D r. Theodore Panayotou, Program Director of the International Environment Program at Harvard Institute for International Development, and Dr. Hana Ayala, originator of the TCR concept, chaired the symposium on "The Challenge of Experience-Management: Linking Quality with Sustainability".
Presented by: Theodore Panayotou, Harvard Institute
Notes to Dr. Panayotou's presentation
remarks about the need to focus on the up-market segment of tourism provoked a lot of questions.
Specifically, many groups feared that by focusing on high rates (less people and more money), a substantial number of people would be taken out of the market, since they would not be able to afford the high prices.
This strategy would also greatly constrain and restrict the economic opportunities for local and indigenous communities, relegating their participation to the low end of the service sector instead of providing opportunities for entrepreneurship at the local level, such as for smaller scale tourist facilities run by the local communities.
responded to such concerns by stating that opening Panama's natural and cultural resources to all kinds of tourism would impose a cost on those resources that would not be sustainable in the long-term.
That does not necessarily mean that only five-star hotel tourists could bring benefits to the economy.
For the lower-end of tourism you could have ecotourism activities with very low costs and impacts, where the net benefits could still be great, provided these people are guided and taught about the surroundings.
expressed that there is a lot of evidence around the world showing that the damage caused to the environment (national parks, coral reefs, etc.) is proportional to the number of people that are let into those areas.
also reminded conference participants that it is important not to confuse quality and scale.