It’s World Traval Market in London this week, and I’ve been finding out about an interesting launch of a new ecotourism programme by the state of New Mexico.
It’s not a state I know a whole lot about but is apparently home to the first National Park in America, has three of the US’s 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and is home to lots of great wildlife including wolves and antelope.
The plan is to build a series of sustainable, solar-powered,”off grid” camps, a bit like the luxury safari camps you see in Africa.
The programme also ties in things like voluntourism, indigenous culture, and local art – Georgia O’Keefe, who I remember from GCSE art as famous for her suggestive paintings of the inside of flowers, is one local painter.
What sounds so strong about this project is that much of the investment in the camps is expected to come from the Native American people themselves – the deputy cabin minister explained that they do have a lot of cash, but have been spending it building casinos instead.
So the new camps will be both owned and staffed by the indigenous locals, which sounds to me like the ideal scenario in terms of sustainable tourism.
However, the deputy cabinet secretary Jennifer Hobson admitted the state also has a fair bit of big-game hunting, which might not go down so well with the dedicated ecotourist…..