Ecotourism Associations and Organisations

Safety in numbers

One of the features of eco tourism based organisations and associations around the world, is that each will have a unique focus depending on the issues that are important to them.  In some places it's the environment and sustainability, in others, cultural and socio-economic impacts are the significant considerations, so organisation goals and Codes of Coduct, Practice & Operational Guidelines will vary accordingly.

If you're looking for general tourism and hospitality trade, travel authorities, associations, academia etc., check out Industry Associations and Societies and Tourism Research Resources.

Effecting Positive Change through EcotourismEffecting Positive Change through Ecotourism New Booktopia Ebook affiliate link.  "This book is designed to show how ecotourism theory can be put into practice by exploring innovation, program applications, and research-supported case studies in ecotourism. The chapters reflect results of applied research focused on socio-economics of community development; the value of considering system-wide approaches to the relationships between communities and natural resources; the intricacies of capacity building and training facilitators in ecotourism; and education through ecotourism experiences. The cumulative impact of the research presented highlights innovative approaches to visitor management, community engagement, and education to critically address the complexities associated with visitation to natural areas and the dependence upon conservation of ecosystems and associated communities."

International

  • Global Ecotourism Network  "We are a global group of ecotourism pioneers and practitioners, who want to share our many years of experience in ecotourism and sustainable tourism practices and also our wide contact network to help others.  We love nature, innovation and sustainable design, different cultures, great guides and know how important sustainability is for sharing a liveable planet."  Join the network, with NAE – North America, LACEN – Latin American & Caribbean, EEN – Europe, MEEN – Middle East, AFEN – Africa, and AEN – Asia/Pacific representation.
  • Sustaining Tourism Ecotourism Associations "For information about associations/sites which offer ecotourism products".  Rachel Dodds is a well known figure in ecotourism.  This page links a a few international associations, and other useful pages offering more ecotourism related information.
  • ECOCLUB® "... is the International Ecotourism Club, is the first ecotourism portal and professional network. Established in 1999 in Athens, Greece, today it has members worldwide. We support sustainable tourism practitioners, academics and job seekers and promote Ecology Through Tourism!  We are proud and active members of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council."  Still going strong, this deceptively simple design hides a wealth of resources for ecotravellers and industry practitioners alike, although a few other web sites listed on this page might not agree with the statement that it was "the first ecotourism portal".  :-)
  • The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) "represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism. This quarterly updated list is categorized by world region and represents all current GSTC Organization members."
  • Planeta.com Updated  "...spotlights local conservation and tourism connections around the globe. Developed by Ron Mader in 1994 as a reporter's digital notebook, Planeta.com continues to facilitate online conversation and local action connecting conscious living and travel around the globe. We have focused our work connecting the natural and online worlds for nearly 30 years. The award-winning site is geared toward conscious hosts, travelers, and everyone in between."
  • International Bicycle Fund "A non-governmental, nonprofit, advocacy organization, providing information and resources promoting sustainable transport and international understanding to make this planet a healthier and happier place to live. Major areas of activity are non-motorized urban planning, economic development, bike safety education, responsible travel and bicycle tourism, and cross-cultural, educational programs."  Old school web style site, still peddling along with useful info. Updated
  • The International Ecotourism Society Updated The web site appears to have been updated, with some blog style articles and posts, but the "resources" sections remain empty, and the membership search still goes to a cached archive.org version of the web site.  Latest articles and news are from February 2021, with the "Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Conference 2021", slated for July 27 -31st 2021 in Tokat, Anatolia, Turkey.  (Note that in 2015 "the organization's advisory board resigned due to "grave concerns over TIES transparency, lack of ethical guidance and anomalies in the supervision and management of finances." - Source: https://yourislandnews.com/who-is-the-international-ecotourism-society/ retreived 15/06/21).  You'll find most former TIES members joined more informal social networking groups, especially those utilizing Facebook groups: see below. 
  • Sustainable Development of Tourism UNWTO Updated "Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities."  The web site has been overhauled, with fullsome pages covering a range of sustainability issues, case studies, statisitics and resources.

Facebook Groups

Overbooked, Eliabeth BeckerOverbooked. The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism, By: Elizabeth Becker. New  Booktopia affiliate link.  "Elizabeth Becker travels the world to take the measure of the business: France invented the travel business and is still its leader; Venice is expiring of over-tourism. In Cambodia, tourists crawl over the temples of Angkor, jeopardizing precious cultural sites. Costa Rica rejected raising cattle for American fast-food restaurants to protect their wilderness for the more lucrative field of eco-tourism."  Orginally published in 2016, the basic premise of this book maybe seem to be something of a curiosity in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. But given the global yearning for international travel to return to "normal", it may well serve as a guide to what practices and pitfalls to avoid in the rush.

Australia/Asia/Pacific

  • Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN)  "Linking responsible tourism, conservation, and communities in Asia. ...we will provide more hands-on connections and relevant opportunities for members working together at a regional scale. AEN will provide more networking and business opportunities, significant information, educational materials and networking prospects to both small and large organizations within Asia."  A useful web site targeting Asian, Pacific Island and Micronesia destinations and enterprises.
  • Green Cross Australia "... empowers a resilient Australia. We educate and empower people and businesses to become more resilient to our changing climate and environmental stresses. Together with our partners, we run innovative, digital projects, which help to grow more sustainable communities. We are helping our cities and coasts to prosper by advancing food security, property resilience, and urban landscapes."&
  • Tourism Council of Bhutan: "Bhutan's tourism sector is regarded as one of the most exclusive travel destinations in the world. Today tourism is a vibrant business with a high potential for growth and further development. The Royal Government of Bhutan adheres strongly to a policy of high value, low impact/volume tourism which serves the purpose of creating an image of exclusivity and high- yield for Bhutan."   An industry web site with jobs, news, resources and announcements.
  • Ecotourism Australia Australia's national ecotourism body with internationally acclaimed eco certified tourism accommodation and attractions, and Ecogudies schemes. Useful Ecotourism Resource Hub with links to other third party resources for intending and current operators and destinations.
  • Ecotourism Laos "Laos will become a world renowned destination specializing in forms of sustainable tourism that, through partnership and cooperation, benefits natural and cultural heritage conservation and local socio-economic development, and spreads knowledge of Laos' unique cultural heritage around the world."  Guiding Principles of Lao Ecotourism
  • Sri Lanka Ecotourism foundation (SLEF) New "...is the pioneer national ecotourism organization, dedicated to promote ecotourism in Sri Lanka and to build a strong and professional Ecotourism Network in the Asia-Pacific Region. During past year the SLEF has done its best to promote ecotourism in Sri Lanka and Asia-Pacific Region adhering to the noble ideals and principles of Ecotourism.
  • Wildlife Tourism Australia "Wildlife Tourism Australia Inc. (WTA) is a not for profit incorporated association founded in 2003 as a result of Australia's first national conference on wildlife tourism in Tasmania."  Their aim is "to promote the sustainable development of a diverse wildlife tourism industry that supports conservation."

Africa/Europe

  • The EUROPARC Federation NEW "...is the network for Europe’s natural and cultural heritage. Created by our members, the Federation works, to improve the management of Protected Areas in Europe through international cooperation, exchange of ideas and experience, and by influencing policy.
  • The Association of Ecotourism in Romania (AER)  "...brings together the public and private sector in an innovative way, creating a partnership aimed at nature conservation and the development of sustainable tourism. AER contributes to the quality improvement of ecotourism services and promotes nature as an essential element in Romania's image as a tourist destination. AER aims at improving the quality of ecotourism services and developing the infrastructure of ecotourism destinations, contributing to nature conservation and sustainable development in Romania."  In Romanian and English.
  • The Ecotourism Club in Spain NEW  "is a pioneering initiative that offers sustainable ecotourism experiences, ensuring the traveler his contribution to the local development and to the conservation of biodiversity in the protected areas he visits and in the tourist services he enjoys. Tourist destinations and companies which belong to the Ecotourism Club in Spain comply with the environmental requirements established by the European Charter of Sustainable Tourism in the Protected Areas of the EUROPARC Federation and similar systems in the Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks, offering authentic and memorable experiences linked to the natural and cultural heritage.
  • Ecotourism Kenya "Ecotourism Kenya promotes responsible tourism practices within the tourism industry. This entails encouraging the adoption of best practices in the use of tourism resources, working with local communities and managing wastes and emissions."  Excellent site with reports, projects and resources sure to be of interest to students, stakeholders, operators and intending visitors alike.
  • The Wenchi Eco-Tourism Association (WETA) - Ethiopia "is a local, community-centred initiative which promotes sustainable eco-tourism. Its mission: to improve the livelihoods of local people by promoting ecotourism development through the sustainable use of natural and cultural resources."   Web site still live, but not updated since 2005.
  • Eco Awards Namibia Updated ... is an alliance of private sector and government organisation that runs a sustainable tourism certification programme. "The programme promotes the selective and careful use of our resources, promoting reducing, recycling and reusing. In the process an establishment can improve its profitability, often with very little additional expenditure."  Not quite an ecotourism association, but close enough, with criteria, self assessment, good practices, downloads, tips and tricks.  Get certified  (And fyi - "Gondwana" seems to be a very popular inclusion in business names!) 
  • Republic of Namibia - Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism Updated "The mission of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism is to promote biodiversity conservation in the Namibian environment through the sustainable utilization of natural resources and tourism development for the maximum social and economic benefit of its citizens."
  • Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA)  Updated  "...is the official umbrella body that brings together and advocates for the interests of community tourism groups in Uganda to ensure that the local tourist host communities benefit from tourism. Since its inception, UCOTA's functions and scope of operations have grown tremendously across the country. To date, the association comprises over 70 member groups country wide, representing 2,121 individuals of whom 63% are women."  Activities include Capacity building, Marketing, Advocacy, Networking, Conservation and Resource mobilization.

Post-Pandemic Sustainable Tourism Management. The New Reality of Managing Ethical and Responsible TourismPost-Pandemic Sustainable Tourism Management. The New Reality of Managing Ethical and Responsible TourismNew Booktopia affiliate link "Tourism, as with many parts of the economy, is at a pause-reflect-rest stage in the post pandemic world. This book puts forward some positive and practical concepts for the reset stage in terms of pushing towards wholly sustainable tourism. ... This book evaluates how the pandemic and economic decline affects ethical and responsible tourism - the type of tourism which sustains and develops local communities in a balanced way for the benefit of future generations. It reflects on the position the authors established in "Ethical & Responsible Tourism - managing sustainability in local tourism destinations" and then determines how ethically and responsibly focused tourism may adapt, develop and maintain safety for consumers in the post-virus world. This book will be essential reading for students, researchers and practitioners of tourism, environmental and sustainability studies."

The Americas

  • Organizations Supporting Agritourism Updated An extensive US state list "...of some of the agritourism and related associations, networks, and websites specifically developed for agritourism businesses in order to directly meet identified needs related to marketing their businesses. In addition, there are governmental, non-governmental, and university organizations dedicated to assisting in the development and marketing of agritourism.:
  • American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA)  Updated "For nearly two decades, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) has served as the national voice for American Indian nations engaged in cultural tourism. In addition to serving as the voice for Indian Country tourism, AIANTA provides technical assistance and training to Tribal nations and Native-owned enterprises engaged in tourism, hospitality and recreation."
  • Ecotourism in Peru by Andean Travel Web  Updated  "Tourism is now the largest foreign currency-earner in Peru, affecting the lives of millions of people. While it can bring benefits, these are seldom spread evenly.  ... Andean Travel Web aims to raise general awareness of these problems, as well as bringing specific projects and campaigns to your attention."  Whilst simple in design, the depth of local information and involvement is impressive!  The Ecotourism section contains Peru related info. including an Introduction, Travel Code, Local Initiatives and EcoTourism Links, while a comprensive travel directory highlighting Peruvian tour and travel experiences will be sure to give you the travel bug.  The site was last updated in 2016.  Note.  The link will probably show a browser warning for an http link.  As at my visit (15/06/21) it is safe.
  • Florida SEE (Society for Ethical Ecotourism)  Updated  "is dedicated to maintaining a professional code of ecotourism ethics in order to encourage an awareness and stewardship of Florida's natural and cultural heritage."  Free educational webinars are presented monthly from May-September, on the third Wednesday of each month, at 7pm.
  • Hawaii Ecotourism Association Updated  "For over 25 years the Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaiʻi has promoted sustainable tourism through innovative initiatives and programs aimed at protecting our natural and cultural resources.  Our mission is to protect Hawaiʻi's unique natural environment and host culture through the promotion of responsible travel and educational programs relating to sustainable tourism for residents, businesses and visitors."
  • Latin American & Caribbean Ecotourism Network (LACEN) Facebook Group New  "La Red Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Ecoturismo (LACEN por su siglas en inglés) es una organización internacional que reúne como miembros fundadores a profesionales apasionados por el ecoturismo en América Latina y el Caribe, que dedican su vida y su propósito a hacer del ecoturismo un motor de desarrollo sostenible que busca el bienestar de las comunidades locales, poniendo en valor el capital natural, social y cultural de nuestro continente."

See also Accreditation & Certification Programs, Codes of Conduct, Practice & Operational Guidelines, Ecotourism Projects and Social Networks.

Booktopia search for "Ecotourism" New  Booktopia affiliate link.

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