Ecotourism is everywhere lately, but have you ever stopped to think about why it is important? Simply put, ecotourism is important for two reasons. It creates effective economic incentives for the conservation of both biological and cultural diversity and heritage while at the same time empowering communities to fight poverty with economic development and to work toward sustainable development locally, regionally, and nationally.
“Greenwashing” isn’t a term used only in the ecotourism industry, but as ecotourism becomes more popular, greenwashing will continue to be a problem. Greenwashing occurs when a company spins their products and services, touting them as environmentally friendly when they may not be, or over-blowing pre-existing environmentally friendly practices, like using energy-efficient light bulbs in a hotel but touting each and every appliance as being energy-efficient.
Manuel Bollman, an expert from Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) did agree in an exclusive interview on Page 64 (Nomad Africa Magazine) that the common phrase “Sustainability is about everything we do” tops the list of the most frequent greenwashing methods that tourism stakeholders are most guilty of. However, until a reliable rating system is in place, it is the responsibility of the traveller to check for “greenwashing”.
In this edition (Nomad Africa Magazine), Christine Siamanta wrote a very touching story about the ancient cultural practice of female genital mutilation in Kenya, East Africa (see “Wounds that won’t heal”, Page 28-Nomad Africa Magazine). In Uganda, another part of East Africa, one of our expert contributor; Rebecca Rwakabukoza wrote an interesting piece on how the country can improve on its tourism offerings to attract Chinese tourists.
Humans are the biggest threat to wildlife in any region of the world (see page 95 -Nomad Africa Magazine). But human encroachment on habitats and migration routes is not the only way we are facing off with wildlife. Humans are also actively wiping out iconic species like the elephant, lion, and rhino by turning them into commodities. It is therefore our ultimate responsibility to protect threatened species and continue to educate local audiences on the real cost of ivory and rhino horn while debunking the social and cultural values behind their use in a modern world.
At Nomad Africa, conservation is at the core of our corporate social responsibility. We will continuously use our unique media platforms to educate our audience on this very important subject. Conservation is about everything we do and when we say that, we really do mean it and we are not just “Greenwashing”.
This article was written by Monica Ashley Le-courie.