ABSTRACT

Fifteen years into the 'eco' tourism boom, Indigenous Peoples find themselves lacking the capacity to evaluate relevant policy forums and programmes. Governments and development agencies have developed a global framework for 'sustainable' tourism, without engaging the very peoples affected. There are vast discrepancies in approaches to 'development' between industry and Indigenous Peoples. In the corporate/consumer world, governments are sewing up trade regimes, putting peoples and communities in bondage for the sake of economic growth. Among Indigenous Peoples, the bottom line is not money but the sacred contracts sustaining life systems. Effective cross cultural dialogue is welcoming of the contentious issues. The process is non-discriminatory and creates safe ground for everyone involved. There is open brainstorming and consideration of solutions. It is time to start this listening journey, with sincerity and humility -particularly from major industry players such as the WTO-OMT. For this type of dialogue process to succeed, there must be built-in provisions for parity.