2017 Country Spotlight
Planeta.com's Top 10

editing: Planeta.com

2017 Country Spotlight

New Zealand
South Africa

On the Radar in 2014: Cities

Berlin, Germany
Las Vegas, USA
Lima, Peru
London, England
Macau, China
Mossel Bay, South Africa
Oaxaca de Juárez, México
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Quito, Ecuador
Sydney, Australia
Wellington, New Zealand


new zealand

Top 10

Friends and colleagues working on responsible travel and ecotourism have shared a number of inspiring stories from New Zealand, the Land of the Long White Cloud. We’ve been updating our guides to Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and Queenstown in addition to essays on Maori Culture and travel tech tips featuring Flickr New Zealand. In development is a guide to New Zealand Slang just in time now for the World Rugby Cup. On the playlist we recommend New Zealand’s national radio broadcaster Radio NZ with programs including Te Ahi Kaa and the Darwin Lectures. On the twitter front, check out Simon Young, Te Ara and Good Magazine.

What we’d like to see: On top of our wishlist for New Zealand is the development of the proposed Indigenous Ecotourism Conference. Could we be seeing friends in Hokianga? Stay tuned. If I do get the chance to visit NZ in the near future, it will include a visit to Wellington’s Te Papa where we’ve had an ongoing a Conversation with OurSpace.

Call for photos: Ecotourism Oceania

Look at that building


Let's be optimistic about Mexico . I've written about the country since 1992 and it has been a labor of love with rich personal rewards, but I'm getting frustrated that many of the proposals developed in the past decade simply have not come to fruition.

This month Oaxaca plays host to a responsible tourism fair which begins Sunday with a very slow walk and photo safari in Llano Park. It's the 10th annual event which we've pleased to partner with artisans, language schools, travel operators and other friends in Oaxaca and it promises to be best event yet.

Online I'm collaborating with editors on the wiki i updating regional resources, including guides to Mexico City, Guanajuato and Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre). On the Planeta 1.0 site, look for updates as well on the popular Mexico Guide

What we'd like to see: On top of our wishlist for Mexico is an integrated strategy for tourism development and marketing. Tourism development has been on the menu for various government ministries and ngos, but there's little evidence that the players are communicating with one another and very little to show how the services can be accessed by, well, tourists. Efforts seem hit and miss because too many players are competing with one another instead of cooperating. Tourism promotion remains a top-down affair with rhetoric about ecotourism and adventure travel, but little conversation with the communities and visitors. On my personal wishlist is finding new places to sell postcards from Oaxaca!

Call for photos: North American Ecotourism


Among the signs of all-around positive change, Ken Burns' wonderful documentary about the park system and the National Park Service on Twitter!. For those who love responsible travel, ecotourism and indigenous tourism options, the pieces of the puzzle appear to be falling into place.

On top of our wishlist for the USA is a big ask - less politics as usual and more integration. If we can't agree on some things, can we search for common ground? I'm disappointed that we had zero U.S. nominees for the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award from the USA and would be keen to see some examples of what indigenous peoples would like Usians and foreign visitors to know. We'd also like to see some forwarding-thinking U.S. universities walk the talk of responsible tourism and participate more in open forums and dialogues about tourism.

Keep an eye on state guides such as Nevada . In the past few years I've been lucky enough to visit some beautiful parks and museums including

Valley of Fire

lost city

red rock canyon

Call for photos: North American Ecotourism
american environmental leaders 2008

Australia, think smart


We are consistently impressed by what's happening across Australia. Before my first trip Down Under, I started my research with Radio National programs such as Bush Telegraph and Late Night Live. No wonder Australia ranks high on our playlist. The home to aboriginal tourism, we're a big fan of the SBS series, the First Australians and Radio National's Awaye. Australia even does the dead tree well with Martin Hugh's exceptional slow guides to Melbourne and Sydney.

Over the past few years I've been working with locals in updating the wiki's regional guides: Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Tasmania,Victoria and Western Australia. These feed into the more traditional features on Planeta.com.

What we'd like to see: On top of our wishlist for Australia is a more concerted effort on part of the tourism leaders to work with local entrepreneurs, including indigenous tourism owners, to better communicate what's on offer through the Web. From this side of the Pacific, the efforts seem fragmented and hard to find. Here's to a new and improved use of Web 2.0 as documented in our presentation Victoria 2.0

Call for photos: Ecotourism Oceania


Thames Barrier Park @ London 05.2011


England makes the Top 10 list thanks to Ron's first trip to England in 2011. Kudos to our editors updating the guides to London and the UK-focused who’s who in responsible tourism? (also available as a popular, 2,000+ views presentation) on Slideshare. Highlights elsewhere on the Web include the work of our friends at ICRT (and the beautifully titled and irreverent Irresponsible Tourism Forum) and the always inspiring Green Traveller. Twitterfans, join the Carrotmob!

What we’d like to see: On top of our wishlist for England is improved contact with government officials. Currently, we have none, zero, naught. Over the past 20 years we have heard a lot from the journalists, academics and ngos, but nothing from anyone protecting parks or leading tourism campaigns. We’d also like to see discussions that aren’t parrot shagging or holier-than-thou soapbox guilt trip diatribes … something more along the lines of Fighting Talk, please! Finally, we would like to follow-up on a comment made by Valere Tjolle – could we see more travel events with free wi-fi?!

Call for photos: Ecotourism Europe

leohickman on the hot seat

Ecotourism Handbook for Ireland


Ireland deserves a top spot with the publication of the Ecotourism Handbook for Ireland available for download as a PDF file.

What we'd like to see: On top of our wishlist for Ireland is for national leaders to incorporate the eco-friendly tips into tourism promotion.
Also ... podcasts explaining Irish culture and heritage
A new edition of Ecoescape Ireland ... in print and something for the e-book reader/ipod crowd that doesn't want their travel info bound in a dead tree format

Call for photos: Ecotourism Europe


Flickr Stars: Tourism Pure


We're keeping an eye on Peru, home to the Nazca Lines and Machu Picchu. The capital Lima is ...

What we'd like to see: More info on cycling and tips for foodies interested in the potato.

south africa

The sporting world looks to South Africa in 2010 for the Fifa World Cup and we are paying attention to how the country connects the thousands of sports fans with places to go and people to meet in between the games. We're inspired by the work of Kurt Ackerman via twitter and the always inspiring Afrika T Blog . The government offices have also taken up Web 2.0, including Cape Town with its own Live it, love it Flickr group and the country could easily qualify for the Spotlight Award.

What we'd like to see: On top of our wishlist for South Africa is a successful World Cup that shows the world good sport and good tourism. Over the coming months look for updates including a revised guide to Cape Town and Things to do. In the works is our guide to South Africa slang.

Call for photos: Ecotourism Africa



Sweden enters the Top10 thanks to the participation of ITBW Award winner Nutti Sami Siida and the numerous edits on this wiki about local culture.

About this list

How was this list created? It's based on a number of factors, including:
  • number of planeta.com articles
  • editors who contribute to this wiki
  • number of reliable contacts
  • commitment toward developing specific projects
  • momentum carrying forward
  • number of travel operators featured in the world travel directory
  • programs on the playlist
  • participation in our awards
  • ron's invitations to speak or deliver workshops

We'll revisit this list to see how things are progressing. Suggestions are welcome.


Music for Airports
Poi Dog Pondering
Green, rem

Top 10 Foods in Oaxaca

Chapulines (Grasshoppers)
Chocolate con Agua
Chocolate Atole
Conejo = Rabbit
Guajalote = Turkey
Versa (Kale)



On the radar

it couldn't get any nower

Comala Bar

Livestreaming Audio