International Year of Ecotourism - No!
                        International Year of Reviewing Ecotourism - Yes!

Concerned citizens,

Our actions regarding the UN-sponsored International Year of Ecotourism (IYE) 2002 have been followed with enormous interest from a wide range of people and organizations the world over.

Whereas the many reactions to the campaign have been instructive and just confirmed the urgent need for a comprehensive and sincere review of the complex issues related to ecotourism, it is regrettable that the agencies in charge of organizing the IYE - UNEP and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) - have so far failed to adequately respond to the concerns we have raised.

Rather, the recently released joint statement that outlines the IYE (see reveals that UNEP and WTO continue to take a quite reductionist and ambiguous approach.  For example, while some of the shortcomings and problems in ecotourism development are recognized, the plan is to emphasize “successful ecotourism experiences”, instead of our repeated calls for a complete review that must include proper impact and risk assessments of ecotourism policies and programmes.  And despite all warnings not to make the event a “Sales Year” for ecotourism, one of the major IYE objectives is to “increase opportunities for the efficient marketing and promotion of ecotourism destinations and products on international markets.”

In the hope that this UN-sponsored event can still be steered into a different and clearer direction, we are now appealing to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to allow that the programme will be re-focused and renamed “International Year of REVIEWING Ecotourism” (see attached letter).

We are inviting you to join our Campaign for the International Year of Reviewing Ecotourism and to write your own letters to the UN Secretary General Office, UNEP and WTO in support of our proposal to rename the Year (with cc. to us).


The contact addresses are:

His Excellency Kofi Annan,
UN Secretary General
United Nations Building, Room 3800
New York 10017, USA
Fax: (+1-212)-9633826

Mr. Eugenio Yunis
Chief of Environment
World Tourism Organization
Sustainable Development Unit
Capitan Haya, 42
28020 Madrid, SPAIN
Fax: (+34-91)-571.3733

Mr. Klaus Toepfer
Executive Director
United Nations Environment Programme
PO Box 30552
Nairobi, KENYA
Fax: (+254-2)-226.895/624.006

Mr. Oliver Hillel
Tourism Programme Coordinator
United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
Production and Consumption Unit
Tour Mirabeau, 39-43 Quai Andre Citroen
75739 Paris - Cedex 15, FRANCE
Fax: (33-1) 4437.1474

We are also launching this letter writing campaign because you may want to add your own points of view and highlight critical ecotourism issues from the perspective of your specific countries and localities. Direct and action-oriented input from concerned members of civil society forms an indispensable part of the participatory learning and discussion processes we are trying to set in motion in anticipation of and during the ecotourism-focused UN event in 2002.

Anita Pleumarom

On behalf of the coordinating groups:

Tourism Investigation and Monitoring Team (tim-team)
Third World Network
Sahabat Alam Malaysia
Consumers Association of Penang