This past weekend Tokyo was filled with people celebrating sakura (cherry blossom) season. The cherry blossoms are fully bloomed at most parks in Tokyo. To learn more about the cherry blossom season, please read our recent Sakura Season blog post. Our partner in Tokyo enjoyed a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party on Saturday at Ueno Park and was kind enough to send us a few pictures. The weather was beautiful and the Ueno Zoo had just welcomed 2 pandas from China, who also drew a large crowd.
Unfortunately with the situation in Japan, many tourists overseas will not be able to see the scenic beauty of the cherry blossoms this spring. So, our partners wanted to share the following pictures with our friends and clients who were unable to come to Japan to see sakura.
Global Basecamps is pleased to announce we will be matching donations to the Real Medicine Foundation’s Japan earthquake and tsunami relief dollar for dollar up to $2,500. Without spending additional money, you can double your donation to the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief fund.
As of March 28th the Real Medicine Foundation has partnered with a Japanese non-profit in Tokyo, Japanese Emergency NGO (JEN) to deliver aid and supplies to those most affected. JEN is an officially registered Japanese non-profit founded in 1994 in response to the humanitarian crisis in Bosnia, and has since then been conducting relief around the world for victims of war, internal conflicts and natural disasters. JEN is focusing on providing food and other needed supplies to those sheltered in Tokyo and in the earthquake/tsunami affected northern zones. The JEN teams remain busy on the ground in the tsunami affected areas by providing food, shelter, water and other basic necessities to the thousands of people stranded in shelters.
Global Basecamps is sponsoring a video series on sustainable tourism. In the first video, Dr. Jess Ponting walks viewers through the basic concepts of sustainable tourism. Dr. Ponting is a professor at San Diego State University. He specializes in the use of sustainable tourism for community development. His areas of interest include sustainable tourism, surfing tourism, volunteer tourism, cross cultural interactions in tourism, and the social construction of tourist spaces. Currently he is researching peak experiences in surfing tourism, the interface between traditional systems of reef resource ownership and sustainable marine tourism in the Pacific Islands, and much more involving sustainable tourism.
Additionally, Dr Ponting is developing the world’s first Center for Surf Research (CSR) at San Diego State University. The CSR is a non-profit research and teaching organization that will lead surf tourism to a more sustainable path by:
Generating, and disseminating specialist knowledge to governments, the surf industry, tourism developers, destination communities, non-profits, and tourists;
Shaping responsible global citizens through life-changing experiential learning opportunities for students and the wider community;
Inspiring, encouraging, and facilitating active stakeholder engagement with the social and economic development of destination communities, sustainable use of their resources, and conservation of their critical environments
Sustainable tourism in simple terms is tourism that does not deplete economic, social/cultural and environmental resources. The ultimate goals of sustainable tourism are to provide a high-quality experience for the visitors, strengthen the host cultures and communities, and to develop tourism-related livelihoods while preserving the surrounding environment. Sustainable tourism is widely considered to be the fastest growing segment of the world’s largest industry.
At Global Basecamps we are major advocates of knowing before you go, as evidenced
here and here. In order to truly understand and appreciate
another country’s culture it is important to learn about their social norms and the proper
etiquette there. As you start your journey to explore another country, don’t you think it
would be nice to know a little about where and what you are diving into? When you are
packing for your much needed vacation I urge you to take some time to research the
cultural expectations and norms common to your host country.
Over the next couple of weeks I will give you some extra helpful information
on what to know before you go, starting with Tanzania cultural norms and expectations. I will give you some advice on how to be a
green and respectable tourist.
Disregarding the cultural norms and customs of the country you are visiting is extremely
offensive to the local people. Your waiter, taxi driver, tour guide, and the local people
will be greatly appreciative of you making the extra effort to understand their culture and
demonstrating this. Even if you think you have already read about the culture, make the
extra effort and learn about a certain cultural tradition that they have to make your
experience that much better, and gain a deeper understanding of the local people and
customs. There are plenty of dos and don'ts that people should know about before
taking their excursions across the world. Simply being respectful to the local people and
showing that you want to learn about their culture and day to day way of life will go a
long way in enhancing your cultural experience.
We were recently visited by our partners in Egypt and were able to hear a first hand account of the Egyptian revolution that recently occurred. As you may know, protests began on January 25th and thousands filled the streets to protest poverty, extensive unemployment, government corruption, and oppressive governance of President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years. According to our partners, the protests were peaceful, as they strived to get “the people’s Egypt” back. The 18 days of pro-democracy demonstrations ended with the resignation of Mubarak on February 11, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians filled the streets and celebrated the end of three decades of authoritarian rule.
Almost 2 months after the upheaval in Egypt began, the dust has settled and the country is peaceful. Many countries have lifted their travel advisory to Egypt, including Italy, Spain, and the UK among several others. Millions of Egyptians voted on March 19th, gladly waiting for hours to cast their ballots on the constitutional changes. According to a recent article in Reuters Mohammed Ahmed Attiyah, the head of the judicial oversight committee, announced a 41 percent turnout, saying that, “Egyptians came forward to have their say in the future of the country.” The turnout was very high after years of political indifference in response to oppression. While Mubarak was in office, the election turnouts were very low and were routinely manipulated. The Egyptians voted to approve a referendum on constitutional changes, with 77% voting ‘yes’. Some of the key components of the changes include reducing presidential terms from six years to four years and limiting the president to two terms, obliging the president to choose a deputy within 30 days of election, and installing new criteria for presidential candidates.