Our Story

Our Story

The History of The International Ecotourism Society

Uniting Conservation, Communities and Sustainable Travel

 

2011

  • Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) held in Hilton Head Island, SC, USA, in partnerships with Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Convention Bureau.
  • Organizes ESTC11 pre-conference workshops, including "Sustainable Tourism: Doing Good as a Market Driver", a half-day workshop on destination marketing and management strategies.
  • Organizes a workshop on sustainable tourism business management in Grand Bahama, in partnerships with US Fish & Wildlife Service and Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds.
  • Organizes a workshop on ecotourism product development and destination marketing in South Korea, in partnership with Ecotourism Korea; Republic of Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
  • Launches the International Voluntourism Guidelines Project, in partnership with Planeterra.

2010

  • TIES turns 20 years old!
  • Publishes "Ecotourism Then and Now" by TIES founder Megan Epler Wood 
  • Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) held in Portland, Oregon, USA, in partnerships with Travel Portland and Travel Oregon.
  • Presents the Innovation Leadership in Sustainable Tourism Award at the ESTC10.
  • Co-organizes the first European Ecotourism Conference (EuroEco), held in Parnu, Estonia.
  • Becomes a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

2009

  • Launches the ecoDestinations program, with the goal of connecting travelers with inspiring ecotourism initiatives in various destinations around the world.
  • Launches Your Travel Choice Blog (YourTravelChoice.org), TIES new interactive communication platform to engage, educate and inspire.
  • Announces partnership with Planeterra Foundation, TIES Voluntourism Partner.
  • Publishes the first edition of the Travel Green Guide, TIES new annual e-publication serving as a resource guide to responsible travel options.
  • Announces conference partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

2008

  • Organizes, in partnership with local NGOs, "Washington DC Eco-Tour", highlighting eco-friendly initiatives and educational opportunities in the greater Washington community.
  • Hosts a public forum "Indigenous Business Leaders in Ecotourism" in partnership with the Swedish Ecotourism Society.
  • Announces the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) as TIES' annual conference focusing on greening the tourism industry.
  • Organizes the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference 2008 (ESTC08) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Announces the first Lifetime Achievement Award.

2007

  • Organizes the Global Ecotourism Conference 2007 (Oslo, Norway), the first global gathering of ecotourism professionals after the IYE.
  • Organizess the North American Ecotourism Conference 2007 (Madison, Wisconsin), the first bi-national conference focused on ecotourism in North America.

2006

  • Launches the Advocacy Campaign "Traveling with Climate in Mind"

2005

  • Supports relief efforts and advocates for sustainable tourism in Indian Ocean countries devastated by tsunami.
  • Marks 15th anniversary with second "Celebration of Ecotourism" in Washington, DC.
  • Sponsors first conference on "Ecotourism in the U.S." in Bar Harbor, Maine, together with local Chamber of Commerce.

2004

  • Co-hosts the Traveler's Philanthropy conference at Stanford University in California, USA.
  • Holds first Annual General Meeting open to all members in Washington, DC.
  • Begins multi-year research on tourism certification as part of Rainforest Alliance-led project focusing on five Latin American countries.

2003

  • Participates in World Ecotourism Summit in Quebec City, Canada, organizing NGOs and indigenous groups, and offering training workshops.
  • Publishes International Ecolodge Guidelines.
  • Conducts study on social and environmental footprint of nature-based lodges around the world.
  • Launches distance learning courses and Sustainable Tourism Certification with the George Washington University.

2002

  • Holds additional IYE regional meetings in India, Peru, Thailand, Kenya and Sweden.

2001

  • With the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), holds IYE regional meetings in Belize and the Seychelles.
  • Launches new online magazine, Ecotourism Observer. and publishes Ecotourism: Principles, Practices and Policies for Sustainability.
  • Joins Rainforest Alliance’s initiative to assess feasibility of creating accreditation system for sustainable tourism and ecotourism certification.

2000

  • Kicks off first consumer education campaign, "Your Travel Choice Can Make a Difference."
  • Attends "Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Certification Workshop" at Mohonk Mountain House, New York and signs seminal "Mohonk Agreement."
  • Publishes The Business of Ecolodges, based on international survey of financial data from ecolodges.
  • Changes name to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in preparation for International Year of Ecotourism (IYE); moves its office from North Bennington to Burlington, Vermont.

1999

  • Publishes Marine Ecotourism Guidelines.
  • Holds ecotourism training workshop at the World Ecotourism Conference in Sabah, Malaysia.
  • Works with the Programme for Belize to analyze revenue generating strategies for conserving coral reefs.
  • Produces Cultural Survival Quarterly issue entitled "Protecting Indigenous Culture and Land through Ecotourism."

1998

  • Holds regional workshop, "Planning and Developing an Ecotourism Destination," in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
  • Co-hosts ecotourism training workshop for tour operators in Tahiti.
  • Conducts "Marine Ecotourism Stakeholder" meetings in the Caribbean and Mexico.

1997

  • Co-hosts first regional forum, "Ecotourism and Community Participation," in Quito, Ecuador.
  • Together with Kenya Wildlife Service and Ecotourism Society of Kenya, sponsors regional conference, "Ecotourism at the Crossroads: Charting the Way Forward," in Nairobi, Kenya.

1996

  • Holds first "Marine Ecotourism Workshop" in Hawaii.
  • Co-publishes Tourism, Ecotourism and Protected Areas, with the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

1995

  • Launches Ecotourism News Service and Ecotourism Society Research Service; issues first fact sheets and information packets.
  • Publishes The Ecolodge Sourcebook for Planners and Developers.
  • Holds forum in Costa Rica with participants from over 30 countries to define international ecolodge standards.

1994

  • Sponsors first "International Ecolodge Forum and Field Seminar on Ecolodge Design" at Maho Bay Camps, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Holds the first "International Ecotourism Partners" meeting in Virgin Islands to foster national and regional ecotourism associations.

1993

  • Publishes its first book, Ecotourism: A Guide for Planners and Manager and popular pamphlet Ecotourism Guidelines for Nature Tour Operators.
  • Working with member tour operators, helps win higher park entrance fees for foreign visitors to Costa Rica's National Parks.

1992

  • Advocates for sound ecotourism practices at World Parks and Protected Areas Congress in Caracas, Venezuela and First World Congress on Tourism and the Environment in Belize.
  • Produces first set of comprehensive guidelines for ecotourism operators based on international surveys and focus groups.

1991

  • Board establishes TIES mission and the definition of ecotourism.
  • Works with Charles Darwin Foundation to find solutions to uncontrolled tourism growth in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
  • Offers "Ecotourism Management Seminar" with the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

1990

  • TIES launched by a team organized by Megan Epler Wood at a conference in Florida in 1989 as the world's first international non-profit dedicated to ecotourism as a tool for conservation and sustainable development.
  • Epler Wood recruits the first board of directors and Chairman, David Western in 1990. Western and Epler Wood raise the first grants for the Society.

 

About TIES


As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, and sustainable travel.

 

> The International Ecotourism Society

ESTC14


The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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