What is Ecotourism?
What is Ecotourism?
October 12, 2018

What is Ecotourism?


With the rise of nature-based tourism and becoming part of mass tourism, more was required to distinguish this type of tourism that is

sensitive to the local culture and have a focus on the natural environment.


In the early years, the definition of ecotourism started as being nature-based tourism with a responsible attitude and continued to evolve to a

definition that includes the education of participants and encourages understanding and appreciation of the natural environment and its

cultural context.


The term ecotourism is simply the combination of two words: ecology and tourism.

Ecology is the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings

Tourism is the practice of travelling for the purposes of leisure, holidays, and business


Following, is the most common definition of ecotourism that is being adopted globally:

“Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, raises visitors’ awareness and fosters their

appreciation of the natural environments within a cultural context.”


Accordingly, ecotourism is a form of tourism that follows these principles: 1) minimizes impact. 2) builds awareness and respect for the

environment and culture.

With the key aspects of ecotourism being:

  • the emphasis on education / interpretation
  • the nature-based focus
  • environmental and cultural sustainability


Finally, it is critically important that all parties engaged in the field have a clear understanding and mutual agreement of what ecotourism is

and not to ‘greenwash’ or disguise regular tourism operations as environmentally sustainable ecotourism activities. Since doing so can be

very damaging not only to tourism efforts but to the environment and culture as well.