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.

International

  • Global Ecotourism Network New "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."
  • Green Travel Yahoo! Groups. Now more a repository for historic issues and communication from academia, operators and travellers.  Still monitored if not moderated.  Maybe useful if you're looking for an historic reference or contact.
  • 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."
  • International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) "... is a grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth. ICTP engages communities and their stakeholders to share quality and green opportunities including tools and resources, access to funding, education, and marketing support."
  • The International Ecotourism Society  Updated   There is no longer any content on this web site of material value to operators, stakeholders or travellers wanting to learn more about ecotourism.  The only substantial content is about their online certification courses and membership options.  The menu link to the "Member Code of Conduct" goes to a blank page.  The link for doing a search for members takes you to a peculiar list of mainly individual members, or to a cached archive.org version of the web site.  Such a sad state of affairs for a once great organisation, that was arguably the flagship organisation for the ecotourism movement worldwide.  As a result, this listing is for informational purposes only.  Also note that major differences in philosophies and directions over the last 3 years has resulted in many long time, and founding members of TIES resigning and joining more informal social networking groups, especially those utilizing Facebook groups (see below). 
  • Sustainable Development of Tourism UNWTO  "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."  A list of partners and industry, with links to their web sites.

Facebook Groups New

Australia/Asia/Pacific

  • Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) New  "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
  • 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 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.
  • 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 "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 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 & Tourism "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)  "...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. The groups operate small tourism enterprises ranging from Traditional/ basic accommodation, interpretive guiding services and restaurants to craft shops, music dance and drama performances."

The Americas

  • Agritourism Associations and Networks 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)  "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."
  • 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
  • Florida SEE (Society for Ethical Ecotourism)  "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."
  • Hawaii Ecotourism Association "HEA is committed to diversifying Hawaii's travel industry through advocacy for sustainable tourism to protect Hawaii's unique natural environment and host cultures. HEA members strive to educate everyone on the benefits of sustainable tourism for Hawaii."  And to "Provide information, professional development, and a resource network."  Lovely clean web site design, with PDF checklists available for download, and good support for operators.
  • The Latin American Travel Association (LATA)   "...is a membership association that aims to promote Latin America as a tourist destination and stimulate growth of travel to the region. LATA Members represent an ever growing travel community with unrivalled passion and knowledge for Latin America. The association is comprised of over 350 companies including tourism boards, airlines, hotels, tour operators, representation companies and the travel press." 
  • Planeta "Developed by Ron Mader in 1994 as a reporter's notebook, Planeta.com pioneered online reporting focusing on conscious travel around the globe. The award-winning site is geared toward conscious travelers, hosts and everyone inbetween seeking practical suggestions in the realm of eco-friendly, people-friendly and place-friendly travel."   Initally with a strong focus on Mexico and Latin America, Ron Mader provides an outlet for numerous papers and articles from contributors worldwide, as well as his own works.  The site also includes on-line forums and regional email groups, focusing on eco and sustainable tourism.

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

See Also:

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