“We lack the eco-sphere”


WILLEMSTAD — Is eco-tourism a utopia? That was the main question in the framework of Kulturismo during a lecture held by Leon Pors (Carmabi) and organized by Fundashon Museo di Kòrsou.

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The question was left unanswered as the definite answering was up to the audience itself, which consisted of some twenty interested people amongst which a number of interested students.
Apart from the question whether eco-tourism actually exists, Pors thinks that eco-tourism would not be feasible on Curaçao. "We lack the eco-atmosphere. Once you land on the island you will immediately notice that it is a developed island, just look at the refinery’s torches." In addition, the government lacks a permanent development policy. "There are a number of greener activities, or they appear greener, but they do not qualify for eco-tourism."
There are discrepancies once you consider the actual meaning of eco-tourism. Pors gave two examples from Africa. On the one hand, people will visit the mountain gorillas, but one could also hunt the lions. Of course, this is done within the framework of the park management, but the tourist is allowed to do so for a substantial amount. "Does that seem right?"
The eco-tourist does not exist, according to Pors. "You fly to an exclusive accommodation in the middle of nature. That’s where the conflict already starts. Infrastructure is arranged for, and the flight to the destination creates extra CO2. You must eat at the location. This food is often imported in packing material; you go to the toilet, you produce waste matter, and so on. It is not possible that this will not influence nature". Therefore, Pors concludes that broadly speaking, eco-tourism does not exist. "It is a marketing hype, a manner of profiting from a segment."
Small Island
However, that does not mean that permanent management is not important, also for tourism. It’s the animals and plants, which adjust to local circumstances that make a small island special, said Pors. It is of importance to think how to use the island responsibly and permanently so that processes remain active and the number of species does not decrease. "One should be more careful with a small island as there is less space for mistakes, while a large country usually has a buffer."
During the evening it was brought forward that through the eyes of tourists, Curaçao makes a much-cluttered impression, said Pors. "A little culture, some eco-tourism, a few beaches." As society, you must realize what your strongest and weakest sides are, and according to Pors, the scale on Curaçao would tip towards the unique culture and history.
Another lecture in the framework of Kulturismo will be held tomorrow at the Curaçao Museum. Michael Newton will then speak about monuments and tourism, with the subtitle: ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’. The lecture is free of charge and open to all those who are interested.