Professional crumple of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) was inevitable?
The professional crumple of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) was inevitable as differences between the TIES sitting leadership and ecotourism practitioners were increasing. TIES leadership was reportedly hiding critical information including its financial sheets from its members and directors, claim former TIES directors in their statement that came in international media.
Former directors who left TIES said in a press statement issued from San José, Costa Rica on February 26, 2015 that in recent years they had concern regarding access to important ITC held information and despite numerous requests over the years by the ITC’s TIES Advisory Committee for information about the organization’s status (complete financials, accounting, operations, etc.), the ITC had been unwilling to share.
TIES will continue as an entity but not as the world leader of ecotourism as almost all of ecotourism experts left TIES last month and launched Global Ecotourism Network (GEN). Now there are no information on TIES website about its team, its experts and its directors and operational time of TIES head office is now only 2 hours as mentioned on its website.
“TIES main number is answered from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon MT Mountain Time USA (Greenwich -7), says TIES website.
Ecotourism experts believe that TIES professional disaster is an example for other organizations that ecotourism is a philosophy, commitment and resolve not a profession and practice and information about critical decisions and financial health of an organization must be accessible to senior members as well as to directors.
Now the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is no more a global leader of ecotourism as all members of TIES program of the International Tourism Collective (ITC) resigned last month; causing the virtual academic and professional collapse of TIES and launching of Global Ecotourism Network.
Almost all former directors of TIES belonging to Costa Rica, Kenya, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Jordan, USA, Canada, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Thailand left resigned from TIES on February 28, 2015 and moved forward by announcing Global Ecotourism Network
The new initiative Global Ecotourism Network is supported by leading world best ecotourism experts and professionals while almost all former directors of TIES resigned from their positions. Those who resigned include Glenn Jampol (TIES director 2005), Karen Lewis (TIES director 2005), Hitesh Mehta (TIES director 1999), Tony Charters (TIES director 2000‐ 2009, 2012), Ariane Janer (TIES director 2010), Judy Kepher‐Gona (TIES director 2009), Masaru Takayama (TIES director 2005), Albert Teo (TIES director 1996‐2004, 2010), Nabil Tarazi (TIES director 2014), Rob Holmes (TIES director 2014), Deirdre Campbell (TIES director 2009), Palitha Gurusinghe (TIES director 2007), Rick MacLeod Farley (TIES director 2010), Julio Bin (TIES director 2014) and Supaporn Prachumpai (TIES director 2014).
Now Glenn Jampol is chairing the transition team who is based in Costa Rica and has participated as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and then the Advisory Committee of the ITC’s TIES program for over 11 years. During much of that time he was also the president of Costa Rica’s widely recognized National Association of Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism (CANAECO).
“As an Advisory Committee, we had worked diligently and tirelessly, and in some cases we invested our own money to support the advances and survival of The International Ecotourism Society and subsequently, the ITC’s TIES program. We reinforced the initial vision and fundamental work of the founding members and more recently of the chair, Dr. Kelly Bricker. We are honored to have participated in the growth and past success of this important global organization that began in 1990.
However, in recent years we have had concern regarding access to important ITC held information. Despite numerous requests over the years by the ITC’s TIES Advisory Committee for information about the organization’s status (complete financial, accounting, operations, etc.), the ITC has been unwilling to share what we consider essential information we had a right to see as members of the organization. In 2014, the ITC removed, without notice or explanation, the TIES program Advisory Committee’s involvement and participation in ITC’s programs, by among other things, removing each of the below identified members from the ITC/TIES website. As a result, the entire Advisory Committee of the ITC’s TIES program decided unanimously that resignation from the ITC was the appropriate response to our current situation, consistent with our belief about the ethical and fiduciary responsibilities that we bear.
We remain however, committed to supporting the global growth and evolution of authentic ecotourism and sustainable tourism”, says Jampol.
The latest situation is of course a negative impact on already fragile ecotourism industry. It is also a sad news for people like founding President Megan Epler Wood and other founding members of TIES but there is no doubt that since long TIES leadership looks more interested in holding international galas and events instead of producing research papers, guidelines and other content that was a feature of TIES during Megan Epler Wood and her followers till year 2008. I hope GEN will more concentrate on content, trainings, manual, research papers and ecotourism data collections instead of becoming The International Events Services (TIES).
Writer Agha Iqrar Haroon is a former Consultant to Ministry of Tourism Government of Pakistan and former President Ecotourism Society Pakistan and former member of TIES (1996-2008). Currently he is working as the President of The Region Initiative (TRI) and Development Observer and ecotourism Consultant.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk and Eurasian News. Assumptions made within the analysis may not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.