EcoGo proudly shares Sustainable Tourism, a guide that’s perfect for getting “insider scoop” about the ecotourism industry. We are excerpting the entire book here on EcoGo.org.
Chapter 1 – Understanding Ecotourism
(Excerpt 1.5) Unscrupulous ecotourism operations (“con men”) that practice the act of greenwashing, or falsely claiming that their businesses or attractions contribute to conservation and adhere to the principles of ecotourism.
What you should know
In order to avoid falling victim to CONservation, it is important to first understand that different classifications of ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ tourism exist, and how to differentiate between them. For example:
• Green tourism: A general term for environmentally friendly tourism intended to reduce costs and maximize benefits.
• Nature-based tourism: A general term for a tourism activity or experience that occurs in natural areas.
• Ecotourism: A type of nature-based tourism consisting of responsible travel in natural areas that promotes conservation and education.
Ecotourism experiences should:
- Incorporate environmental learning (knowledge, understanding)
- Facilitate changes in environmental attitudes and behaviors
- Move ecotourists from a passive role (nature-based recreation) to a more active role, where the activities of ecotourists (both on and off-site)contribute to the health and viability of the environment.
What you can do
When planning your next eco-adventure, use the checklist below to ensure that you are receiving a genuine ecotourism experience and not falling victim to CONservation!
Does your ecotourism experience:
- Minimize impact?
- Use environmental education (interpretation)?
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect?
- Use ecologically sustainable operations and management?
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts?
- Provide direct support and financial benefits for nature conservation?
- Provide economic benefits and empowerment for local people?
- Don’t be afraid to ask your ecotourism provider:
- Do they have a written policy or certification from a reputable ecotourism certification scheme?
- What, specifically, have they done to help protect the environment and support conservation?