A Nature tour with Champion-trees seekers Enrico & Erna Liebenberg.
I was so happy to share time (lots of time) along the last month of October ,with the most well-renowned people in the world about CHAMPION TREES: Enrico & Erna. Coming from South Africa in holidays, they chose Almeria (Spain) to meet good friends as the Shaw family (David & Elaine). Uouh… Almeria as an international meeting point for renowned naturalists and conservationists. I feel so happy and so proud.
The Liebenberg are authors of the internationally renowned book WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS. A master piece of art and a collection of excellent information about the biggest and oldest trees in South Africa, that huge country that no one knows as well as Enrico and Erna.
In our 4 days discovering Almeria mountains and countryside, we visited many natural monuments, also “champions”… as the holm oak named “La encina del Marchal del Abogado” or the monumental cypresses aka “los cipreses de D Gonzalo” and much more. The group was amazed by the high quality of our landscape at South Spain and the excellent level of environmental conservation happening in Almeria mountains and flatlands, while looking for our Almeria champion trees.
Till recent times, travelling in a cruise was something only reserved for privileged people, or at least so was understood by local ones here, awaiting for tourists in the european ports; but time has been passing by and cruise business has evolved in a way in which it can be understood so simply as a different way for travelling, discovering the lands from the sea, stopping consciously at any destination and mixing yourself in the mistery of local civilizations, lost cultures… always seen from a different point of view.
But there is a moment in this evolutionary business in which travellers do not know where to go, where aremajor cruise ports in Europe, Africa or any other place in the world. The traditional big destinations are collapsed by tourists, and new travellers want to make their trip in a very different way:enjoying in tailored tours, being attended professionaly and paying no more than really required.
In this way we need to make a difference with the concept ot what are indeed major cruise ports in Europe or wherever, and where are indeed major cruise ports in Europe. Saying major does not mean to say the biggest one, or the port with more passesgers crossing in it. To say MAJOR is to say the best, the main destination, the authentic place you are really looking for in your holidays, small towns or hidden national parks as here they are in the spanish Mediterranean, undiscovered for cruise passengers till recently.
Almeria port at south Spain it is an example of these emerging major ports in Europe; with its amazing permanent blue sky so in winter as in summer, the quality of the air, the unique landscape so arid and dry, the hospitality of its people and the simple thing of being in Spain in a different way… make a difference with other crowded destinations, that of course will be also visited along trips.
Although Almeria is a small town with unique culture and ways of life, there are both an international port and airport that connect this emerging town just to the future, under a different point of understanding what is really travelling in a cruise.
So many places to be visited in the shore excursions, such as Spaghetti-western desert, the moor valleys, high peaks or white-washed villages.
Look for Almeria when you check-in your travel and do not forget to remind your to show you the port from the top of the town (attached photo); really an amazing landscape view before returning to the ship. Waiting for you at the peer… don ´t forget to book your tailored trip in advance. Keep in touch… in one of major cruise ports in Europe: Almeria port.
Nowadays anyone talk here and there about green-tourism, eco-tourism, responsible tourism and more and more and more ridiculous concepts and ways of continuing doing the same unsustainable activities than in the past, but washed up with a green name. Under the name of responsible tourism destinations I have seen in recent times how so many natural habitats have been destroyed and how many local populations have been economically ruined. So when we are talking about Responsible tourism and Responsible tourism destinations, what are we really supposed to be talking about?.
In past times people travelled not as tourists but as travellers; this healthy concept changed in the last decades and indeed persons became objects to be profitably and easily commerced with. In this way, big resorts were built everywhere by big companies with the only purpose of doing quick money, selling sun and beach in the best case, but really always looking for profit, more profit and again more profit, and never looking for achieving good and unforgetable experiences for clients, that now they have been changed their status for bieng considered simply tourists. The local populations changed also their roles and they were promised lots of work and jobs with this new way of economical activity that changed forever their lives, their culture and their lands. Work was finally low quality employment and no more, and once the european economical recession begun, everything became worst and worst.
Big companies business grew up and up till finally it was collapsed by its own weight, and tourists begun to think by themselves again, and said NO to this situation; they were and are always the owners of their money and their time, and it was unlikable to be treated as a consum object. This was the real start of Responsible tourism, trying to change everything and understanding the concept under four points of view:
– I am not a tourist, I am a person travelling and looking for new experiencies and alive knowledge.
– I choose where I go and what I do at any moment. I am the owner of my money and my time.
– I want to collaborate with the local populations I am visiting, so they can see tourism not as an industry but as a way of life, as something positive also for them, as a real way of life that helps them to preserve their culture.
– I love local culture and wild Nature in the places I want to visit, and I will not allow none of them to be destroyed in my name.
So a responsible tourism destination must be really implicated in respect to Nature, sustainable growth of population, economical return to locals and full respect for people travelling in the territory, always considered as travellers and never as tourists. Nature and local culture in one hand, experience and knowledge in the other one; that is indeed responsible tourism, also known as ecotourism or green tourism.
The problem is that this new concept has also been discovered by the big monster of the macro-economical system and they are trying to put their claws on it, doing things finally again in the same way as in the past were done, but with different names and under different concepts; in spanish we have a proverb for that situation, and is that we have the same dogs but with different collars.
I will never understand responsible tourism destinations if they are not leadered and leaded by local persons living in visited lands; I know it is a very long way to achieve it, but really it is the only way for sustainable tourism in a responsible way.
Since our activity as Wildlife Guide Almeria started in 2010 we have been always looking for meeting points among travellers and locals, so both of them feel a part of the tours activity; since we started we have been spreading the word of conservation and sustainability although sometimes it could have had a bad effect in our profit; since we started enjoying really with what we liked so much, we have been allied with local schools and education for building a better world and helping to fix the young population to the lands where they were grown up.
Is all this stuff to create a Responsible tourism destination?. I don´t know really… it is perhaps your time to say if it is good or if it is not. Anyway we/I will continue walking by the same way and in the same direction.
If you want to organize a free talk about Almeria and/or responsible tourism destinations, please do not hesitate to mail us. Only transport and extra expenses would be required to be covered, mainly for other countries different of Spain. Thinking in a different way. Almeria: come and see.