Declaration of Bregenzerwald

The TO DO! award winners since 1995 have joined together for the first international workshop in Au/Bregenzerwald (Austria) to discuss issues of socially responsible and ecologically sound tourism and to explore the possibilities of future cooperation among the TO DO! award winner projects.

  1. Recognizing the fact that regional and community based tourism development is an important tool for poverty reduction, environmental conservation, sustainable development, as well as justice and peace the TO DO! winners meeting in Au/Bregenzerwald have decided to create the Global TO DO! Winners Forum for socially responsible tourism.
  2. Community and regional participation are a vivid example of the democratic process where communities and regional values determine development. It also became clear that participation is vital to the sustainability of TO DO! projects, considering that cultural diversity produces different kinds of participation.
  3. Workshop participants are concerned that in most countries participation of communities in the development of tourism policies is insufficient or non existent. Projects demand greater involvement in policy making on a regional and national level (Agenda 21).
  4. Socially responsible tourism requires the involvement of stakeholders in participatory planning, decision making and implementation of projects. Governments, NGOs, tour operators, tourism projects and local communities are requested to create an enabling environment so that participation can be realized. This includes the recognition of the importance to work towards a better understanding of gender relations.
  5. Socially responsible tourism projects especially in developing countries make an important contribution to the local economy providing opportunities for participation in the control of employment, management and to contribute to the preservation of culture and nature. Socially responsible tourism projects can enable the people to adapt to changing economic conditions, as it is for example clearly demonstrated by the regional development project "Nature & Life Bregenzerwald".
  6. It is also important to note that socially responsible tourism projects maintain the economic benefits within the communities and regions.
  7. All the project representatives realize the need for joint networking and marketing in order to enhance the visibility of the socially responsible tourism concept and of the TO DO! award winner projects leading to longterm economic sustainability.
  8. The TO DO! award winners place the challenge to consumers, travel trade and governments to embrace and support responsible tourism, and to recognize the value of authenticity of each host environment.
  9. Quite a few of the winner projects face severe human rights problems in their countries such as Brazil (land use conflicts), Bali (environmental demage around Sua Bali), Belize (logging rights), Ecuador (oil exploration), Canada (land use conflicts, Riding Mountain National Park) and Palestine (political conflicts) on land owned by indigenous peoples. The TO DO! winners express their intent to show mutual support and solidarity for these projects. Participants especially deplore that the TO DO! winner from Palestine were denied permission to leave the country.
  10. The lack of land tenure is often a big obstacle for communities to develop sustainable tourism. The international community should encourage governments to support indigenous peoples and communities in their land conflicts.
  11. The TO DO! award winners from developing countries are faced with the lack of recognition by governments and the tourism authorities. It was noted that there is an opportunity for governments and funding organisations to invest in the human resource and product development, as well as marketing of socially responsible tourism projects.

Considering the above, the TO DO! award winners have decided to establish the Global TO DO! Winners Forum to advance socially responsible tourism. The Forum is looking forward to the involvement of future TO DO! award winners.

We will be starting immediately with the development of an operations plan and a strategic plan which will guide us through the next two years.

The award winning projects can continue to count on the support of their partners Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung (Institute for Tourism and Development)/ Germany, TOURISM WATCH/Germany and the Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism (ECTWT)/Hongkong during the organizing phase which will determine the future structure of the TO DO! Winners Forum.

We, the TO DO! award winners, declare to continue to adhere to the criteria of the TO DO! award and to promote the spirit of this declaration.

Au/Bregenzerwald, October 20th 2000

  • Australia: Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre
  • Austria: Natur und Leben Bregenzerwald
  • Belize: Toledo Ecotourism Association
  • Brazil: Associação dos Moradores da Prainha do Canto Verde
  • Canada: Shawenequanape Kipichewin (Anishinabe Village)
  • Ecuador: Amazon Headwaters with the Huaorani
  • Germany: Lehm- + Backsteinstraße - eine Initiative des FAL e.V.
  • Indonesia: Sua Bali
  • Palestine: International Centre of Bethlehem
  • Sri Lanka: Woodlands Network
  • Tanzania: Cultural Tourism Programme
  • Venezuela: Corpomedina C.A. - Natur - Reisen - Begegnung