We hope you enjoyed the first post of the Weekly EcoBurma Round-up.
This week, we will discuss further the idea of Sustainable Tourism.
What values are associated with sustainable tourism and how can we make it worthwhile for local communities?
And more than ever, at a time when worldwide tourism is expanding, it is also crucial to look at how to stay clear of some pitfalls in tourism.
Sustainable tourism is said to be an essential link in the world’s “value chain”. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and its recent report on Towards a Sustainable Tourism Industry in Eastern Africa, the tourism industry must keep pace with economic and social development worldwide. But the challenges are twofold: highlighting the importance of cultural and environmental tourism and ensuring more social economic benefits for the local people through employment opportunities and a more significant involvement in entertainment and cultural services.
Regarding the first challenge, a very encouraging trend is emerging.
As conservation tourism is becoming more and more popular, a crucial question and matter of contention is how travelers can be certain of exactly where and how their money is being spent? SEE Turtles, a well-known wildlife conservation tourism project, decided to answer this questions by setting up a completely transparent pricing model that reveals the economic impact of conservation tourism dollars on environmental sustainability. It should be a model for others to follow but this is far from straightforward.
Mariette du Toit Helmbold of Cape Town Tourism said “We want a love affair with our visitors, not one night stands”. Another stimulating innovation could be a change in the attitude of tourists themselves, who are demanding better and more harmonious experiences, to ensure a real benefit for communities. The challenge will be to widely spread these benefits, not only to outside entities such as tour operators and organizations that globally provide services on the Internet.
However, the picture is not all bright, as reported by the traveler of Wandering Earl.com. Even if it concerns Bali and not Burma as such, he warns us against the worst excesses of tourism, when locals are forced into complicity with a very disrespectful and destructive form of tourism.
Last but not least, a beautiful and moving portrait of Yangon City, Myanmar and of the life of locals. Forget the Internet, forget your smartphones, forget your homes. Immerse yourself in a culture, a world apart.
You are warmly invited to Support Indigenous People’s Week and the Celebration of Indigenous Tourism on 6-9th August (One man’s ‘landscape’ of escape is another man’s home.), and, if you are from Burma, we would like to remind you of our EcoBurma writing contest. We are grateful to one more media outlet, The Myanmar Independent News Journal, for mentioning the contest. So start writing!
A new development that could have an impact on Burma’s tourism: China aims to attract 15.5 millions tourists to Burmese Border Area. China’s tourism always seems to work in huge dimensions.
And also on a more practical note: Myanmar plans to build a new second international airport for the commercial capital Yangon since “the present one will have reached its full capacity in terms of handling flights and passengers by the end of this year”. Thus, four more international airlines would open, in addition to the 14 already existing.
photo: by rossleetabak at Flickr