What is ecotourism?

Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where florafauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. While ecotourism is generally associated with travel to destinations in the developing world, many of its principles can be applied to fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas such as the Lake Tahoe region. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) has the following definition and principles of ecotourism.

The Definition

Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” (TIES, 1990)

Principles of Ecotourism

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:

  • Minimize impact.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
  • Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.