Ecotourism is a buzz word for some and red flag for others. When I became involved it was unknown, undefined and often confused with green tourism and sustainable tourism. So… what do all of these terms really mean?
Green tourism is an older term that was used primarily by lodging facilities and some tour companies to portray themselves as environmentally friendly. However, the term got a bad rap because there was little practice of sustainability efforts and due to “greenwashing” which is where a hotel displays a sign that say’s, “please hang up your towels if you’d like to reuse them”. While that helps, it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Ecotourism is defined by the International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” Those participating in ecotourism leave minimal impact and use local resources such as food, guides and businesses to benefit the locals, tour company and guests.
The UN World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “referring to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development. A suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long term sustainability.” With a slightly wider focus than ecotourism, sustainable tourism includes making sure that communities are being paid fairly.
AE Adventures has practiced sustainable tourism since the beginning and has given to many causes over the years. The goal has always been to protect the areas we visit so they can be enjoyed by our guests and future generations.
When possible, our routine practices include:
Additionally, in some locations we donate to local causes like:
What is Ecotourism Comments