Key Difference – Ecotourism vs Sustainable Tourism
Ecotourism and sustainable tourism are types of tourism that are for environmentally and socially conscious. There is a difference between ecotourism and sustainable tourism although they are based on similar concepts. Ecotourism is a form of tourism that typically involves natural attractions. Sustainable tourism refers to applying the concept of sustainability to any type of tourism. Therefore, sustainable tourism can be seen in different types of destinations, including both rural and urban areas whereas ecotourism mainly involves rural and wildness areas. This is the key difference between ecotourism and sustainable tourism.
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a form of tourism that is more focused on ecological conservation and education tourists on the local environment and natural surroundings. It is defined by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”
Ecotourism always involves associated destinations that have special geographical or biographical features, typically rural and wilderness areas. It respects and attempts to improve the lives of local people.
Ecotourism has many benefits to locals environmentally, culturally and economically. But, ecotourism should not be confused with nature tourism, which only involves travelling to natural attractions. For example, in nature tourism, a tourist may go bird watching in a scenic place, but an ecotourist will go bird watching with a local guide and stay in an Ecolodge operated by locals, contributing to the local economy.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
Sustainable tourism involves travel that has minimal impact on the environment and local communities. This involves protecting the natural environment and as well as being considerate of locals, their communities, customs, lifestyles, and social and economic systems. This also addresses a lot of issues such as economic viability, sociocultural sensitivity and environmental conservation. UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) describes sustainable tourism as follows:
“Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development. A suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long term sustainability”
Sustainable tourism encourages the use of non-renewable resources, supports efforts to conserve the environment, sustains the well-being of local people and contributes to biodiversity.
The concept of sustainability can be applied to all types of tourism, as well as tourist destinations of any scale. For example, it can be applied to tourism in the urban areas and in rural areas.
What is the difference between Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism?
Ecotourism: Ecotourism is focused on ecological conservation and education tourists on the local environment and natural surroundings
Sustainable Tourism: Sustainable tourism attempts to reduce the tourism industry’s negative impacts on the environment and local communities.
Ecotourism: Ecotourism includes different types of destinations such as wilderness, urban centres and other locations with cultural value.
Sustainable Tourism: Sustainable Tourism often includes destinations that have unique natural features, typically rural and wilderness areas.
Sustainable Tourism: The concept of sustainability can be applied to any form of tourism.
Ecotourism: Ecotourism is a type of tourism.