Ecotourism associations and organisations around the world.

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Ecotourism Associations and Organisations

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

Ecotourism Associations and Organisations

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.

  • EarthFoot's Free Ecotour Posterboard Simple and effective design, text link based, providing a place to find the tour guide or small (1 to 4-6 people) group tour, for activities ranging from birdwatching to star gazing, all around the world. "This non-profit site profiles only very small-scale, locally produced ecotours, and works only with individuals, not companies with packaged tours."
  • ECOCLUB®  is an extensive site which is "promoting genuine ecotourism with members in over 130 countries, ... [and] a clearing house for ecotourism information, such as jobs, events, publications, university courses, finance sources."  Brief teasers available but most info. available only to members.   For the cheap skates among us, the interviews and back issues of the magazine (available in PDF download) make for interesting reading, while tourists can find participating ecolodges worldwide for free.
  • Green Cross International "The mission of Green Cross International is to respond to the combined challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation to ensure a sustainable and secure future. We seek solutions through dialogue, mediation and co-operation."
  • Green Travel Yahoo! Groups.  Academia, operators and travellers providing perspectives and swapping information.  Meta search available, and monitored if not moderated.
  • 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."
  • The International Ecotourism Society  "TIES is a non-profit association committed to promoting responsible tourism practices that benefit conservation and communities. Its global network spans over 120 countries, with members who are leading the vital efforts to make travel and tourism more sustainable."
  • Sustainable Tourism Case Studies.  An extensive directory of Destination Intitiatives and Organisation Reports, with summaries and links to source publications.
  • Bhutan: "The tourism industry in Bhutan is founded on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. The number of tourists visiting Bhutan is regulated to a manageable level because of the lack of infrastructure also."
  • Ecotourism Australia Australia's national ecotourism body with internationally acclaimed eco certified tourism accommodation and attractions, and Ecogudies schemes. Find members, download free PDF publications, and order other research and best practice studies.
  • Ecotours New Zealand "Nature and wildlife tours with expert guides".  Better known as a destination for adrenalin junkies and thrillseekers, this site has a lively and interactive newsboard for operator issues, as well as operators and activities info. for ecotourists wanting to visit "the land of the long white cloud".
  • Ecotourism Laos "The purpose of this website is to provide travelers with information on nature and culture-based Tourism Activities in Lao PDR to help generate income for local communities, support natural and cultural protected areas, and minimize negative impacts on Lao's culture and environment." Eager to position Laos as a premier ecotourism destination, the Lao National Tourism Administration, related government agencies and the private sector are working hard to realise the ambitious vision set out in the country's National Ecotourism Strategy and Action Plan, which is available for PDF download from the site.
  • Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS) "Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim, (ECOSS) is a nongovernmental organization working to accomplish a mission of sustainability and conservation in the state of Sikkim. ECOSS has been involved in establishing the Sikkim Himalayan Homestay with support from UNESCO."
  • Thailand Ecotourism Information Center.  While still having the National Ecotourism policies, Management Guidelines and National Ecotourism Action Plan (2002-2006) available, the site is now rather outdated, and still retains the enthusiastic red text on green background theme!  See also Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) - Ecotourism
  • Ministry of Tourism - Cambodia Eye catching and pleasing web site with information for visitors and industry alike.
  • The Association of Ecotourism in Romania (AER)  "has achieved a partnership for nature conservation and tourism development among tourism associations, non-governmental associations acting in local development and nature conservation, nature conservation projects and travel agencies. The AER ... is to bring together the public and the private sector in a partnership for nature conservation and sustainable tourism development."
  • The Armenian Ecotourism Association (ARMECAS)  "was created in 1997 to unite the people who regard ecotourism as a means of sustainable development of the country. Members of our organization are people of different professions; most of them are specialists in areas of natural and cultural heritage and the tourism business."
  • The Botswana Ecotourism Certification System "is designed to encourage and support responsible environmental, social and cultural behavior by tourism businesses and make sure they provide a quality eco-friendly product to consumers. It comprises a set of performance standards, which are designed to meet or exceed basic environmentally responsible standards or legislation. The system is built on the foundation of the Botswana National Ecotourism Strategy (2002)."  Managed by the Botswana Tourism Organisation.
  • 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.
  • Estonian Ecotourism Web Site "Ökoturism on vastutustundlik reisimine, mis toetab loodus- ja kultuuripärandi säilimist ning kohalike elanike heaolu.  (Eesti Ökoturismi Ühenduse definitsioon). Estonian Ecotourism Association – ESTECAS is a non-governmental and non-profit membership organisation, that connects individuals, organisations and authorities for ecotourism development in Estonia. ESTECAS aims to unite different stakeholders for development of ecotourism – "responsible travel that contributes to the well-being of local communities and conserves the natural and cultural heritage". " In Estonian with English translation available.
  • The Ecotourism Association of Ethiopia (EAE)  "was founded in 2003 during a Global Impact workshop held in Addis Ababa.... to facilitate the creation of eco-cultural destinations of the highest tourism standards in parallel to alleviating poverty, upgrading human resources, promoting Ethiopia’s rich cultural heritage, and rehabilitating environmental resources. The Association will do this by assuming a leadership position in professional learning, advocacy, and research and business development."
    • 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."
  • Eco Awards Namibia Alliance "is a mark of distinction for accommodation establishments that are planned and managed according to eco-friendly principles. 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 assesement, good practices, downloads, tips and tricks.  (And fyi - "Gondwana" seems to be a very popular inclusion in business names!)
    • According to Travel News Namibia, "Namibia was the first country in the world to include the protection of the environment in its constitution. Article 95 states: The State shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting … policies aimed at … maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilisation of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future." See also Republic of Namibia - Ministry of Environments & Tourism
The Americas
  • American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) New listing"To define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian tourism that honors traditions and values. AIANTA nonprofit association of Native American tribes and tribal businesses, organized in 1999, to advance Indian Country tourism. ... By developing and implementing programs and providing opportunities, AIANTA helps tribes build for their future while sustaining and strengthening their cultural legacies."
  • Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism"The Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association (AWRTA) is a member-led association that represents more than 300 nature-based tourism businesses, individuals, and organizations in Alaska. AWRTA advocates for the sustainability of Alaska's natural and cultural resources, responsible tourism and tourism planning for communities." Well designed site with operator guidelines, stakeholder issues, extensive Alaskan resources and searchable database of members for would be visitors.
  • Ecotourism in Peru by Andean Travel Web "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! Congratulations to Mike Weston. 
  • Hawaii Ecotourism Association Simple design and layout with goals, projects, member information, links to members web sites, industry links and more.
  • Eco Travels in Panama Community Based Ecotourism In The Panama Canal Watershed: Executive Summary 1998.
  • The Ontario Ecotourism Society  "is the first province-wide organization for the development and promotion of ecotourism and sustainable tourism practices. We are a not-for-profit network led by a volunteer board of directors, with a supporting membership of ecotourism operators, organizations, educational institutions, concerned public and visitors of Ontario."
  • Planeta With a strong focus on Mexico and Latin America, Ron Mader provides an outlet for numerous papers and articles from contributors as well as his own works.  The site also includes on-line forums and regional email groups, focusing on eco and sustainable tourism.
  • Toledo Ecotourism Association "The Toledo Ecotourism Association is one of the first and most successful Community-Based Ecotourism operators in the region. It is owned and operated by an association of Mopan, Kek'chi and Garifuna villages, and the Association enables the local people to plan, control and profit directly from ecotourism".

See also Accreditation & Certification Programs, Codes of Conduct, Practice & Operational Guidelines, Ecotourism Projects and Newsgroups and Email lists