In Print and Online

Category: Ecotourism


Title: The Costs and Benefits of Implementing Best Management Practices for Tourism Businesses

Author: Evelyn Zamora Serrano

Organization: Rainforest Alliance

Date: November 2010

Language: English

Number of pages: 48, with color photos and appendix

Eco-Index Summary: This report is a case study of 14 hotels in five Latin American countries that are involved in the Rainforest Alliance's sustainable tourism best practices program. With the goal of examining and analyzing sustainable management indicators, the Rainforest Alliance surveyed the business owners and asked them about the perceived benefits they have derived from their two years of investment and work in the program. The report indicates that investing in sustainable practices not only helps communities and the environment, but also provides clear benefits in areas such as operating costs and the improvement of tourism destinations -- and, consequently, earnings. By adopting best practices, hotels have invested in the improvement of their employment teams and infrastructure, established commercial ties with local small enterprises, and worked toward the preservation of their community's cultural and historic heritage.


Title: Green Your Business to Grow Your Business: Sustainable Tourism Certification Success Stories

Authors: Yanina Rovinski, Sofia Perez, Cristina Suhr

Organizations: Rainforest Alliance; Inter-American Development Bank; Fundecooperación - The Netherlands-Costa Rica Bilateral Agreement for Sustainable Development

Date: November 2007

Language: English

Number of pages: 81

Eco-Index Summary: This report aims to help tourism businesses mitigate the environmental and social impacts of their operations. It provides a background on the need for responsible tourism; the importance of sustainable growth in the tourism industry; the role of certification schemes; and the work of the Rainforest Alliance in making tourism more sustainable. The report also features case studies that examine the experiences that various businesses have had with sustainable tourism certification programs, describing the steps they have taken to obtain and maintain certification, the expected and unexpected benefits that have come about from the process, and the challenges they have encountered. Sixteen tourism businesses representing seven different certification programs are featured, ranging from ecolodges in the Caribbean, Latin America, and South Africa, to a sophisticated manor in Sweden and a chain of hotels in Western Europe.


Title: Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into Tourism

Author: Ronald Sanabria

Organization: Rainforest Alliance

Date: July 2006

Language: English

Number of pages: 16

Eco-Index Summary: This document, presented to the Interamerican Development Bank, provides an overview of the rapid growth of ecotourism, specifically in the Americas; statistics of visitation rates to popular destinations; and potential negative impacts of nature tourism, such as habitat destruction, pollution, and contribution to global warming and ozone depletion. The presentation presents sustainable tourism as a solution, and outlines best practices that the Rainforest Alliance is implementing at the local, national, and international level, such as capacity building and training; linking and strengthening sustainable tourism certifiers through the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas; and linking consumers with sustainable tourism offerings at an international level. Finally, the presentation provides recommendations to IADB, to help ensure that their funding priorities in the region are as effective as possible.


Title: Wildlife Watching and Tourism: A study on the benefits and risks of a fast growing tourism activity and its impacts on species

Author: Richard Tapper

Organizations: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

Date: 2006

Language: English

Number of pages: 68

Eco-Index Summary: "Wildlife Watching and Tourism" responds to the rapidly expanding wildlife-watching tourism industry, stating that wild animal populations reap higher monetary benefits for communities than activities such as poaching or illegal trafficking. The report focuses on 12 case studies to illustrate the economic importance of wildlife watching, and also highlights potential negative impacts to wildlife from improper management. Visitors can affect animal behavior, physiology, increase stress levels, and affect feeding and sleeping patterns; high rates of visitors can also severely damage sensitive habitats such as sea turtle nesting sites and coral reefs. The report makes a series of recommendations on how to create environmentally, economically, and socially responsible wildlife watching tourism through large-scale regulations such as zoning schemes, special management areas, fee programs, and visitation plans.


Title: Best Management Practices for Sustainable Tourism

Organization: Rainforest Alliance

Date: 2003

Language: English, Spanish

Number of pages: 87 with Tables, Diagrams, and Note Pages

Eco-Index Summary: Best management practices are a series of principles and concrete recommendations that can be implemented by companies, communities, and individuals whose livelihood depends on land use. The Rainforest Alliance's Sustainable Tourism Division, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, developed best management practices for the tourism industry to encourage the use of practices that comply with sustainability principles, and that can be used as the basis for the development of policies, codes of conduct and public awareness materials, and for the implementation of technical assistance, training, and certification. The "Best Management Practices for Sustainable Tourism" guide is a tool to help community businesses and small and medium-sized entrepreneurs adopt specific actions to use sustainable tourism practices in their administration and management. The document includes the main focal areas and aspects that should be considered in the administration and management of a tourist accommodation business, so that its operations reflect dedication to sustainability.


Title: Ecotourism Development: A Manual for Conservation Planners and Managers; Volume 1: An Introduction to Ecotourism Planning

Organization: The Nature Conservancy

Date: 2002

Language: English

Number of pages: 85 with Photos, Tables, a Glossary and Footnotes

Eco-Index Summary: This report discusses the opportunity that ecotourism presents to stimulate economic activity in natural areas as well as conserve biodiversity and local cultures. As ecotourism becomes more popular throughout the world, we learn more about the positive and negative impacts it presents to local environments and peoples. The authors provide a set of criteria that will benefit those involved in all aspects of ecotourism, including conservation NGOs, protected area specialists, managers of state-owned and community-owned reserves, tour operators, hotel developers, and investors. The manual presents an analysis of ecotourism from both the business and conservation perspectives.