Sustainable Tourism Info-Sheets
Eco and Sustainable Tourism

What is ecotourism?

Ecotourism is "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people." Sometimes it is defined as a sub-category of sustainable tourism or a segment of the larger nature tourism market.

It includes an interpretation/learning experience, is delivered to small groups by small-scale businesses, and stresses local ownership, particularly for rural people.

What is the difference between ecotourism and nature-based travel?

While nature-based tourism is just travel to natural places, ecotourism provides local benefits - environmentally, culturally and economically. A nature-based tourist may just go bird watching; an ecotourist goes bird watching with a local guide, stays in a locally operated ecolodge and contributes to the local economy.

Where does Sustainabel Tourism fit in?

Sustainable Tourism embraces all segments of the industry with guidelines and criteria that seek to reduce environmental impacts, particularly the use of non-renewable resources, using measurable benchmarks, and to improve tourismís contribution to sustainable development and environmental conservation

Sustainable Ecotourism -

  • Minimizes environmental impacts using benchmarks
  • Improves contribution to local sustainable development
  • Requires lowest possible consumption of non-renewable resources
  • Sustains the well-being of local people
  • Stresses local ownership
  • Supports efforts to conserve the environment
  • Contributes to biodiversity
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