For me ecotourism is a word that describe the impact of tourism, and the way how tourism is organized.
Ecotourism is not a product or service or market segment.
Take a quick look at this short video by the World Travel & Tourism Council asking leaders of tourism around the world "What is ecotourism to you?"
What is even more interesting is that most speakers do not simply talk about the economic benefits of the tourism industry, but also the importance of protecting local cultural and the envioronment.
You may find this video, and many others by the WTTC here: http://vimeo.com/61080359
So, anyone else wanting to reply to what ecotourism means to him/her?
In my opinion the ecoturism is a way to travel to natural areas in a conscientious mood. It is a form of turism careful to biodiversity.
The important is respect the environment, but not only, the ecoturism is also linked to the rispect the local comunity. So, when we are travveling we are interested in the local, to theirs tradictions and we want to get in touch with inhabitants.
It is a form of reaspect towards the ecosystem.
Personally, in my travel, it is a form to get in touch with the nature. It is means losing in a natural area, walking not always with a destination, listening the silence the only the nature produces!
For me ecotourism is where toursit motivation is to appreciation of nature and support well being of local traditions. Also contributes to nature conservation and protection. Ecotourism should have educational component what gives nature awarness.
In Langtang National Park Nepal, I saw good principle "Come as a tourist, go as a friend". It means that we have to respect local culture and customs everywhere we go around the world. Its important that small nations, tribes and communitys dosen´t´lose their independency. As a tourist i dont like to see all this globalisation going on right now (Coca Cola, Macdonalds, people wearing jeans etc.). Mabye ecotourism is one way to support small communitys and keep our world an interesting place.
For me ecotourism is socially responsible tourism, which combines deserving and respectable relation to nature and local socieity. Being in nature, the ecotourist is not only in the role of visitor, but in the same time in the role of nature's defender. Ecotourists support the development/saving of culture and traditions in rural areas, giving local people jobs and reason to stay in place, where are they probably from.
For me ecotourism stands for tourism in nature enviroment with low visitor impact and high social (also economical) impact to local communities. Ecotourism should have educational aspects for preserving enviroment and understanding significance of nature and traditions of local community.
Supporting local communities lays the foundation for long term sustainability and valuable environment for next generations.
I think that eco(tourism) is also part of one's lifestyle and way of thinking.
For me ecotourism, among other things, has a very important task to fulfil. Ecotourism has to make people aware of their impacts on the environment and their surroundings. For example nature tourist guide's job is not just interpreting nature but also helping people to understand that every deed has an outcome. Hence, ecotourism has a great part to play on promoting nature conservation.
Ecotourism for me stands for environmental and social responsibility. I think that it’s easy to sort out the ones that are not providing ecotourism, but I think the line is quite hazy between eco and so called „normal“ tourism.
It should be definitely educative, have low-impact to natural areas and be beneficial to local community.
I don’t think that we have any troubles concerning ecotourism negative impact to local communities in Europe, but for example in Africa it has become an issue.
Ecotourism - preservatsion and marketing of local nature and cultural heritage in a suistainable for those who are interested in it. Ecotourism has to provide a good chance to develop for rual arens, where the resources are often limited.
Ecotourism should be about unique and unforgettable experience. As a visitor, I'd expect something completely breathtaking (but not necessarily in the context of hallmark views or encountering endangered species) and at the same time I'd like know what and how is being done. As someone who would like to participate in creating and giving these great experiences to other people (i.e. as a guide), I would include everything that makes an environment whole (nature, history, character of the area, local food, local people). It should always be collaborative, educative, underlining awareness, supporting local life and the environment, bringing people into the process and welcoming visitors who show an interst.
Well, you have all well defined the concept of 'ecotourism', but I'd like to add one thing. When going abroad, me and my friends have seldomly heard about 'ecotourism'. Instead of that, the concept of 'leave no trace' is widely accepted. And that equals (for me) ecotourism.
Of course, there are some differences. Leave-no-trace is mostly used when people talk about hiking (or mountaineering - that's my friends use it), but ecotourism mostly isn't just hiking. It includes... environmentally friendly way of travelling in total.
But to conclude: you can be both an 'ecotourist' or you can 'leave no trace' - both of the options of travelling are good.