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Ecoportal Wildlife EcoTours believes it is critical that local people be made active partners in developing a
local tourism industry. Money generated by tourism should stay in the community. This means hiring
local guides, staying in locally owned hotels, and using the local transportation infrastructure - issues
that have been at the heart of our travel philosophy from the beginning. To ensure that each itinerary
has a positive impact on the local culture, environment and economy, Adventure Life works under a
number of guidelines when creating new tours: 

Lodging -  are active in contributing to local conservation. These factors are considered along with cleanliness, safety, and customer service. Lodges that use innovative practices to improve upon their sustainability and mitigate any environmental impacts, as well as those that are owned by or work in conjunction with indigenous
populations, are given special preference.

The criteria underlying our primary search include but are not limited to: being locally owned and
operated; having been built in a sustainable manner  and ranging in size from 12-20 rooms where possible. In the highest volume destinations, 

Guides - Ecoportal Wildlife EcoTours hires only licensed and/or certified local guides for our escorted
tours. In accordance with our belief that a tour leader native to the destination creates a richer
experience for the traveler, we choose only the most qualified, reputable local guides. Guides are
often trilingual, facilitating interactions in languages

Tour Operation - Our itineraries are designed to use local existing infrastructure,  Tours use public transportation, or, where private transport is more practical, the services of a locally owned company. Clients visit established national parks and conservation areas, traveling in groups of 12 or fewer to minimize environmental impact. Many itineraries are designed to support community tourism projects, which might mean incorporating a homestay into the tour, or visiting an Amazon lodge owned and operated by an indigenous community. 

Continuous Improvement - Ecoportal Wildlife EcoTours is currently looking into an annual,
independent third party review of our "best practices." At present, monitoring efforts include using
direct feedback from clients, in-country coordinators and regional associates. Periodic
self-assessments review the sustainability  practices and the quality of services provided

 The most commonly accepted definition as "responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local people".

In addition to using this definition,  uses ecotourism principles to evaluate itself. The ecotourism principles used by 

Click on the links on the left to find out more information about the ecotourism principles that we use or to investigate more about ecotourism in general.

As the new millennium unfolds, we are becoming increasingly aware of the finite, interconnected and precious nature of our planet home. Likewise, tourism is becoming an increasingly popular expression of this awareness. With advances in transportation and information technology, ever more remote areas of the earth are coming within reach of the traveler. In fact, tourism is now the world's largest industry, with nature tourism the fastest growing segment.

In response to this increasing appreciation of nature experiences, a new travel ethic has arisen which is now called ecotourism. This term has become increasingly popular in both conservation and travel circles, but what exactly does it mean?

"Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples."

Most tourism in natural areas today is not ecotourism and is not therefore, sustainable. Ecotourism can be distinguished from nature tourism by its emphasis on conservation, education, traveler responsibility and active community participation. Specifically, ecotourism possesses the following characteristics:

  • Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior

  • Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity

  • Support for local conservation efforts

  • Sustainable benefits to local communities

  • Local participation in decision-making

  • Educational components for both the traveler and local communities

It is becoming evident that increased tourism to sensitive natural areas in the absence of appropriate planning and management can become a threat to the integrity of both ecosystems and local cultures. Increasing numbers of visitors to ecologically sensitive areas can lead to significant environmental degradation. Likewise, local communities and indigenous cultures can be harmed in numerous ways by an influx of foreign visitors and wealth. Additionally, fluctuations in climate, currency exchange rates, and political and social conditions can make over-dependence upon tourism a risky business.

However, this same growth creates significant opportunities for both conservation and local community benefit. Ecotourism can provide much needed revenues for the protection of national parks and other natural areas, revenues that might not be available from other sources. Additionally, ecotourism can provide a viable economic development alternative for local communities with few other income-generating options. Moreover, ecotourism can increase the level of education and activism among travelers, making them more enthusiastic and effective agents of conservation.


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