Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference closes in Ecuador with announcement

132

Ecuador has long been regarded as a leader in green growth and now the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador; the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) have partnered to create standards for sustainability in the travel and tourism sector throughout Ecuador and has conferred it’s mark of “Recognition” that Ecuador’s sustainability standards adhere to the universal standards that the GSTC has developed for sustainability in travel and tourism.

The move was announced in Quito by Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism Sandra Naranjo during the International Ecotourism Society’s 10th annual Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Conference held this week in Quito. GSTC Chair of the Board Luigi Cabrini presented to Minister Naranjo a plaque celebrating the accomplishment.

This year’s conference was a resounding success with over 500 delegates from
30 countries participating. Educational sessions by noted speakers in the field focused on:

• Sustainable Destinations and Community Empowerment

• Biodiversity Conservation

• Ecotourism and sustainable tourism guidelines, certifications and development strategies.

WWF pointed out that ecotourism is the number one growing sector of travel and truly represents the future of tourism because “we will have to visit nature as a museum if we don’t take care of it now.”

Irene Lane of Greenloons presented the results of a study which highlighted the improved ROI
of Irish ecotourism participants on “the Wild Irish Way” when all economic factors were considered and not only direct operational side expenses.

Another presentation highlighted Namibia’s phenomenal economic and environmental resurgence – driven by community conservancies, which has resulted in 44% of the land in the country now being under conservation management and the populations of lions and zebra have surged.

On a lighter note delegates raved about the fantastic and healthy farm-to-table Ecuadorian cuisine presented by students from UDLA and the countries culinary academies and top chefs; the cocoa growers associations provided their 12 distinctly different chocolate bars for an extensive, interpretive tasting.

Napo Wildlife Center GM Giovanny Rivadeneira led a high altitude filled trip to observe wildlife – especially avian – in the Cayambe Coca National Park.

With the enactment of its 2008 Constitution, Ecuador became the first country in the world to solidify the Rights of Nature. Articles 10 and 71–74 of the Ecuadorian Constitution recognize the inalienable rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish, gives people the authority to petition on the behalf of ecosystems, and requires the government to remedy violations of these rights.

The 10th International Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference
concluded with the announcement that Botswana’s president, Ian Khama, and people will welcome next year’s conference.