Category: Sustainable tourism

Cultural tourism bigger than believed

A new study that is the first of its kind confirms that cultural and heritage tourism is “huge — and bigger than many people thought in terms of economic impact. The study shows that 78 percent of all US leisure travelers (118.3 million adults) participate in cultural and/or heritage activities while traveling.

Lunch as an experience

Lunch provided by OnePlanet catering

Usually lunches that are provided at a meeting are same old, same old: some sandwiches wrapped in plastic, or with some luck a salad. Certainly nothing to remember, or write about. Enter Oneplanet catering. These guys deliver lunches in slick wooden boxes, which reveal fresh sandwiches, a salad, and desert, all made from fresh and local ingredients. And note the real cutlery and napkin, and especially the little turtles for salt and pepper.

Now this is a lunch to remember. Highly recommended.

Lunch provided by OnePlanet catering

National Geographic Traveler Magazine Stay list for 2009

National Geographic Traveler Magazine published its second annual stay list. Thirteen Canadian properties made the list, and Clayoquot Resort in BC got the front cover of the survey.

Tourism Café

Three experiential tourism consultants recently launched a new blog about experiential tourism in Canada: the Tourism Café. It’s well worth keeping an eye on.

GMIST Sustainable Tourism gathering

I recently attended the first GMIST sustainable tourism gathering in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland. It was a great conference; our CTC News has a nice little write-up on it. I am currently taking in a few of the sessions of the TIES Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference here in Vancouver. Also some great speakers, and excellent networking opportunities.

TripAdvisor’s good causes

TripAdvisor has pledged to donate $1 million to five great causes. You vote for a cause, and they divvy up the money according to the popularity of the cause. Great idea.

Now what is interesting is that so far the two relief agencies, Doctors without Borders and Save the Children, get about 35% of the votes each, The Nature Conservancy about 17%, and National Geographic and Conservation International only about 5-7% each.

You would think that among travellers the conservation organizations would score higher. But I guess that among mainstream travellers, humanitarian aid is still much more popular than sustainable tourism.

Go ahead and vote yourself.

Who owns paradise?

From a report on Travelmole:

The Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development (CESD) has announced the publication of the new edition of Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? by CESD Co-Director, Dr. Martha Honey.

First published in 1999, “Who Owns Paradise?” has been highly acclaimed as a comprehensive study of both the theory and practice of ecotourism.
In the new edition, Honey updates her original chapter-length case studies on Costa Rica, the Galapagos, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, and South Africa, and adds a fascinating new chapter – the first ever analysis of ecotourism in the United States.

Eco-success: Tatshenshini River

Earlier this year, National Geographic Adventure Magazine published a list of top-ten green destinations around the world. It includes Canada’s Tatshenshini River as one of five eco-successes world-wide.

I was living  right at the source of the Tatshenshini on Chilkat Pass when they were exploring at the Windy Craggy minesite; a DC3 with supplies would fly over my study area every single day for most of a year. Cancellation of the permit and creation of  Tatshenshini-Alsek park was a huge victory for conservation groups, creating the world’s largest protected area (together with Kluane in the Yukon, Wrangell-St. Elias in mainland Alaska, and Glacier Bay in SE Alaska).

Travel trends

Travel trends are continually changing, but here are some trends that are currently “hot”:

Staycations – don’t travel, but be a tourist in your own town, either based out of your own home, or staying in a local hotel.

Slow travel – take your time when travelling. Take a train, explore an area in depth, or take a relaxing trans-Atlantic cruise instead of that cramped trans-atlantic cattle-class flight.

Bespoke trips – really a fancy word for customized or individual trips. These are out-of-the ordinary trips for people who have done it all. See Butterfield and Robinson’s bespoke travel section.

Galcations and Mancations – Actually, the father and son fishing trips are no longer in, but apparently, holidaying with the guys is. And women-only travel (Galcations – remember, you saw the term here first!) is all the rage. See a good sample of gal-only getaways in PureCanada.

Responsible/sustainable tourism – tourism that takes into account the social and environmental preservation of an area, and is economically viable. The Trails, tales, and tunes festival in Norris Point NL is a good example of a sustainable tourism experience – taking both cultural and environmental conservation into account, and providing economic benefits to a small community outside of the regular tourist season.

Field to table tourism/locavores – local, fresh, organic foods, preferably harvested by the customer, and either cooked for you or, better yet, you learn to cook yourself from a master chef. Learn about the origins of your food, and appreciate the art of cooking with fresh ingredients. The Vancouver-based 100 mile diet sparked an entire revolution. Read about a great Canadian example – Good Earth cooking school.

Voluntourism – people no longer want to just fly and flop (fly to a resort and flop on the beach), they want to create meaningful holiday experiences. What better way than to volunteer somewhere while learning about a new culture? Earthwatch and i-to-i travel are among the best known. In Canada, go study whales in the Mingan archipelago.

Deep authenticity -  people have been demanding real, authenthic experiences for a while now, so the newest trend is deep authenticity. Go live like a local in a small village, and learn from the neighbours. CapeRace adventures in Newfoundland is a perfect example.

National Geographic’s Geotourism Challenge

Ashoka’s Changemakers and National Geographic and  have launched the first Geotourism challenge. The competition has received 320 entries (out of 456 nominations). Sadly, there are only twelve Canadian entries, of which four are actually in Canada. They are very worthwhile, though: Pioneer Farm in PEI (stay at a self-sufficient farm), The Muskwa-Kechika Conservation initiative in northern BC, the Evergreen  Brick Works in Toronto, and Chanterelle Country inn and cottages in Nova Scotia.

There were some interesting Canadian nominations as well (those are operators who were nominated, but did not choose to submit an entry). Check out the Mountain hostel, Delawana Inn, Sacred Rides, and Nipika Mountain Resort.