Definition and Eco-tourism Principles
TIES defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following principles:
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
Support international human rights and labor agreements
This definition of eco-tourism, first adopted by the founding board of TIE's directors in 1991, states that:
Eco-tourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.
While this concise statement has become one of the most widely quoted and accepted definitions of ecotourism, MM Adventure recognizes that there are today dozens of other definitions, almost all of which incorporate the core meaning of the below definition of conserving the environment and sustaining the well-being of local people. At MM Adventure, we believe we should focus on analyzing and promoting a clear understanding of the basic principals of ecotourism and examining ways to ensure they are implemented. We believe, as is implicit in TIES’ definition, that successful characteristics of ecotourism include:
Minimizing the negative impacts on nature and culture that can damage a destination.
Educating the traveller on the importance of conservation.
Stressing the importance of responsible business that works in cooperation with local authorities and people to meet local needs and deliver conservation benefits.
Directing revenues to the conservation and management of natural and protected areas and biological diversity.
Emphasizing the need for both regional tourism zoning and visitor management plans designed for either regions or natural areas that are slated to become ecodestinations.
Emphasizing use of environmental and social base-line studies, as well as long-term monitoring programs, to assess and minimize impacts.
Maximizing economic benefit for the host country, local business and communities, particularly peoples living in and adjacent to natural and protected areas.
Supporting the economic empowerment of communities through training and hiring local people, paying fair wages and benefits, buying supplies locally, and supporting local ownership or joint ventures with outside business or NGO partners of tourist facilities and concessions.
Ensuring that tourism development does not exceed the social and environmental limits of acceptable change as determined by researchers in cooperation with local residents.
Relying on infrastructure that has been developed in harmony with the environment: minimizing use of fossil fuels, conserving local plant and wildlife, and blending with the natural and cultural environment