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Taiwan's International Conference on Ecotourism highlights sustainable tourism

Founder of Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society looks at low impact approach

(Taiwan News photo)

(Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The International Conference on Ecotourism, organized by the Taiwan Ecotourism Association (TEA), highlighted the sustainable development of that industry on Friday afternoon (Nov. 19).

Karma Tshering, founder of the Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society, focused on Bhutan’s high-value and low-impact approach to tourism. He attributed the successful model to several factors, including the government’s minimum pricing policy of US$250 (NT$7,000) per day per person.

He pointed out that Nepal saw 451,000 tourists arrive in 2020, with the average tourist paying US$364, compared to Bhutan’s 7,599 arrivals and US$1,380 per head the same year.

Tshering also spoke about his country’s pristine natural environment, unique cultural heritage, national development vision based on Gross National Happiness, and great leadership under its king.

Lin Lu-pin (林莉萍), associate professor and director of Ming Chuan University's Department of Leisure and Recreation Management, focused on encouraging tourists to engage in slow travel and cut greenhouse emissions. Slow travel is fundamentally related to the concept of sustainable mobility, particularly the choice of travel, which Lin said includes biking, walking, and taking trains and shuttle buses.

Slow travel also means a free mind, Lin said, which enables travelers to explore, have adventures, and feel at ease in interactions with others, enjoying people, nature, and culture alike.

Wu Yueh-chuen (巫月春), an official at the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), spoke about the green tour routes the EPA has been promoting in cooperation with local government agencies, the tourism industry, and private groups. A total of 513 such routes have been operated since 2020, attracting more than 10,000 people, she added.

Meanwhile, Joselito Costas, founder of Grassroots Travel, showcased how multi-stakeholders linked to a local government unit provide an important advantage over other types of environmental governance.