Ecotourism is, according to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." What started as a hip, happening trend isn't just here to stay--it's growing.
The core ideology of ecotourism is to promote education and awareness of environmental history, help finance future conservation and improve the well-being of local people and environment.
As of 2000, ecotourism and nature-related tourism accounted for about 20 percent of international travel. The expenditures accounted for by ecotourism increase between 10 and 30 percent each year.
As of 2000, ecotourists pay around $1,200 per trip--more than the average tourist.
Tourism is the leading export for a third of the world's poorest countries, and a principle part of the export economy for 83 percent of developing countries. In many countries, it's the second leading source of foreign exchange, surpassed only by oil.
While ecotourism may seem earth-friendly in the short term, documented long-term effects that may be of environmental concern include the impact of development and/or construction that effects the environment and recreational activities, changes in population dynamics and creation of waste.
Article Written By Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.