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Townsville- 31st October - 1st November 2006

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[ Urban-Nature-Youth Ecotourism Forum ] [ Art in School Urban Nature Ecotourism Puzzle Map ]
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[ Youth Ecotourism Blogs ]

“Sustainable Tourism - Sustainable Future”

Townsville City Council Ecotourism Australia The Community Environment Fund

The Urban Nature-Youth Ecotourism Forum, held by Townsville City Council and the Community Environment Fund, took place on the 31st of October and 1st of November as a complimentary event of the 2006 International Ecotourism Conference. The event built on and followed the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) Urban Nature workshop held in Cape Town earlier in the year as part of the ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability World Congress and was a United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development event.


Photos of the Forum

UN decade of education for sustainable development 2005 - 2014

The Forum gathered 25 students from 7 Townsville high schools and linked them with 8 tourism students from James Cook University who acted as their mentors in the lead up of the Forum, raising the students’ awareness on ecotourism issues and challenges.

It featured keynote speakers both local and international, from Tourism, Business and Environmental Organisation such as Reef Check, Kenya Wildlife Service, Sao Paulo Forest Institute Youth programme, the Great Barrier reef Marine Park Authority, etc. and was facilitated by JCU senior lecturer Dr. Alastair Birtles.


The students were able to learn about Ecotourism from tourism, business and environment perspectives and to share their experience and ideas on ecotourism. They learnt how ecotourism could become a way to get out of favelas in Brazil, how it could help to protect wildlife in Kenya, how it integrates local communities, including indigenous communities, and how it is a way of giving economic values to natural assets.

The overall objective of the Forum was to come up with an Ecotourism Youth Charter that will eventually become an international document stating the youth’s view on ecotourism. Students started to draft the Charter thanks to interactive activities, including an Ecotourism Business Case.

On the Wednesday, students were able to link with youth from around the world - specifically students from Feurs in France (near Lyon), South Africa (Cape Town), Sao Paulo in Brazil and Bali, Indonesia thanks to Reef HQ who provided videoconference facilities. France was connected via webcam, Brazil via videoconference, South Africa via teleconference and Indonesia via e-mail.

The students presented, discussed and debated on ecotourism issues and challenges with students from other countries and shared their ideas on what to include in the Ecotourism Youth Charter. International students were able to provide inputs that were taken into account in the final outcomes of the Forum.

[ Youth Ecotourism Blogs ] [ Photos of the Videoconference ]

Two students nominated during the Forum presented its outcomes during the final plenary Session of the Ecotourism Conference as a Keynote Address. Madeleine and Shenade from the Cathedral School of St Anne & St James addressed the 253 delegates and reminded them of the importance of the youth’s voice when dealing with Ecotourism issues.

See their Speech (22Kb .pdf)

See the Forum’s brochure (510Kb .pdf)

See International Media Release (30Kb .pdf) on the Forum and
visit the French students' blog on ecotourism (French)

See The Ecotourism Youth Charter & add your comments

The Forum was complimented by an Art In Schools-Urban Nature Ecotourism Puzzle Map, funded by Townsville City Council through the Perc Tucker Gallery.

Madeleine from the Cathedral school

Shenade from the Cathedral school
Madeleine and Shenade from the Cathedral school of St Anne and St James presenting the outcomes of the Forum at the final plenary session of the Ecotourism Conference. Photos: Tristam Denyer

The Urban Nature-Youth Ecotourism Forum was supported by:

Reef HQ TownsvilleJames Cook University Tropical North QueenslandCreek to Coral

Kenya Wildlife ServiceCubes Cape TownReef Check Australia

Ecotourism AustraliaWorld Wildlife FundBurdekin Dry Tropics