It is important that land owners and villagers who try to embrace Sustainable Development and Eco-cultural Tourism are helped by bodies like the STTF with explanation of concerns and good ideas and support for what could be done and feasible, rather than scared away by sheer militancy and emotive knee-jerk oppositions.
Afterall, villagers and land owners have much more at stake since they impinge on their own sustainability as a community, family unit or corporation. There is some justification to view their stakes as being more significant than “transients” who are also significant but less so for bra, bra bra… Surely, one must avoid displaying arrogance of what may resemble colonist of past era who prescribed what would be best for their native subjects base on their own mindsets, preferring to see natives poor, backward and cute for tourism.
To me eco-cultural tourism done right is a good response to Sustainable Development for Conservation. It provides the economic benefits for the stakeholders as well as funds for sustainable conservation. I wish STTF would talk more about developing tourism than to just to fight for turf-control.
For example, with respect to this Superprison, was there any eco-tourism in place or in plan? I am not awareof any interest expressed regarding the leprosy mission and later drug rehabilitation centre located therein before. As the Sustainable Tourism Task Force, do we have any eco-tourism plan to suggest other than just to object?! The lesson is to have eco-tourism plans in place to give economic value to different locations rather than to neglect them and gear to fight once anyone trying to make something out of them. I embrace the spirit of public-private participation wherein NGOs are involved with development of sensitive sites. I beleive the STTF should work with land owners and villagers to attain Sustainable Development of eco-cultural tourism. The task of developing eco-tourism and implementing effective conservation measures are so costly that developers need help too! From a business point of view, why would anyone want to pay dearly to create and maintain destination experience when they can capitalise on the scenic and natural assets on-location which are god-given. It makes buisness sense to conserve, sustain and capitalise on them. Conservation and development should not be conflicting. It could be the stakeholders who are fighting turf battles.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not in favour of the Super-prison located at Heilingchau; I would put it on the island of Chek Lap Kok airport where there is plenty of industrial land looking for someone to use, and staff can travel by MTR to work. I just wish thoise who care could be more proactive.