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Home › Our Story
Uniting Conservation, Communities and Sustainable Travel
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Launches the Advocacy Campaign "Traveling with Climate in Mind"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Holds additional IYE regional meetings in India, Peru, Thailand, Kenya and Sweden.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- Holds first "Marine Ecotourism Workshop" in Hawaii.
- Co-publishes Tourism, Ecotourism and Protected Areas, with the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.