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What's Ahead? ATA Ecotourism, Commerce and Investment Symposium Report on 2002

From Mozambique, Africa to Quebec City, Canada the World prepares to celebrate the International Year of Ecotourism

WTO held a series of regional seminars and conferences to prepare for the International Year of Ecotourism. Africa led off with a seminar in Maputo, Mozambique - followed by Cuiabá, Brazil for the Americas; St Johann, Austria for Europe; Almaty, Kazakhstan for CIS countries, China and Mongolia; Thessaloniki, Greece for European and Mediterranean countries; Algeria for desert areas; Victoria, Seychelles for Small Island Developing States and other islands. The 2002 agenda includes Malé, Maldives, February 8-10, 2002, for the Asia-Pacific region; and Fiji, April 14-15, 2002, for the South Pacific Islands. Findings from these conferences and seminars will be presented at the World Ecotourism Summit, to be held in Quebec, Canada between May 19 and 22, 2002.

At the Maputo seminar, Mr. Eugenio Yunis, WTO Chief of the Sustainable Development of Tourism Section, indicated that lack of suitable controls could threaten the very future of the sector.

• Unsustainable ecotourism is putting at risk the survival of the natural environment that is the very bedrock of the ecotourism business and, more serious still, detracts from and even discredits this activity," he said.

Various elements, needed to guarantee the long-term sustainability of any ecotourism project, were highlighted by Mr. Yunis. They included:

• Ensuring that it contributes to the conservation of natural areas and the sustainable development of adjoining lands and communities.

• Creating specific strategies to avoid anarchic and disorderly development.

• Providing efficient coordination between public and private sectors,

• including the active involvement of local communities in the planning, developing, managing and regulating of ecotourism projects.

• Minimizing the impact of tourism accommodation, transport facilities and any activities organized for tourists.

• Ensuring that a reasonable proportion of income from tourism is channelled into local communities and into conserving natural heritage.

• Managing the movement of tourists to avoid overcrowding, and carrying out continuous monitoring of the visitors' impact on the environment.

Other activities being organized by WTO for the International Year of Ecotourism include the publication of a 'Compilation of Good Practices in the Sustainable Development and Management of Ecotourism', as well as a market research programme in the main ecotourism generating markets, including Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Canada and the United States. Detailed information on the above events and activities is available - and regularly updated - on WTO's IYE 2002 web page:

Africa Travel Association (ATA) partners with the WTO on many Travel Industry events. For details, see our web site:, or e-mail: (212) 447-1926

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