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Ecotourism Enterprises

Many private companies offer a wide variety of ecotours, as do a number of development and conservation-related NGOs. These businesses often enlist the logistical and marketing assistance of government agencies in the countries where their tours take place. Ecotourism companies typically supply a number of services to their clients: transportation to and from remote venues, food and cooking, lodging, local guiding, outdoor skills training, and expert interpretation of natural and cultural features. These services promote in-depth exploration of the natural and cultural sites on the itinerary, minimize environmental impact, and allow clients to travel safely and comfortably in remote or environmentally fragile areas.

Ecotours are available to all types of potential adventures with all kinds of interests. Ecotourists can visit and explore all seven continents, and all four oceans. The National Geographic Society, for example, lists some of its top destinations for October, 2002: hiking Machu Picchu and Peru, cruising the Galapagos Islands, exploring the Alaskan Frontier, visiting the pyramids of Egypt, diving in the Caribbean, and photographing South African wildlife. Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Institution offers study trips to hundreds of locations including Patagonia, Antarctica and Falklands, the rivers of West Africa, Tahiti and Polynesia, Yellowstone, Baja California, Australia, and the Southern Amazon. Some ecotours are athletically strenuous, some are luxurious, and some are scientific. There are outfits that offer adventures for travelers on all types of budgets. There is also a wide range of ecotourism and outdoor education activities available to high school and college students. Some of these programs, including the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and Semester at Sea, offer high school and college credit for their courses. Other programs allow students to participate in international conservation efforts and natural science expeditions. Many schools and universities even offer their own off-campus programs to augment natural, environmental, and social science curricula.



Elander, M., and S. Widstrand. Eco-Touring: The Ultimate Guide. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 1997.

Fennell, D.A. Ecotourism: An Introduction. New York: Routledge, 1999.

Harris, Rob, Ernie Heath, Lorin Toepper, and Peter Williams. Sustainable Tourism. A Marketing Perspective. Woburn, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998.

Honey, M. Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? Washington, DC: Island Press, 1998.


Conservation International. 1919 M Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. (800) 406–2306. <http://www.conservation.org/xp/CIWEB/home>

The International Ecotourism Society. P.O. Box 668, Burlington, VT 05402. (802) 651–9818. <http://www.ecotourism.org>

The National Outdoor Leadership School. 284 Lincoln St., Lander, WY 82520-2848. (307) 332–5300. <http://www.nols.org>

Semester at Sea—Institute for Shipboard Education. 811 William Pitt Union, Pittsburg, PA 15260. (412) 648–7490. <http://www.semesteratsea.com>


National Geographic Institution. "National Geographic Expe ditions" [cited October 28, 2002]. <http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngexpeditions/>.

Smithsonian Institution. "Smithsonian Study Tours" [cited October 28, 2002]. <http://smithsonianstudytours.org/sst/start.htm.>.

United Nations Environmental Programme Production and Consumptin Unit, Tourism. "International Year of Ecotourism 2002." June 25, 2002 [cited October 28, 2002]. <http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/ecotourism/iye.htm.>. World Tourism Organisation. "The Leading Organization in the

World of Tourism and Travel" [cited October 29, 2002]. <http://www.world-tourism.org/.>.

Bill Freedman

Laurie Duncan


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—Ecology-based tourism, focused primarily on natural or cultural resources.

Sustainable development

—Development that meets the needs and aspirations of the present generation, without compromising those of future ones.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Dysprosium to Electrophoresis - Electrophoretic TheoryEcotourism - Ecotourism And Sustainable Development, Ecotourism Enterprises