Vienna, VA, Sept. 13, 2011– Irene Lane, visionary founder of eco trailblazer Greenloons will address the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference at Hilton Head Island Sept. 19-21 and share a video and case study involving the community of Alonissos, Greece, entitled “From Mass Tourism to Ecotourism.”
Lane will outline what she believes are six critical success factors that can be utilized and replicated in communities around the world that may face similar issues of balancing environmental concerns with an economic livelihood.
Although 40 years ago Alonissos had no electricity, roads, cars or an established port to receive ferries, in 1976 a documentary brought this island to light as among a grouping of islets containing some of the richest ecological and archeological sites in the Mediterranean Sea.
But the ecological bounty, specifically the Mediterranean Monk Seal, almost became extinct. This seal species is the only one that lives in subtropical waters, existing at the top of its food chain but surviving in only the cleanest of environments.
Unfortunately, poaching, habitat destruction all over the Mediterranean Sea, increased water pollution and overfishing gravely threatened the population to extinction. However in 1984, a documentary revealed that the Monk Seal was birthing in caves around Alonissos giving biologists and environmentalists a glimmer of hope and the catalyst for changing the species’ prospects.
This revelation brought conservation groups, fishermen, international organizations as well as Greek Government Ministries and other stakeholders together to create the largest National Marine Park of Europe to protect the seal and in turn has generated an ecotourism movement that helps educate younger generations about the significance of the region’s ecosystem.
“It was the Mediterranean Monk Seal, which is very closely tied to the Greek heritage,” explained Lane, “that has helped to bring a community together, create an ecotourism movement, and assist sustainable economic development in the region.”
Lane’s presentation will take place on Day 3 of the three day conference scheduled Sept. 9-21. This year’s ESTC is hosted by Hilton Head Island, SC and will bring together over 500 professionals from across the industry. For more information on the ESTC 2011, and to register, see: www.ecotourismconference.org.
Greenloons guides families to travel experiences managed by certified third-party suppliers engaged in eco- and sustainable tourism. Lane founded Greenloons in 2010 for the global community of nature enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists interested in accessing detailed and reliable information about responsible, sustainable and certified ecotourism travel vacations both in the US and abroad.
Greenloons is a first-of-its-kind online resource aimed at answering the growing need for accredited eco-tours and sustainable holiday travel in the tourism industry. Greenloons.com provides ecotourism education, news, comparable certified ecotour and volunteer conservation program listings, tour reviews and booking services, plus a forum for the community to share its personal vacation stories and tips for establishing ecotourism in any corner of the world.
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