From my friend and TreeHugger Alex Pasternack comes an introduction to so-called ecotourism businesses in China, some of which are far from sustainable.
On a trip to the south of Yunnan province last year, in the sub-tropical Xishuangbanna region near Myanmar, friends and I eagerly undertook a trek only to discover that the path had become a large dusty road. Here we competed for space with large machinery preparing to pave the way, apparently, to eventually accommodate tourist buses. Our hopes of discovering wild China had been dashed by thousands of similar hopes. It was a quick lesson in the state of tourism in China, and it was a powerful one.
Read the entire post with a battery of good links at TreeHugger.
Plus, here’s a quick introduction to the principles of ecotourism, if you’re not familiar with the term:
According to the Quebec Declaration on Ecotourism, ecotourism
“embraces the principles of sustainable tourism… and the following principles which distinguish it from the wider concept of sustainable tourism:
- Contributes actively to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage,
- Includes local and indigenous communities in its planning, development and operation, contributing to their well-being,
- Interprets the natural and cultural heritage of the destination to visitor,
- Lends itself better to independent travellers, as well as to organized tours
for small size groups”.