Anyway, I suggested a working definition of the concept, which was familiar to some in the group but not others -- encouraging sustainable development by using ecosystems as tourist attractions. The challenge is to attract enough visitors to provide livelihoods that are at least as remunerative as resource extraction would be, but few enough to keep the ecosystems intact.
Imagine my surprise when I got home and found an article on ecotourism in the daily mail, the cover article in our denominational magazine. Imagine my further surprise that the focus of the article is Finca Esperanza Verde, a mountain-top coffee farm that I have actually visited with Pam and with two groups of students during my Nicaragua coffee tours.
Both times I have arrived there, it has been with students who were apprehensive about a two-day stay with extremely limited electronics and only healthy food. Both times, the beauty and tranquility of the place has made them reluctant to leave! The ecological value of the reserve (whose name means Green Hope Farm) is continuously documented by my blogger friend on Coffee Habitat, who also frequents another ecotourism favorite of mine, Selva Negra. The latter is a very different model pursuing similar goals.
|Photo credit: The amazing |
Incidentally, because these places -- along with my home-away-from-home, Finca Mil Flores in nearby La Corona -- also include productive farming in the balance with tourism and ecology, they are examples of agroecotourism. I am glad that a search on that term brings up the Fresh Cup article about my second journey to the region.