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Re-Imagining North America Ecotourism Conference (2000)


From the archives

The Re-Imagining North America Ecotourism Conference took place in May 2000. This was our first online event (see index).

In order to facilitate networking of professionals working to improve ecotourism in North America, Planeta.com hosted the Re-Imagining North America Ecotourism Conference which originally took place in May 2000.

The original conference took place in May 2000 and brought together more than 130 participants, representing Canada, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States. Follow-up activities included our World Forums, particularly Mexico and Central America. This event resumes on occasion as part of our hemispheric dialogue Reimagining Ecotourism in the Americas.

This was Planeta’s first formal e-conference (see index).

Looking back at the dialogue, some of the facilitators commited themselves more than others, some of the participants were more eager to share first-hand experiences. In later dialogues we would expand the time frame, provide more preparatory materials, including resource guides and tutorials and shift the conference dialogue from Yahoo Groups to the Planeta Forum.


In order to facilitate the discussion and networking of those working toward ecotourism in North America, Planeta.com hosted an intensive, online conference from May 8-19, 2000.

The goal of the conference was to develop networks among professionals. One of the outcomes was the participant list

Community Involvement and Ecotourism
Facilitator: Derek Parent

Definitions and Applications
Facilitator: Hector Ceballos Lascurain

Financing Ecotourism
Facilitator: John Shores

Ecotourism Training and Education
Facilitator: Scott Walker

Ecotourism Regulation/Monitoring
Facilitator: Mark Spalding

Infrastructure and Appropriate Technologies for Ecotourism
Facilitator: Ron Mader

Linking Ecotourism Projects in North America
Facilitator: Ellen Scott

Marketing North American Ecotourism
Facilitator: Mark Leger


  • What are some of the best examples of ecotourism in North America?
  • What financing is available to develop ecotourism projects?
  • What are the best marketing strategies and promotion for ecotourism projects and services?
  • What education or training is available for ecotourism providers and guides?
  • How do local communities incorporate ecotourism?
  • What is the role of government in developing ecotourism?
  • What is the role of international institutions — conservation and tourism groups — in developing ecotourism?
  • What are successful strategies for cross-border (regional or international) initiatives?
  • How can travelers support authentic ecotourism programs?


As a framework, we used a variation on Open Space Technology.

Creating an online conference is challenging, but I am following several terrific examples, including the successful 1998 forum Community-Based Mountain Tourism: Practices for Linking Conservation with Enterprise.



CONSULT THE GUIDE – Please review the forum guidelines.

BUDGET TIME – We ask active participants to sufficient time to prepare messages and to read other posts. An hour a week is required of active participants.

PREPARING MESSAGES – We suggest a word limit of 250 words or two or three short paragraphs. Instead of posting a long message, offer to email the document or better yet, place it on another website and include the URL in your post.

INTRODUCE YOURSELF – Your first post should introduce your background and interest in tourism and migration. Let us know where in the world you work. Introduce a few of the talking points you’d like to address in the coming weeks. If your work is documented online, include the URL.

SPELLLING – If you have software for spell checking, please use this technology and then copy and paste.

EXTRA CREDIT – Please read Conferences in the Virtual and Natural Worlds. Also, review our previous events. This will give you an idea how we have conducted online dialogues in the past. That said, each event has it share of wonderful surprises.



North America

Exploring Ecotourism

Open Space Technology



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