ensure more wood and fresh water for people besides tourists. Explore solar energy, water tanks and related energy, water and waste management solutions in Kenyan tourist parks and beyond. Many related problems and reasons are addressed later, from some different perspectives. Mine are not mainly Australian.
Many press, academic, website and government reports discussed later show there are many competing uses for land, much of which has been made into desert or urban slums by cattle overgrazing, depletion of wood and water, overpopulation and related violent struggles. states the Kenya population was estimated at 38 million by the UN Population Fund in 2008. It is projected to grow to 65 million in 2050, an increase of 72%. Upwards of 75% of the population are described as working in agriculture, which accounts for 25% of gross domestic product. Agriculture apparently plays a ‘key role’ in the national economy despite the fact that upwards of 85% of Kenya is classified as arid or semi-arid, leaving arable land at a mere 15% of the total land area. It is not mere vagaries of weather that hold the country back. It makes sense to fix it.
As is demonstrated later, Kenya experiences a high risk of self-destruction related to conflicting concepts of appropriate land use, patronage and ownership, which have also been historically driven by more powerful feudal interests, which may or may not still have the upper hand today. The media is ideally the fourth estate, showing people and leaders as honestly as possible to help lead all forward before and after voting. In Kenya, newspapers form a crucial connective function for English-speaking Kenyan readers. This seems found almost nowhere else except the internet. Also build up TV and radio. One wonders how many are without them all. Democracy is not voting in Kenya, because the process of voting has demonstrably also increased violence against those communities who may only feel able to support the immediate community and its particular causes, which are often very ignorant and so destructive of self and of others.
Ideally East African tourism now restructures to cut costs and assist provision of a better life for all, openly in company with others. If Intrepid is not yet restructuring in East Africa, now seems a good time. Ask Bob Carr, new Australian Foreign Minister and former NSW Premier, then advisor to the Macquarie Bank, for some open, free advice. I gather the Intrepid Foundation is mixed up with Macquarie Bank, which is an outfit that in my almost complete ignorance I loathe as they were conning mug punters expensively on TV about their capacities every night for a year prior to the global crash in 2008. Top executives raked off obscene amounts even for bankers. Don’t start them up again, as Dambisa Moyo appears to be doing in her book ‘Dead Aid’ (2009). Dead people and dead investments seem a very high risk due to current forces discussed later.

About the author (2013)

Martha Honey is codirector of the Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development and editor of Ecotourism and Certification: Setting Standards in Practice (Island Press, 2002). Previously she worked as a freelance journalist in Latin America and Africa for The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Associated Press, ABC-TV, and the BBC. She has received numerous awards for her investigative journalism.

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