Ecotourism - University of San Diego

Ecotourism is about
uniting conservation,
communities, and
sustainable travel. This
means that those who
implement and participate
in ecotourism activities
should follow the following
ecotourism principles
Principles of Ecotourism
• Minimize impact.
• Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
• Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
• Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
• Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local
• Raise sensitivity to host countries' political,
environmental, and social climate.
What is Ecotourism?
• World Conservation Union
• "Environmentally responsible
travel to natural areas, in order to
enjoy and appreciate nature (and
accompanying cultural features,
both past and present) that
promote conservation, have a
low visitor impact and provide for
beneficially active socioeconomic involvement of local
Ecotourism can provide to
help to the Environment:
• Can generate revenues for the
protection of national parks
and other natural areas
• Can enhance the level of
education and activism among
travelers and natives of the
Ecotourism Destinations
• Brazil
• Costa Rica
• Kenya
• US Virgin Islands
Quick Rebuttal Points
From how to make sure where you
Do some research:
go is ecotourism!
The biggest tour operators all have rules about labor
conditions, but it's hard to know what they do to ensure they
are respected. Generally there is still loads to be done, which
means that people wanting to go on holiday, and the types of
holidays they choose, can have a really big impact.
Ask questions:
Ask your operator what they do with local communities. Find
out how the locals are involved and the more questions you
can ask the better. They might be questions that they don't
know the answer to but will have to think about, and they are
even better. Things like, "Will my shower water be coming from
local wells?" Basic questions that might be uncomfortable and
the tour operators should really shift gear.
Be fair:
Responsible Travel
Myth: I have to sacrifice quality and luxury of accommodations.
Reality: Many lodges, hotels, and B&Bs have very high standards for quality and luxury. They
bring nature and culture within your reach, while still assuring your level of comfort.
Myth: It's expensive!
Reality: Responsible tours and accommodations come in a range of prices, depending on the
level of comfort and convenience you desire.
Myth: It's too difficult to be a responsible traveler.
Reality: The internet makes it easy to plan and book responsible travel. When you arrive at
your destination, there are simple steps you can take to make your trip environmentally and
socially responsible (see "What You Can Do While Traveling" above).
Myth: It means traveling to tropical jungles.
Reality: Responsible travel often brings to mind images of exotic tropical locations, but the
reality is that destinations, accommodations, and tour packages exist on every continent.
Myth: It's for backpackers.
Reality: People of all interests, ages, incomes, and backgrounds can travel responsibly, and
there are plenty of family-friendly options
Flying Responsibly
• Your flight can be the most polluting aspect of your travel. It is
estimated that air traffic accounts for 10% of greenhouse gases
• Opt for more environmentally friendly transport such as trains,
buses, and passenger boats. Plan your trip so that you minimize air
travel, and choose, whenever possible, to stay longer in a
destination instead of making many short trips.
• You can help offset unavoidable footprint by contributing to credible
carbon offsetting programs that support conservation, renewable
energy, and other energy saving projects. Learn more about carbon
offsetting programs and climate-friendly travel: Traveling with
Climate in Mind
Ecotourism is
Sustainable and Lowimpact alternative
Julie Richardson
UNEP, UNWTO, and The Rainforest Alliance partnered in 2008 to develop the
Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC)
These criteria centered around what is considered the four major aspects of
effective sustainability planning
maximizing social and economic benefits to the local community
reduction of negative impacts to cultural heritage
reduction of negative impacts on the environment.
The GSTC are the minimum requirements for a tourism business to be
considered eco or sustainable tourism
Ecotourism promotes
Ecotourism strives to minimize the adverse affects of hotels, trails, and other
They use either recycled materials or plentyfully available local building
materials, renewable sources of energy, recycling and safe disposal of waste
and garbage, and environmentally and culturally sensitive architectural design.
Minimization of impact also requires that the numbers and mode of behavior of
tourists be regulated to ensure limited damage to the ecosystem.
Ecotourism vs. Mass
Atlantis Resort
Water consumption per guest=300 gallons/day
Destroyed natural vegetation and used solely new
building materials
2,000 trees were planted in 34 different gardens (all
non-native species)
Maho Bay
St. John US Virgin Islands
Consumption per guest=25
Rain water catchments
collect 345,000 gallons of
Heat water only when
necessary with Solar energy
Other Green Practices
They use 100% biodegradable laundry detergent
and dish soap
Cut old sheets and towels to use as cleaning rags
Use spring action faucets and showers
Trash to Treasure Art Center
Building Materials
Use recycled materials creatively so most of
materials used come from trash
Built cabins and other buildings on raised platforms
to minimize environmental damage
Connected by raised walkways to prevent vegetation
being trampled
Ecotourism Certification
GSTC allows tourists to differentiate between real
ecotourism and tourist businesses that simply put
“eco” in their name to attract customers
More than 170 US cities have adopted the criteria
Economic Benefits
• Ecotourism…
Creates incentives to protect
environment rather than exploit it
Generates revenue from park
entrance fees, concessions and
Can be used to further support and
manage the natural environment
Societal Benefits
• Employment opportunities
Transition from poaching,
logging and mining
• Sustainable development and
infrastructure for tourist
• The prospering of local
economies from tourist
The Case of Costa Rica
Sistema Nacional De Areas De
Conservacion (SINAC)
Part of MINAE
~25% of land set aside and converted
20% of population works directly in
into protected parks and reserves
60% receive indirect economic benefits
Ecotourism and
Environmental Education
-Ecological awareness
-Conservation of natural resources
•Combination of recreation and education
•Individual Involvement
-Personal and Non-personal
Ecotourism and
Environmental Education
•Enhances attitudes and actions toward
•Locals turn into guides/educators
•Personal growth