Posted by: Dan | September 10, 2010

On the call for a Tourism from Biodiversity in Cyprus

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…

The Call for a Tourism from Biodiversity:

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.


Responses

  1. If you are about doing your own call, I believe that’s fine too.

    The etourism Forum and the initiatives led by Avantless are not about picketing government offices, nor about making cheap campaign calls to green wash tourism. Nor do we have a business of promoting eco-tourism with our backs to nature and value of living migratory birds on the Island of Cyprus.

    Our position is clearly in favor of a significant change in education and culture towards tourism and biodiversity at large, among other initiatives which would be too numerous to mention here.

    I am glad however that we will able to count with your support on World Tourism Day in Cyprus for Biodiversity and can’t wait for the day where we can actually invite people to experience the biodiversity of Cyprus, other than in a culinary art form as you say.

  2. Patrick,
    Where did you get the idea that I was criticizing what the etourism forum or your initiative are doing? I said:

    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.

    So it’s not about you or etourism, it’s about songbird trapping. Even if it’s not your position to lobby government (and I see that it isn’t), I’m surprised that you’re not upset at the ongoing trapping. It makes you’re job that much more difficult – trying to sell Cyprus for its biodiversity when, as a country, it is downright hostile to the notion of conservation of biodiversity.

    I wish you luck on this, really. You may indeed make some headway that will help us all out (I’m pretty sure you will). But you’d make more headway if government wasn’t shooting you in the foot.

    You might as well be trying to sell McDonald’s as a health food restaurant. :-(

  3. Thanks Dan.
    As you say, we can’t be shooting ourselves in the foot constantly if we want to make headway. And we only have 2 feet !!


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