Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change

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Saturday, 8 September 2007

Tourism: a look from the inside

My neighbor in the plane works for a large tour operator. We talk about marketing biodiversity. Much to reflect on!

Profile of the client?
Over 80% of mainstream tourism is all inclusive package deals. This client does not want to hear the word environment or nature. He is not impressed by biodiversity loss. He wants sun and fun, e.g. heli or jet skiing. And there is always plenty of local supply. Americans want the same level of luxury and food as at home, even in an eco-lodge. Europeans feel they are now guests and want to taste another experience.

Entry points? 50-90% of the footprint is transport. It depends on the length of the flight. Each year holiday flights increase with 7%, while the improvements of flying increase only with 1,5%. CO2 compensation is only an excuse for real improvements. There is not enough space on earth to plant trees for all flights and after planting no control over the fate of the trees. The rest of the footprint is hotel and entertainment. Globally only1% of the hotels is certified. In Europe only there are 50 eco-labels. Attempts to come to a single global label have failed. In many countries there is no eco-label at all.

Ecotourism: the solution? Ecotourism often creates a new stream in the market that develops slowly out of control into mass tourism. Only when there is no tourism at all, you can start with eco-tourism. For the rest it is throwing good money to bad money. Ecotourism does not give a real return on investment. What you can do is to include responsible wildlife watching or a local day in the package tours.

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