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Peace Bridges
Peace Through
Peace Parks
Peace Pics
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Slave Route
WTO Projects

are the heart
of today's
Eco Scene ...
bringing prosperity and peace through tourism
by Jerry W. Bird


Khayelitsha Township, Cape Town
Cape Town Tour Guide Dan Dunn (right) helped make our final week in Cape Town one of the most memorable ever. Dan introduced us to Thope Lekau (above right) and started off a beautiful friendship. We enjoyed an overnight stay at Kopanong, a charming bed and breakfast which has been featured in a number of hospitality trade magazines in South Africa. Now we know the reason why. Contact Thope at Kopanong B&B, e-mail: . Contact Dan Dunn at Southern Tip Tours ( Follow Africa Travel Magazine's journeys in and around Cape Town, South Africa. (more to come)

.In recent years, we have been exposed to great ideas in the bud, and one of these is "Communities in Bloom," a program where the citizens of a village or inner city take it upon themselves to beautify their surroundings in a creative way. The result is not only making those areas more conducive for a pleasant lifestyle - it helps put many of them on the tourist map. That brings income and a whole new circle begins. We hope to introduce this program to communities across Africa via corporate sponsors. Fax (604) 681-6595, e-mail

Communities and Racial Integration
Our Editors covered the week long "
Metropolis Convention" in Vancouver Canada, which focused on cultural integration in the inner communities of large and medium sized cities. This year's event will be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands from November 26 to 30. The Metropolis Project creates opportunities for government decision-makers, researchers, and non-governmental agents to discuss policies and programs for integrating immigrants and minorities and for effectively managing the impact of immigration and diversity on city life.

Metropolis fosters exchanges that go beyond the stating of positions, beyond descriptions, and beyond advocacy. The Project provides unique opportunities for stakeholders who share a vision of improving society through collaboration and partnership to engage each other, to acknowledge problems openly, and to work, unfettered, to solve them.

Community Airports. Windows on the World
We have been flouting the merits of community airports since the early 90s, when we jumped into the fray of Open Skies. At the Globe '98 Conference, where several thousand highly charged individuals from 50 nations pooled their ideas, I saw more practical ideas for solving ecological problems than you'll read about in a decade. Hearing of our work with a network of air gateways as distribution points for our magazines, Globe's Dr. Rashmi Mayur, Ph.D. invited me to speak on "The Green Airport: Agora of the Future" at a World Ecological Conference in India. Dr. Mayur says our true goal should be Eco-Travel, not just Ecotourism. "Today's airport must be a true part of the community - a people place - an agora. Many of the larger airports are the exact opposite; unfriendly, claustrophobic, intimidating, expensive, noisy, wasteful and inconvenient," says Dr. Mayur. Airports should be the epitome of user friendliness - each being a gateway to trade and tourism. First impressions count - you may never get a second chance.

"Bridges of Understanding in each Community." There will be a day very soon, when language, race, religion, age and color will no longer be a barrier. The peace corps and student exchange programs have helped in this regard, and the internet will accelerate the cause. Since peace begins at home, we must all bridge the generation gap and curb family violence. Respect for elders has been fundamental to the African way of life for centuries. Here's one area where the developed world can learn from us. Our theme "A society for all ages" is an ideal way of articulating that goal. Older persons as goodwill ambassadors is a great way of demonstrating it. A first cousin of tolerance is respect or appreciation for the other person's position, customs, institutions and environment. Tourism organizations like PATA , the Caribbean Tourist Organization, ATA and others, drive this point home time and again.
see Bridges to Peace)

Transportation Linking Communities of Africa
Rail Travel is staging a remarkable comeback in various areas of the world, earning dollars for the entrepreneurs who gambled some ten years ago. There are up to 9 different gauges of railway tracks in Africa, which poses both a problem and a challenge. While in Ethiopia, I mentioned on a BBC interview, the potential impact on tourism of reintroducing Emperor Haile Selassie's
Lion of Judah Rail Cars on the tracks between Addis Ababa and Djibouti. There are many other examples. Perhaps these successful rail tour operators can lend their skills to a partnership. India's Palace on Wheels and the growing popularity of rail travel in South America, Siberia, Mongolia and Southeast Asia, are proof that there's a big demand for rail adventures in emerging nations.

You've seen what the Cruise Industry has done for Alaska and the Caribbean, with their floating hotels and a vast armada of pocket cruise ships. Can you imagine what would happen if Africans built a profitable cruise industry around their most ancient means of travel? Just think of romantic adventure cruise opportunities on our lakes, rivers and our historic, exotic coastline? The Gold Coast, the Ivory Coast, the Cape of Good Hope, the Indian Ocean Coast and its treasured islands, the Red Sea and Suez Canal. Yes, as Mr. Salia says about Africa, "Water transport is generally neglected and undervalued." Perhaps this sleeping giant will also awaken!

Let's hear your ideas on positive community action.


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