The ecologist's view David Bellamy

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The Independent Travel
"I don't have time for

holidays, although of course I do travel a great deal. The consequence of air travel is unfortunate, but I have to do it. Tourism is immensely important. It's probably the world's biggest employer and money-spinner. It won't go away, so we must make it as environment-friendly as possible. For example,

Disney and Center Parcs cater for millions of people, `hiding' them in a strictly

defined area, supporting the local economy and, when done properly, having no major environmental effect. "Benefit to the local economy is important. One of the problems of sites such as the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal or Ayers Rock is that money flows into many different hands: tour operators, multi-national hotel chains and so on. Little goes into the local economy, or to preserve the place itself. "If people stop going to a place because it has been ruined by tourism, it will have to change. Even better, you can make a positive choice with what I call Workaholic Tourism, paying to join schemes where volunteers carry out all manner of work. "I'm president of one such organisation, Coral Cay. It organises diving holidays in Belize, where people take part in a survey of the second longest barrier reef in the world. It has been so successful that it is booked up for years ahead and we are starting a new project in the Philippines. The holiday is part of a learning experience, understanding and practising the ethics of conservation. For the environment, it is the beginning of what I believe will be a real growth sector: the ecotourism industry."

Martin Scudamore