Cradle of Ecotourism

related: definitions, iye
handout:talking is fine but then you have to act
editing: Exploring Ecotourism

2012 was the 10th anniversary of the Year of Ecotourism.

We have seen relatively little adoption of 'ecotourism' in the past decade and many people think 'ecotourism' has reached its use-by-date.

Back in 2002 during the Quebec Ecotourism Summit Ron Mader asked Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, who coined the word 'ecotourism' if the word would exist in another ten years. What we've seen is a constant decline in the usage of 'ecotourism' (see chart below).

Elsewhere on the Web

Google 'ecotourism'
Newsgoogle 'ecotourism'
Ecotourism - Slideshare
Ecotourism - Gadling
Ecotourism - ECOCLUB
Ecotourism - Yahoo Groups
Ecotourism Forum - TripAdvisor



Ecotourism Graph

Ecotourism Associations around the World

Featured Flickr Photography Groups

North America

South America

Ecotourism Europe

Ecotourism Africa

Ecotourism Asia

Ecotourism Oceania


City Parks

World Parks

World Energy






Tracking a decline...


"What is ecotourism? - An Innovative Tool to Promote the Conservation of Wild Areas. Often misused as a catch phrase describing nature travel, ecotourism actually represents a means of protection for remote wild areas through sound and sustainable economic development. To truly be successful, ecotour operators not only tread lightly but must also set limits upon their use of the land and its resources." - Alaska Wildland Adventures, Our Environmental Commitment

"We want to adhere to our original intent of introducing people, in an intimate way, to one of the world’s greatest places, in the hopes that they too would feel that the area was worth conserving for the generations to come." - The Boat Company, Why We Are and Eco Cruise Line?

"We believe that conservation travel is the next big trend in ecotourism." - Brad Nahill and Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, co-founders, SEEtheWILD, About SEEtheWILD

"The story was exciting. Rainforests are teeming with birds and wildlife, and visitors could experience some of the last great preserved sanctuaries on earth. They were no longer just uncomfortable, mosquito-ridden jungles." - Megan Epler Wood, founder of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), on the development of ecotourism in 1980s, Ecotourism Then and Now: Ecotourism Society Launched in 1990 to Assist Parks

"The number-one hallmark of early ecotourism was its focus on quality local guides. Guiding in countries like Ecuador and Costa Rica became a science and an art form. Local guides had to speak good English, recognize birds in Spanish, English and Latin, and feel comfortable explaining local cultures. As tours delved into the rain forest and spread out on the savannah, the opportunity to appropriately meet and understand indigenous groups became a highly important focus, from the Maasai of Kenya to the Cofan of Ecuador." - Megan Epler Wood, founder of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), on pioneering efforts by ecotourism businesses in the early days, Ecotourism Then and Now: Business Pioneers Forge Green Tourism Models

" all cases community enterprise must enter the commercial world. This requires partnering with representatives of the supply chain via agreements that give access to the global marketplace, while ensuring local well‐being, culture and conservation are all cared for. The right formulas continue to deserve investment and international support." - Megan Epler Wood, founder of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), on community-focused tourism business development, and ecotourism as a tool for sustainable community development, Ecotourism Now and Then: Community Ecotourism on the Frontiers of Global Development

"Ecotourism is a business concept that attempts to place a value on nature by providing services to tourists who appreciate nature. But ecotourism also has a conservation ethic. The three pillars that define ecotourism are: direct protection of a natural area by the ecotourism enterprise, education of the tourists about the value of ecotourism, and economic benefits of ecotourism activities must accrue to the local inhabitants. There are many successes, failures and works in progress and we still need to learn more as the projects evolve. But ecotourism is a direct way for people who want to preserve and protect nature to make a positive choice in their vacations and travels." - Worldide Ecotours, What is Ecotourism?

"Ecotourism as a concept has been greatly misunderstood and misused world over. It has been used to mean ‘green destinations’, and in some extreme instances ‘economic tourism’. Perhaps the most common error is the perception of it as an object, or place. It isn’t. It is a ‘means’ to more benefits from the environment accruing from responsible tourism practices." - Ecotourism Kenya, Understanding Ecotourism

“Eco-tourism was a cul-de-sac, it was a mistake. It was about saying ‘we’ll green the tourism industry by focusing on 1 or 2% of it’. I still hear people today saying that eco tourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry — it is these sort of awful myths that actually frustrate change,"
- Harold Goodwin, Eco-tourism 'myth' slammed




Tourism Definitions

Recommended Listening

Shared Planet - Dec 2013 - Ecotourism

28 mins
Humans in the form of scientific research or for artistic endeavour have for centuries travelled the world in search of new landscapes and places. It was not until the arrival of cheap air travel in the 1970's that far flung remote areas became accessible to anyone. Seeing and engaging with a wild landscape or animal has been shown to improve our desire to protect nature. But as the sheer numbers of people travelling to see wildlife spectacles increases, is it possible that the wildlife they have come to see may be changing their behaviour in response to this pressure. This week's field report comes from a whale and dolphin watching trip in the Azores where tourist boats head off in search of a once in a lifetime wildlife spectacle.