Photo: Moonstar, Safranbolu

My talk and Q&A at the European Ecotourism Conference was made via long distance video Monday, April 17. The talk – Upgrade Your World during the International year of Sustainable Tourism – asks where we stand in 2017 and what we have learned since the first European Ecotourism Conference in 2010. These are the working notes. Here’s the Facebook Video recorded live.

Greetings, friends and colleagues in Safranbolu. Hello and Merhaba.

A special thanks to Nuray Turker and her team for organizing this event. It is again a privilege to speak to the European Ecotourism Conference.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ron Mader and I spoke at the first European Ecotourism Conference in 2010. Upgrade Your World, I said, showing how to make the most of our devices, tablets and phones. Some of us get Facebook and Twitter. Others do not. Don’t be shy = Utangaç olma. What we can do this week is to share our favorite resources. Recommendations, please.

Some background. As you might suspect, I am not European. I am proudly and distinctly American and through the website which I created in 1994, have followed the growth spurts, achievements and disappointments in responsible, conscious, ecotourism. With colleagues and friends including Aivar Ruukel, Marcus Bauer and Anders Kárrstedt, we have used the Planeta Wiki to co-create resources that illuminate Europe’s wild side – biodiversity conservation, cultural and heritage preservation and travel and tourism.

Another hat I wear is that of the Director of Communications for TAPAS, the Tourism and Proteced Areas Specialist Group of the IUCN/WCPA. Membership is free. An application is available for interested professionals working on tourism and protected areas. Currently TAPAS has more than 400 members from 75 countries. Keep an eye on the Facebook page and Twitter (@IUCNTourism).

Making the Most of #EuroEco17

Conversations are on the social web and face-to-face. Meetings are vital and vitally important venues to bring people together.

For those attending these events in person, think about the opportunities you have to share with people half a world away. Honestly, on this side of the Atlantic, we do not hear much about national parks and ecotourism in Europe. World Heritage Sites are to be admired from afar. Show us otherwise.

Can remote participants and superfans amplify the messages raised during this conference? Those not in the room are potential future visitors – here today surfing and clicking, looking for tips and trends. You are our eyes and ears today. Bear witness. Turn on your smartphone and join a global conversation. Seriously, you can tweet me! @ronmader

2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the #YearOfOpen, celebrating three anniversaries related to open access and open education. Combine the two and they become impactful.

I challenge the participants of the European Ecotourism Conference to create a buzz around the event. Utangaç olma. Introduce yourself on the Facebook event page. Tweet and retweet on Twitter. Hashtag: #EuroEco17.


Top 10: #IY2017 Wish List

10) We’d like the IY to serve as an example of Open Access, Open Education and Open Journalism

One of the success stories of the past 15 years is the development of Open Access and Open Education. Textbooks can now be downloaded free-of-charge. Legally. Presentations can be shared with explicit permission that they can be copied or remixed.
2017 is the #YearOfOpen

Currently I’m gathering examples of good practice and incorporating screenshots into the #IY2017 presentation.

9) We’d like the IY to address migration and the legal movement of people


8) We’d like the IY to address climate change


7) We’d like the IY to serve as an example of responsible travel embedded in tourism events

Are the events walking the talk?

6) We’d like the IY to be particularly friendly to Indigenous Peoples

We are going to explore this in depth during Indigenous Peoples Week in August.

5) We’d like the IY to be a catalyst for satellite events and viewing parties

Why not? With the proper organization, it would be easy to set aside time at a public library or a pub with wi-fi and create an intimate viewing party of a particular keynote. Imagine if we could invite tourism leaders, travel agents and anyone interested.

4) We’d like the IY events to engage locals and teach visitors about the host venues

What would locals like visitors to know about Safranbolu?

3) We’d like the IY to be fully engaged via the social web
• Facebook, Flickr, Google, Periscope, Twitter, YouTube
Livestreaming and archived video
• Resources for remote participants

2) We’d like the IY to be a window into UNWTO and partners

Who’s who at UNWTO? We need a wayfinding guide.

1) We’d like to learn about tourism and development

What is the big picture? Where are the public case studies? Do we have access to timely news and stats?

We hope that institutions and individuals alike learn how to make these topics public-facing.

Let’s Give an Award for Best Government Tourism Portal

What you do: Comment below or tweet the account of an official tourism portal with any tips or links.

Bonus Points: If a country has a #IY2017 resource page by name or something less explicit, let us know.

Keep an eye on Planeta’s curated collection of tourism portals.


June 5 World Tourism Day Announcement

August Voting

September 27 World Tourism Day Presentation

Live Video host Ron Mader streams bike rides and workshops from Periscope and FacebookLive.

#EuroEco17 Social Web Worksheet

Biodiversity – Conversation – Global Goals – Hotspot – Impactful – Partial Attention – Roadmap – Streaming – Sustainable – Tools – Tourism Industry – Tourism Sector – Water – Wi-Fi

European Ecotourism Conference – Event Page


We are keen on learning and sharing what’s on the European Ecotourism roadmap. Your recommendations?

Can you show us ‘ecotourism’ and ‘sustainable tourism’ in pictures and video?

What would locals like visitors to know about their corner of Europe Paint a picture of the kind of tourism you’d like to see.


One thought on “Upgrade Your World during the International Year of Sustainable Tourism (2017)”
  1. Greetings and Gidday from Downunder Ron,

    Per your YT comment;

    In regards to wish # 4. > 4) We’d like the IY events to engage locals and teach visitors about the host venues

    I immediately thought of AirBnb’s latest foray into local tourism, that is the “AirBnB Neighbourhoods”.

    If you visit Sydney neighbourhoods for example, it’s almost exclusively focused on “hip” and popular beachside and city suburbs. Going where “the wild things are”, doesn’t seem to feature.

    The only “nature based” location so far outside of a “world city” (for want of a better description), is Lake Tahoe in the USA.

    Given the huge impact on the online booking behaviour of travellers, who are using OTAs and rent economy distribution channels like AirBnB, has anyone done any research into the impact of these channels, in both promotion of the destinations, and adoption by local operators, of ecotourism and ESD principles?

    There have been other attempts by respected organisations like National Geographic for example, with “Geotourism”, and we could all probably list many of the other “usual suspects”, and their attempts to “break thorough”, over the last 20 to 30 years, but given the juggernaut OTA markets of Priceline and Expedia groups with all their brand channels, can those of us who have been in this sphere for more than 10 or 20 or more years, doing what we can, is there any chance of now reaching the huge slice of the travelling market via these channels, and bringing the “tread lightly” and ESD message to them?

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