In the micro-blogging world of Twitter, I’ve been expressing some views that don’t appear to be completely understood by the people responding to me, from what I can see. So let me explain for a bit what I’ve been trying to express. First though, the background…
Biodiversity is the prime natural asset of tourism, and we can safely affirm that in the case of Mediterranean Islands, biodiversity and the societal ecosystem to which it belongs, sustains the vast majority of the economic value of the tourism sector.
I agree very strongly with that. As a tourism strategy, it’s spot on. Protection of biological diversity has benefits that go beyond the direct effect of making Cyprus a more desirable destination for the people that I try to work with (i.e., birdwatchers, etc.). It enhances the ability of more regular tourists to “get away” from their daily lives and have a great vacation, making Cyprus a more desirable destination in general for a much wider audience.
The trouble is, Cyprus shoots itself in the foot on this strategy. Every effort to promote the biodiversity of Cyprus to potential tourists may be negated by the ambivalence towards songbird trapping and its effect on avian biodiversity. And people who would be most receptive to a tourism from biodiversity are aware of this, most of the time. They know that a call for tourism from biodiversity rings hollow when made by a government that is unwilling to confront songbird trapping and the restaurants that serve pickled songbirds.
A truthful slogan for Cyprus tourism derived from biodiversity might be: “Come savor our biodiversity, we’ll serve it to you for dinner.”
That may be a bit cheeky, but it’s not far from the truth. And it frustrates me, because I so badly want Cyprus to have and benefit from an impressive biologically diverse landscape.
So, in response to the “Call for Tourism from Biodiversity,” I would make my own “Call to Taking Biodiversity Seriously,” and work together to end songbird trapping.