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City Environments

Urban Ecotourism Declaration

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Participants in the first International Urban Ecotourism Conference (2004) respect Urban Ecotourism as an ongoing opportunity to conserve biological and social diversity, create new jobs and improve the quality of life. We issue the following declaration:

Recognizing urban centers as cradles of civilization, socio-political progress, examples of co-existence between diverse cultures ... and

Recognizing the importance of ecotourism in facilitating cultural exchange, environmental conservation, sustainable and equitable development...

We, the participants of the first international Urban Ecotourism Conference, ask interested stakeholders -- officials at the local, federal and international levels, relevant cultural, historical and environmental organizations, the private sector, travelers and residents -- to focus on common goals:

• Restoring and conserving natural and cultural heritage including natural landscapes and biodiversity, and indigenous cultures;
• Maximizing local benefits and engaging the local community as owners, investors, hosts and guides;
• Educating visitors and residents on environmental matters, heritage resources, sustainability;
• Reducing our ecological footprint.

RECOMMENDATIONS

We propose that local authorities and other stakeholders should work together in taking the following measures:

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION

• Share news about local endeavors towards environmental and biodiversity protection.
• Improve existing information centers with details on urban environment and culture or create new centers.
• Conduct surveys of best practices from other cities, and share with all interested stakeholders.
• Improve interpretation of natural and cultural features for residents and visitors.
• Showcase urban ecotourism models to stimulate broader awareness, acceptance and interest.
• Create and distribute green maps

BIODIVERSITY
• Showcase biodiversity conservation

COMMUNITY
• Increase public green spaces and guarantee the free use of public space.
• Create opportunities for positive interaction among residents and travelers.
• Encourage participation by all stakeholders -- particularly small and
medium-sized enterprises that are the core of sustainable tourism and urban ecotourism.
• Integrate municipal development of Urban Ecotourism bottom-up with regional, national and international allies.
• Encourage connections between the tourism industry and the cultural heritage and environmental sectors
• Focus on enhancement/cleanup of the urban environment

ENERGY
• Encourage renewable energy sources

FINANCING
• Finance adequate infrastructure, public spaces, personnel to develop Urban Ecotourism in an organized fashion.
• Provide incentives to develop tourism and employment in marginalized areas.
• Develop and promote natural and organic product markets (particularly those with local goods).

TRANSPORTATION

• Develop interconnected bicycle lanes/trails and walking paths.
• Support and promote a user friendly system of public transit for tourists and residents
• Encourage transportation innovation and research to develop new solutions


SIGNATURES FROM CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS

Edna Aguinaga, Mexican Nature Conservation Fund
Rachel Dodds, Sustainable Tourism Net
Ron Mader, Planeta.com
Antonis B. Petropoulos, ECOCLUB.com
John Shores, The Shores System


SIGNATURES FROM CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS

Melissa Biggs
Gerhard Buttner
Hilary Dailey
Rodrigo Esponda
Mary Finn
Fernando García Aguinaco
Elliot Helman

Peter Hutchison
Ana Pimentel
Angus Pratt
Paul Radchenko
Mike Robbins
Rosalyn Salters
Vasilis Tsipidis


ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES

Steve Bridger
Tim Burford
Tomas Cuevas Contreras

Rune Dalfelt
Marlene Ehrenberg
Bill Hinchberger
Richard Mahler
Pedro Morais


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