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Official opening of the World Ecotourism Summit

Over 1,000 enthusiastic participants interested in ecotourism and sustainable development, representing not less than 130 different countries, participated in the official opening of the first World Ecotourism Summit

Over 1,000 enthusiastic participants interested in ecotourism and sustainable development, representing not less than 130 different countries, participated in the official opening of the first World Ecotourism Summit, held at the Quebec City Convention Centre.

Present at the opening ceremony were Richard Legendre, Quebec's Minister responsible for Youth, Tourism, Recreation and Sport and Minister responsible for Wildlife and Parks, Jean-Paul L'Allier, Quebec City Mayor, Judd Buchanan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), and Klaus Toepfer, Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

'It is with the greatest interest and the pleasure that Quebec, and, more precisely, the City of Quebec, welcomes the participants of the first World Ecotourism Summit, stated Minister Richard Legendre. It is an extraordinary occasion to see what is being done in Quebec and other destinations. This summit will allow us to benefit not only from the experience and the expertise of the people working in this domain, but will also help us to quickly increase our knowledge of the methods being used abroad.'

'Canada is privileged when it comes to ecotourism'
, added Mr. Buchanan, 'being blessed with an extraordinarily rich and diversified geography. But it is our responsibility to protect this natural heritage. Beyond our role as host of this international event, our participation in this first World Ecotourism Summit is another way to express our desire and willingness to take on this responsibility.'

Throughout the world, tourism is on the path to becoming a major industry, and ecotourism is already a strongly emerging segment for which demand is ever increasing. Ecotourism is a very special kind of tourism that values respect, sustainability and sharing.

This Summit, an initiative of the World Tourism Organisation, WTO<.> and the United Nations Environment Programme, has been realized in partnership with Tourisme Quebec and the CTC. The year 2002 has been designated as the International Year of Ecotourism by the United Nations. "The Quebec Summit represents the culminating point of the International Year of Ecotourism', declared Mr. Frangialli. 'We expect many things from this meeting, the first being the definition of the content and limits of the temr ecotourism itself, so as to prevent its abuse and the dilution of its meaning.'

'We welcome the opportunity offered by the Summit to highlight and promote sustainable tourism, of which ecotourism is a part, as an important component of sustainable development', said Mr. Toepfer. 'The Summit will help towards the development of well-managed tourism – tourism which takes account of its environmental, economic and social impact. Its conclusions will be a valuable contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.'

During the Summit taking place in Quebec City until May 22, four principal themes will be the subject of discussion:

Ecotourism Policy and Planning: The Sustainability Challenge

Regulation of Ecotourism: Institutional Responsibilities and Frameworks

Product Development, Marketing and Promotion of Ecotourism: Fostering Sustainable Products and Consumers

Monitoring Costs and Benefits of Ecotourism: Ensuring Equitable Distribution Among all Stakeholders

The Summit conclusions and recommendations will be included in the "Quebec City Declaration on Ecotourism", which will be presented at the Earth Summit, in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002.

Industry led, market driven and research based, the <>BCanadian Tourism Commission is a Crown corporation that works in partnership with the tourism industry and provincial and territorial governments to market Canada as a four-season destination.

Tourisme Quebec's mission is to foster the growth of the tourism industry in Quebec. To do so, Tourisme Quebec concentrates its resources and efforts in three areas: directs and focuses government and private actions related to tourism; develops and maintains the tourism offering; as well as marketing Quebec and its tourist attractions.

About WTO

The World Tourism Organization is an inter-governmental body entrusted by the United Nations towards the promotion and development of tourism. Through tourism, WTO aims to stimulate economic growth and job creation, provide incentives for protecting the environment and heritage of destinations, and promote peace and understanding among all nations of the world.


UNEP provides leadership and encourages partnerships in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. Through its Tourism Programme, it promotes sustainable tourism among government agencies and the industry; develops tools for protected/sensitive area management; and supports implementation of multilateral environmental agreements related to


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