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A dikdik, one of the smallest and most graceful antelopes.

Welcome to Eco Wild!

In this issue:

1. Local community issues
2. Did you know that...?

1. Local community issues.

I have spent the last two issues of Eco Wild discussing the definition and the Four R's of ecotourism. Now that we have a general idea of the ecotourism basics, we need to consider the code of conduct and appropriate behaviour for ecotourism operators. However, before we look at the code of conduct, let's step back and consider the possible impact ecotourism can have on small, local communities. While there are many benefits for small communities involved in ecotourism, if ecotourism is implemented without a managed plan, there are also drawbacks that must be considered. Once we understand the possible drawbacks to ecotourism in small communities, we can then work on the code of conduct with the positive and negative aspects of ecotourism in mind.

The stages mentioned below are from Carolyn Hill of the ecosourcenetwork.com. The team at ecosourcenetwork.com gives excellent feedback and information on ecotourism; unfortunately, they have had to close their business due to lack of interest and support. This reminds me how important it is to support initiatives like theirs, for the future of ecotourism!

While you read the Tourism Impact Stages below, I encourage you to think of your local area. Has a similar experience occurred in your area? If so, how could it have been prevented? If not, how can you ensure that the below scenario doesn't happen in the future?

Tourism Impact Stages

1. Tourists arrive for the first time
-They find hospitality and friendliness.
-They cause little offense and no money changes hands.

2. More tourists arrive
-Word of mouth spreads concerning the friendliness and hospitality of the locals.
-Tourists give sweets and pens to the local children.

3. Tourists arrive regularly
-Accommodation is built, food is supplied locally and children ask for sweets and pens.
-Tourist English and other international languages are learned and used.
-More natural energy resources are used to cook and provide lights and refrigeration for tourists.

4. Tourist arrivals increase
-Community becomes more dependent on tourist money; children ask for clothes, money, cassette tapes and are sometimes tempted by requests for sex from tourists.
-Energy demands increase, putting pressure on local forests. Sewage outfall can become a problem, as can litter and garbage disposal.
-Food and drinks are often imported to the area to satisfy the tourist needs.

5. Tourist arrivals increase rapidly
-Community members, including children and teenagers, become more aggressive in their dealings with tourists.
-Drug sales can become established with tourists. Prostitution and drug production can increase.
-Communities become more and more dependent on tourism.
-Culture and environment both start to suffer.

6. Travel operators and tourists start to look for new destinations that are less spoilt and thus export the problem to a new area where the cycle may start again.

I know this is cynical and sobering scenario, but it is sadly often the truth. However, if a proper ecotourism plan is created with input from all the stakeholders from the outset, this situation may be averted. I challenge you to take 5 minutes and think of new ways to avoid this scene. Please send me your feedback and ideas on how we can avoid these potential problems when writing the code of conduct for tour operators. I look forward to hearing from you!

2. Did you know that...?

....there are over 50 US university campuses, such as Harvard, MIT and Notre Dame, that have asked university graduates to sign the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility? This pledge commits the student to taking into account the social and environmental consequence of any job they consider, by screening potential employers for the company policy with regards to environmental impact, contribution to society and fair treatment of employees. Green is good and becoming a standard feature in US companies! How about your company?

....planetark.org is a funny, interesting and creative website offering environmental news, free information environmental packs and other eco news? Gotta love those Aussies!

....within the next 18 months in Britain, the switch to a fixed-rate internet pricing scheme is expected to allow one in two Brits to go online compared to the current ratio of one in five? They'll be just as savvy as the American internet users and expect to collect all their travel information online at any time. Are you ready for this next wave of internet users?

....wetlands are capable of maintaining water levels during a drought? Maybe we need more wetlands with these Kenyan power cuts!

I hope you enjoyed this week's issue as much as I enjoyed writing it; now I encourage you to take some action and go wild about East Africa, wildlife and ecotourism!

Thank you for your support!
Anne

Article ideas, quiz ideas, general feedback and other suggestions are always welcome! Please send them to: anne@eco-resorts.com.

If you would like to join the Eco Wild email eco forum discussion group, please send an email to: ecowild-subscribe@egroups.com. If you would prefer not to receive any more copies of the Eco Wild newsletters, please email anne@eco-resorts.com with "unsubscribe" in the subject line (sniff! !).

For permission to reprint this or any article from Eco Wild (formerly HMS corporate newsletter), please contact Anne Loehr at: anne@eco-resorts.com.

Copyright 2000 - All Rights Reserved Anne Loehr

Eco-Wild
Anne Loehr
Eco-resorts
P.O. Box 120
Watamu, Kenya

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