True Ecotourism

Erika Harms, the Executive Director of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, acknowledges that this is a developing industry—only 3 percent of all travel venues have converted to some type of sustainability program.

Harms warns would-be ecotourists that it is important to distinguish between tours that say they are “eco-friendly” and trips that really do promote a greater understanding and appreciation for nature and local culture.

Before you commit to a trip, ask the following questions:
* Is the program third party accredited?
* Is there water and energy conservation and engagement with the local community, or do revenues pass through to an off-site management company?
* Is there really a social or economic benefit to the local economy?

Ezaki unofficially named a few trip organizations that she deals with on a regular basis and can vouch for. (See resources for a list.)