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Tuesday, May 23, 2017
•  Events Calendar  •
The Institute of EcoTourism
Principles of EcoTourism
Created:  Thursday, July 5, 2007
Updated:  Saturday, October 20, 2007

Eco (prefix), a prefix mostly relating to Ecological terms

Logic, from Classical Greek λ?γος logos (meaning word, account, reason or principle), is the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration.

ECOTOURISM RESEARCH PROJECT

 SUMMARY OF UNITED NATIONS REPORT TITLED:

ECOTOURISM:  PRINCIPLES, PRACTICES AND POLICIES

ECOTOURISM DEFINED

  • Ecotourism is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features – both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations.
     
  • Ecotourism is a travel experience, first and foremost, that helps travelers come to a better understanding of unique natural and cultural environments.  They also focus on helping travelers develop better instincts on how to travel and how to properly contribute towards environmental conservation, cultural sensitivity and other important sustainable development issues.  
  • A true ecotourism experience involves well-planned, interactive learning experiences that introduce small groups of travelers to new environments and cultures, while minimizing negative environmental impacts and supporting conservation efforts.

 PRINCIPLES OF ECOTOURISM

  • Allows for the sharing of economic benefits with local community
  • Respects local cultures
  • Works towards the conservation of biodiversity
  • Activities are often nature-based
  • Includes an interpretation / learning experience
  • It stresses the importance of responsible business
  • Relies on an infrastructure that has been developed in harmony with environment
  • Requires the lowest possible consumption of non-renewable resources
  • Stresses local participation, ownership and opportunities

 DATA 

  • Ecotourism is defined by its sustainable development results:  conserving natural areas, educating visitors about sustainability, and benefiting local people
  • Ecotourism has a unique role to play in educating travelers about the value of a healthy environment and biological diversity
  • For ecotourism to be truly sustainable requires partnerships and cooperation between the tourist industry, governments, local people and the tourists themselves
  • Travel and tourism are among the world’s fastest growing industries
  • The number of international tourists reached more than 664 million in 1999, representing more than 10% of the world’s total population
  • Nature-based tourism companies in North America handle over one billion dollars in annual sales
  • Ecotourism is an important tool in sustainable development, especially if it capitalizes on current market trends
  • Proper planning and management are critical to ecotourism’s development or it will threaten the biological diversity upon which it depends
  • Responsible businesses must be encouraged to manage tourists properly with guidelines, certification and regulation
  • Local communities must be vitally involved, they must formally consent to the development of their areas
  • Ecotourism is a highly strategic source of revenue to natural areas that need protection
  • The problem of “greenwashing” has undermined the legitimacy of the term ecotourism
  • Established standards, principles, and certification is key to solving the problem of “greenwashing”
  • There is a great need to establish internationally and nationally accepted guidelines, principles and certification approaches to ecotourism
  • Guiding and interpretation services, managed by local inhabitants, should be focused on natural history and sustainable development issues
  • Certification programs require independent verification procedures that are not directly associated with the entity being paid to certify.  University involvement is ideal for this process
  • Ecotour operators need to provide training to their staff that will upgrade their ability to communicate with their clients in sensitive natural and cultural settings
  • Workshops and other educational programs now allow tourists to take part in intensive field seminars with scientists, and at the same time help pay for the research
  • Sustainable tourism is designed in order to avoid the “boom-bust” cycles which have been so destructive to the environment and local economy of other regions
  • Ecotourism operators directly support protected areas through gate fees
  • Tourism properties should receive clear incentives for conserving electricity and water
  • Well-managed trails and camping areas should provide clearly marked rules for low-impact use
  • Tourism properties should support the local economy by contracting local service providers and buying local products, and supporting local conservation and research efforts
  • Tourism properties should provide visitors with interpretive programs that will educate them about the local natural and cultural environment
  • Tourism properties should give clients the opportunity to contribute directly to local development and environmental projects
  • Clearly no destination will prosper in the long-term, particularly and eco-destination, if it is not properly managed to prevent overcrowding, environmental impacts and the loss of biological and cultural integrity
  • If the future of the planet depends on humankind’s commitment to conserve its environment, then surely ecotourism has a role to play.  If the underlying principles of ecotourism are increasingly embraced, more people will visit natural areas with an understanding of what they are seeing and experiencing

CONCLUSIONS

  • The success and credibility of the IET is dependant on the building of constructive relationships with government agencies, universities, and tourism professionals.
  • IET should focus energy on establishing and promoting a set of specific standards and principles that define an ecotourism operation.  Our programs should work to improve the image of “ecotourism” as merely a marketing tool.
  • IET has the opportunity to be a community resource and leader in educating travelers, government agencies, and tourism professionals on the most current trends in sustainable community planning and natural / cultural resource conservation.

IET OPPORTUNITIES / PROPOSALS

  •  IET will work collaboratively with Northern Arizona University to develop a research study and operations model for the tourism / resort industry.  The plan will address issues of resource consumption, staff education, and sustainability.
  • IET will work collaboratively to create an annual training program for local tour operators.  The program will address issues of resource conservation, ethics, and minimum-impact travel. 
  • IET will work collaboratively with local tour operators, the Forest Service, and other community organization to develop and promote a strategic plan for the sustainable use of the region’s natural resources.
  • IET will work with the Forest Service to provide visitors with information and interpretive resources on minimum-impact travel and resource conservation.  This program will include an interpretive staff, exhibits, and trailside signage.
  • IET will work with the local and federal government, as well as NGO’s and other community groups to develop a funding plan to maintain trails and other public resources.  This effort will include public forums and educational outreach programs.
  • IET will work with the Sedona Center for the Arts and Technology at Yavapai College to develop interactive multimedia resources and documentary films addressing topics of natural and cultural history, resource conservation, and sustainability.
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