Conversation with Joshua Berman

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Josue
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Post by Josue »

Hello, people of Planeta -- thanks for inviting me.

What am I watching? The increasing number of companies that arrange service and education-oriented experiences abroad. These include non-profits, sister cities, churches, universities, reality tours, leadership trainings -- the list goes on. Inevitably some of these operations will be more successful at creating a fun, meaningful experience for the participant while maintaining a positive, sustainable impact on the host community.

What gets my goat? The continued dilution and bastardization of the "eco" prefix, at least when it comes to -lodges, -resorts, -adventure, -etc. What does it mean today? What does it mean to you? I try to only use it for smallish ventures that are community-based and locally-inspired, though even these guidelines are quite vague. "Ecotourism" has many warm, fuzzy connotations, but I fear its definition has become as broad as to include any tourism other than cruise ships or Cancun.

What gives me hope? See item one above. More volunteer- work- study- live-abroad programs means there is more demand, i.e. more people who recognize the value in spending time beyond their borders.

planeta
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budget travel

Post by planeta »

Quick note - great to read this Q&A with Joshua online Budget Travel
http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/cont ... 01376.html
Last edited by planeta on Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

planeta
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publishing

Post by planeta »

Joshua, you are one of the rare authors who have an incredibly rich blog, not to mention overall web presence. What is your view of the future of the publishing industry? How long do you think your books will be in print? How long will you remain the author of Moon Belize and Nicaragua?

advlife
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Greenwashing = Green exhaustion?

Post by advlife »

I wanted to bring you back to the topic of green-washing and the abused prefix

Josue
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Post by Josue »

How long do you think your books will be in print? How long will you remain the author of Moon Belize and Nicaragua?
My three book titles will stay in print as long as I am willing to keep them updated and as long as they sell enough for my publisher to keep printing them. Although it is currently a little trickier than it once was to update my books (re: baby, mortgage, job), I have still figured out how to make it to Belize and Nicaragua and keep the books updated.

Speaking of which, my newest Nicaragua book (coauthored with Randy Wood) is finally available, the 3rd edition of Moon Nicaragua:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1598800841/?ta ... culturf-20

stop all this

planeta
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2009

Post by planeta »

Hello, Joshua

Just to bring us up to speed ... do you have any new speaking engagements or publications in 2009?

Josue
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Post by Josue »

If you were to address a conference, what points would you make about making tourism more responsible?
I think I would start on the local community level. Look at what Hickatee Cottages does in southern Belize, trying to approach 100 percent local purchasing (or as close as they feel they can come and still run their business). This simple goal has far-reaching ripple effects -- it helps the entire region see the benefits of tourism, i.e. the money actually can spread around. And it strengthens the community of tourism folks who need to work together to promote their region, not just their individual business.

Number two would be implementing low-impact green practices for energy, water, food, and waste.

And I think number three would be finding a balance between highlighting the local cultures, allowing people to experience them, and not exploiting them, or portraying them like they are zoo creatures (as has happened to some "cultural tours" in northern Thailand).

planeta
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Learning Spanish

Post by planeta »

Twenty years ago I took my first Spanish language classes in Guatemala. It was difficult to get information about the immersion classes abroad and it was one big adventure. Is it still, I wonder?

I read with glee your wonderful feature about Spanish language classes in Nicaragua -- http://www.transitionsabroad.com/public ... agua.shtml

No question for you, but feel free to comment about learning a foreign language abroad!

planeta
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New edition

Post by planeta »

The new edition of your Belize book has just arrived and it looks great! Any big changes in this edition?

Josue
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Post by Josue »

I expanded the section on southern Belize, since there is so much going there

planeta
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Re: Conversation with Joshua Berman

Post by planeta »

Greetings, Josh

Any news to add to our conversation?

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