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As a socially responsible person, you probably want to make the world a little better. Even when you travel, you might try to visit undeveloped areas where your tourism dollars can help a local economy thrive. You might even contribute your time to the community as a volunteer. Ecotourism’s idealistic goal is to improve the world through responsible travel; while its effects will probably never match its ideals, travelers can offer very real benefits to local communities. Jessica Blue. Read more.

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The International Ecotourism Society, TIES, defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” The concept arose in the 1970s from the general global environmental movement, and by the 1990s was one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors. Ecotourism appeals to responsible travelers who want to minimize the negative impacts of their visit, and who take special interest in local nature and cultures. Carole Simm. Read more.

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PARIS — Before arriving in the French capital, Wu Shuyun, a 56-year-old Chinese housewife, imagined Paris to be like a pristine film set for a romantic love story, picturing herself as a glamorous princess surrounded by elegant Parisians, decked out, perhaps, in Chanel.

Instead, Ms. Wu from Kunming in southwest China, said she was shocked by the cigarette butts and dog manure, the rude insouciance of the locals and the gratuitous public displays of affection. Dan Bilefsky. Read more.

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Imagine this: Your whole holiday thanks to the sharing economy. A few years, even months, ago the thought would have sounded bizarre, possibly a little dangerous. But now, through various websites you can experience a holiday with travel entirely provided by your peers.  Read more here and view the video below.

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The United Nations Department of Public Information recently held a conference titled “Beyond 2015: An Action Agenda by Non-governmental organizations” at U.N. Headquarters in New York. One of the key purposes of the conference was to provide input for the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs) that will succeed the 15-year framework of UN Millennium Development Goals, set to expire in 2015. Dr. Dave Randle. Read more.

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Last September, the networking site LinkedIn added a feature that allowed its members to say whether they wanted to volunteer or serve on the board of a nonprofit. In just eight months, one million members raised their virtual hands.

But here’s the rub. LinkedIn has posted only about 1,000 listings seeking volunteers. That can’t begin to meet the demand from those on the site who are looking for ways to volunteer. In much of the nonprofit world, there are more volunteers than there are spots. Staff workers don’t have time to manage more volunteers. As one executive told me, “If I get another volunteer I am going to go out of business”. Aaron Hurst. Read more.

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This second White Paper, From Challenges to Solutions, maps water stress and scarcity in the Asia Pacific region against tourism water use. The paper reviews new evidence to better understand the key drivers for water utilization in hotels and where management action should be best focused.

Primary data on hotels are sourced from a survey of hotels operators together with benchmarking data drawn from the international EarthCheck Certification database. In addition, a comparison of municipal and tourism water use per person per day is undertaken to gain some understanding of the key issues associated with water equity and responsible water management at a destination level. By ‘EarthCheck Research Institute’. Read more.

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Eat, Stay, Buy Locally: Treading Lightly on the Road

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Between the intricate shrines of Angkor Wat, the diverse landscapes of the countryside and the kindness of its people — and despite the horrors of its recent history — Cambodia knocks a lot of people off their feet. It certainly had that effect on me when I first visited a few years ago and then again when I returned this winter. Yet it was impossible not to notice the school-age children begging barefoot at the major tourist sites, underage local women escorting Western men on sex tours, and the proliferation of seemingly unsustainable large-scale resorts being built on the pristine southern coast.

It’s a classic traveler’s question, one that is especially pronounced in developing or poor countries: Is your visit to a destination ultimately helping or hurting the place and its people? Is it possible to travel ethically in such places? By Ondine Cohane. Read more.

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With over 400 species of sharks inhabiting almost every aquatic ecosystem, divers and wildlife enthusiast are enjoying and paying good money to view sharks in their natural habitats. Operations to take tourists to view, dive or snorkel with sharks and rays are located across the globe.

A recent study found that shark tourism companies operate in 83 locations in 29 countries (Gallagher and Hammerschlag 2011).  Divers are very interested in seeing sharks alive and healthy in the ocean and are willing to pay a lot to see them (White 2008). In Fiji, Vianna et al. (2011) estimated that 78% of all divers visiting the country in 2010 engaged in shark-diving activities. By ‘Shark Savers’. Read more.

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Top 3 Consumer Trends Influencing Travel

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Emerging interest of consumers worldwide for a meaningful travel experience is gradually changing travel trends globally. The quest for a new experience while travelling that adds something substantial to ones’ life is the dominating trend of travelers at present times.  Trend consultant Daniel Levine states that today consumers are motivated to travel for two burning reasons: First is concern with the environment and second is the desire for time with family and friends. By ‘Hotel Resort Insider’. Read more.

Photo: Hotel Resort Insider

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