Ecotourism Then & Now

Ecotourism Then & Now

Ecotourism Key Milestones & Current Developments

Ecotourism Society Launched in 1990 to Assist ParksEcotourism Society Launched in 1990 to Assist Parks

In 1989, hundreds of thousands of acres were being added to park systems to conserve ecosystems around the world. International conservation was going into high gear, driven by the rude fact that development was accelerating in the most vulnerable and biodiverse regions of the planet. Conservationists were talking more about preserving the Amazonian rain forest, and less about "saving the panda." As conservation objectives were being ramped up, parks had jumped from being places for family recreation to becoming a global tool to preserve the last "great" endangered places.


Business Pioneers Forge Green Tourism ModelsBusiness Pioneers Forge Green Tourism Models

Before ecotourism emerged, adventure travel was already 10 years old and counting. After rafting, mountain trekking and climbing in Africa and Latin America took off in the 70s, ecotourism businesses began to test out trips with more "nerdy" international ecology themes popularized in the 80s. Most early ecotourism pioneers carried binoculars, watched birds as second nature, and could be found crawling on the ground to observe insects and mushrooms more often than scaling dramatic peaks.


Community Ecotourism on the Frontiers of Global DevelopmentCommunity Ecotourism on the Frontiers of Global Development

In the early 1990s, hundreds of small scale ecotourism companies were working in remote areas of the planet engaging communities and seeking practical and legitimate solutions to delivering community benefits. Many mistakes were made. But action was heavy. By 1996, private firms like the Conservation Corporation, based in South Africa, were scaling up with a $60 million operation and a goal of creating 60‐100 luxury lodges in East and Southern Africa, all to employ ecotourism principles.



Megan Epler Wood, TIES Founder

Megan Epler WoodMegan Epler Wood founded The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in 1990, the oldest and largest non-profit organization in the world dedicated to making ecotourism a tool for sustainable tourism development worldwide. She was its President & CEO from 1991-2002. Since 2003, Megan's firm EplerWood International has devoted itself to aiding some of the poorest countries in the world with sustainable tourism development, including the nations of Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Mexico, El Salvador, Brazil, and Honduras.



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, sustainable travel..




> The International Ecotourism Society 



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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