Happy birthday “ecotourism”

The term “ecotourism” is turning 25-years-old this year.

It’s growing up, isn’t it? I’ve never been good at determining ages, but somehow I would’ve thought that it was younger than that. But at the same time I’m glad that the environmental and cultural sensitivity of this travel niche has been around for a while (though not long enough, one might say).

The World Conservation Union defines ecotourism as having the following:
• Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior
• Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity
• Support for local conservation efforts
• Sustainable benefits to local communities
• Local participation in decision-making
• Educational components for both the traveler and local communities

Planeta writes up a Q&A with the man who coined the phrase back in 1983, Hector Ceballos-Lascurain. As an architect, environmentalist, international ecotourism consultant, and author, Ceballos-Lascurain has assisted ecotourism projects in more than 70 countries, including several in his native Mexico. In the discussion, he doesn’t celebrate the anniversary blindly for the sake of cake and streamers and presents—he takes a realistic view of the industry and acknowledges areas for improvement.

Also worth reading is a longer article at ECOCLUB.com, from October 2006.

Here’s to the wisdom and experience of age.

Posted by | Comments Off on Happy birthday “ecotourism”  | January 29, 2008
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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