Tourism Lecture Focuses on Sustainability

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(Photo by Chris Samuels)

(Photo by Chris Samuels)
(Photo by Chris Samuels)

 

The Global Change and Sustainability Center will ask students today during its seminar if they would rather go to Kenya or Massachusetts next summer.

Kelly Bricker, interim chair with the U’s College of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, will speak today on sustainable tourism and resources. Bricker researches the subject, as well as natural resource management and how traveling adds CO2 to the environment. The lecture centers on how to measure the positive impact a vacation has, whether it’s in the United States or Africa.

Last summer, Sam Katz chose Kenya.

“Kisii was just beautiful, with rolling valleys, covered in tea leaves,” Katz said.

Katz’s family friend Brian Lilly asked him to go to Kenya to help with a solar-powered pumps project. Easily built and repaired as well as portable, the devices save time and energy. Before the pumps, locals had to carry water from streams, which sometimes took hours to get to.

Katz, who traveled to Kenya with humanitarian goals, said he worries about the cultural impacts associated with all types of tourism.

“Even with this when you’re trying to help, there’s a problem with just having Westerners around in general,” he said. “People say, ‘You think you’re gonna help people? You’re just a salesman for a Western way of life.’ ”

Mark Lavelle chose Massachusetts. This summer, Lavelle, a sophomore in psychology, went to spend time with his dad’s side of the family.

“A lot of my family members expressed gratitude that I even came,” he said. “My grandparents are happy when they have all their grandchildren in the same place.”

Lavelle said living in the U.S. makes him realize he has “a lot of privileges that come at other people’s expense.” His friends, he said, have traveled to Latin America, and their stories have heightened those feelings for him.

“I have a couple friends that have visited Ecuador and Guatemala and have done development tourism there,” Lavelle said. “It seems really noble.”

The tourism lecture starts at 4 p.m. in room 295 of the Frederick Albert Sutton Building. Other lectures in the series will be held on alternating Tuesdays at the same time.

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@SeymourSkimmer