Overview of 21st Century Ecotourism

Ecotourism now has a specific definition. According to the International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.”

You may be like a growing number of people from all walks of life, and from different corners of the globe, and have a growing interest in ecotourism. With that in mind, there are some important facts and factors that you need to bear in mind when it comes to ecotourism in the 21st century.

Principles of Ecotourism

When all is said and done, ecotourism is about uniting or bringing together conservation, communities, and sustainable travel options. As an outgrowth of these three objectives are a set of principles associate or underpinning ecotouri8sm in the 21st century. The International Society for Ecotourism has been deeply involved in developing these principles. The principles for ecotourism are:

  • minimize social, behavioral, physical, and psychological impacts
  • enhance environmental and cultural respect and awareness
  • provide positive experiences for hosts and visitors alike
  • provide real, direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • generate financial benefits for both local individuals s well as local private industry.
  • enhance the sensitivity of visitors
  • design, construct and utilize environmentally low-impact facilities.
  • recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of local individuals

The International Ecotourism Society

The International Ecotourism Society has resources that can be invaluable to you when it comes to ecotourism. The International Ecotourism Society was founded in 1990. Since that time, the International Ecotourism Society has lea the way in the development of all aspects of ecotourism. This includes establishing guidelines and standards as well as training. International Ecotourism Society is also involved in providing technical assistance, and educational resources related to ecotourism.

The International Ecotourism Society currently has members in over 190 countries worldwide. Members of International Ecotourism Society include:

  • conservation professionals
  • academics
  • ecotourists
  • general development experts
  • conservation organizations
  • governments
  • tour operators
  • lodging owners and managers
  • architects

Climate Change and Ecotourism

An increasingly important focus of the ecotourism movement, including of the International Ecotourism Society, is on the impact of tourism generally on climate change. As part of this effort, the organization has developed some specific guidelines, aimed at different elements of the tourist industry, and focusing on climate change issues. These guidelines include Sustainable Transportation Guidelines for Nature-Based Tour Operators as well as Tourism in the Polar Regions: The Sustainability Challenge.

In addition, the organization has also promulgated a series of authoritative articles on issues related to tourism and climate change. These resources are: Is Carbon Offsetting an Effective Tool for Sustainable Tourism?, Climate Change: Tourism’s Roles in Promoting Climate Action, Tour Operators Show Support for the Efforts to Reduce GHG Emissions from Aviation, Travel and Responsible Climate Protection, and Tour Operators’ Climate Footprint and the Roles of Offsetting. All of these resources can be accessed via the organization’s website at www.ecotourism.org.

Travel Agents and Ecotourism

While you certainly can plan your own ecotour on your own, using resources online, you should also consider the benefits that can be derived from engaging the assistance of a travel professional. As more and more people become interesting in ecotourism, there has been an associated increase in the number of travel agents, and other professionals, that provide an array of services to people interested in ecotourism.

In the final analysis, you really might be able to benefit by reaching out to this type of professional as you plan an ecotour or trip of some sort. This particularly is the case if you are planning to embark on this type of travel for the first time.

The Annual Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference

Every year for the past 13 years the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference has been convened. This confab brings together a broad spectrum of individuals an organizations with a keen interest in ecotourism.

Each year, the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference is held in a different country. In 2018, Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will be convened in Italy. The conference will be held over four days in mid-October. Information about the conference is available from the International Ecotourism Society website at www.ecotourism.org. The conference is popular and well attended. A person interested in attending should consider making a reservation, including transport and lodging, as soon as possible.

Jessica Kane is a writer for Grow Ace, your best online option for getting your new hydroponic grow operation up and running quickly and easily. 

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