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Published on Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Owns Paradise Now?

The Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development (CESD) has announced the publication of the new edition of Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? by CESD Co-Director, Dr. Martha Honey.

First published in 1999, -¬---Who Owns Paradise?-¬~ has been highly acclaimed as a comprehensive study of both the theory and practice of ecotourism. In the new edition, Honey updates her original chapter-length case studies on Costa Rica, the Galapagos, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, and South Africa, and adds a fascinating new chapter -" the first ever analysis of ecotourism in the United States.

In the three opening chapters, Honey examines how ecotourism emerged in the late 1970s as a reaction to growing concerns about the negative social, environmental,and economic impacts of mainstream tourism. By the early 1990s, ecotourism was said to be the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, and today, it is reportedly growing three times faster than the industry as a whole.

The new edition, which took four years to complete and involved a team of some dozen researchers spread across all the case study countries, marks a major rewrite of the original book. "It is stunning how much ecotourism has grown over the last decade," says Honey. "I quickly found that I couldn't simply do a new edition by revising statistics and dates. Rather, whole new concepts, trends, and terms have recently emerged within the field of ecotourism."

This edition covers the growth of `green' certification programs that measure environmental and social impacts of tourism businesses and the emergence of travelers' philanthropy as a form of development assistance flowing from tourism businesses and travelers to social and environmental projects in host communities.

It also examines new varieties of ecotourism such as voluntourism (holidays that include service projects), agritourism (which encompasses protection of family farms, the Slow Food Movement, and organics), and sustainable tourism.

The new volume describes recent ecotourism events, most importantly the United Nations' International Year of Ecotourism in 2002 which, Honey argues, signified that ecotourism had "evolved from a good idea in the 1970s into, by the new millennium, a global economic tool for poverty alleviation and environmental protection.

" The most important current development, says Honey, "is ecotourism's response to the threat of global warming. This includes adopting new technologies and architectural designs that reduce dependence on fossil fuels and the promotion of credible carbon offset programs to mitigate the impacts of air travel by providing funds to protect forests and support the development of clean energy."

Honey is co-founder and Co-Director of CESD, policy oriented research center with offices in Washington , DC and at Stanford University . She also served for four years as Executive Director of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES). Prior to TIES, Honey observed first hand the emergence of ecotourism while living and working for two decades in Tanzania and Costa Rica as a foreign correspondent .

The book, published by Island Press and bearing the CESD logo, is the first in a new series of CESD books. The second in the series, Ecotourism and Conservation in the Americas by Amanda Stonza and Dr. William Durham will be published later in 2008 by CABI Press. Dr. Durham, a professor of anthropology at Stanford University, is co-founder and Co-Director of CESD.

Island Press Executive Editor Todd Baldwin says pre-publication sales of the new edition have been brisk and he predicts the new edition will be as popular as its predecessor with academics, environmentalists, development agencies, journalists, and ordinary travelers.

Valere Tjolle

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