WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE
In February 2003, I had the privilege of moderating an event
at the World Bank. The "What is Responsible Tourism? What is
Sustainable Tourism?" seminar was coordinated by the Educational
The organizers (Carol Reed and Alicia Stevens) said the presentations
were being videotaped (cameras were buzzing overhead) for inclusion
in a CD as well as online the World Bank website -- along the
lines of Thinking
Outside the Box/Changing the Box discussion which linked
participatory conservation to governance reform.
What was developed was an index
of powerpoint presentations and no summary of the discussion.
For a year that page disappeared from the Web and yielded a
404 Error message. The good news is that the index is back online.
If we measure the "What is Responsible Tourism?" seminar by
results, we find no immediate post-forum dialogues, nor a change
In the 2003 panel, it was difficult to critique the bank's
lack of transparency and public dialogue during the meeting.
"We know about stakeholders," said one official. My response:
"But what do stakeholders know about you?"
I do not mean to single out the World Bank for criticism. We
see only a handful of organizations participating in public
online forums. During the online Financing
Sustainable Tourism Conference, one of the participants
proposed the creation of a directory of failed sustainable tourism
projects. Knowing what hasn't worked would be good to know.
I'm not interested in casting blame, but if we don't admit
errors, we've learned nothing from our mistakes and the vicious
cycle of project funding and project failure begins anew.