2010: The Year of Ecotourism

Posted by on August 21, 2009 in Featured, Green, World

lapa rios

The International Ecotourism Society or TIES along with its sponsors and the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference or ESTC, met last week to confirm the date of September 8-10th 2010 in Portland, Oregon for the next ESTC conference. “Together with our destination hosts, Travel Portland and Travel Oregon, TIES will utilize the coming months to raise an even greater awareness of the event and to enhance the conference experience for all,” says Dr. Kelly Bricker, Chair of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES).

ESTC 2010 Goals:
• To be THE meeting place for ecotourism and sustainable tourism professionals that foster networking opportunities.

• To inspire innovative change by highlighting best practice examples of sustainable business strategies.

• To help build public-private partnerships and multi-stakeholder networks that advance policy benefiting businesses and communities.

• To equip businesses with tools to effectively cope with the current social, environmental and economic crises.

• To promote effective strategies and proven solutions that reinforce the roles of tourism in building a sustainable future.

2010 promises new potential partnerships to accentuate the significance of sustainability. One of TIES newest collaborations is with the Planeterra Foundation. They focus on sustainable community development through travel and volunteerism. Planeterra was founded by Gap Adventure, one of the world’s biggest adventure travel companies. In 2010, both Gap Adventures and TIES are celebrating 20 years of ecotourism and responsible travel. “Both our organizations started in 1990 with small groups of dedicated professionals with a vision of transforming travel and making a difference in the world,” said Dr. Bricker, “and are today leading forces supporting and promoting unique travel experiences that benefit conservation and communities.”


The world of ecotourism has exploded in recent years even though it is not a new concept. I am thrilled with this exciting industry because like many of you I love to travel, and I respect mother earth and the critters and communities she holds dear. One of the resorts that I have been dreaming about (and TIES promotes) is Lapa Rios in Costa Rica. I have been dying to get there and see firsthand all the deliciously sustainable things they are doing, and there are a lot. They have not only won online casino three Conde Nast Traveler Awards, been recommended by Forbes Traveler, Andrew Harper, and Fodors. They were in National Geographic Adventure’s Top 50 Ecolodges 2009 and are a Rainforest Alliance Certified ‘Sustainable Standard-Setter’. My bags are packed!


I mention Lapa Rios for a few reasons, the ones listed above and that Costa Rica leads the world in sustainable and conservation tourism. Another reason is for a great feature on the Lapa Rios website, they allow and encourage you to calculate your carbon offset dollar amount, and then you can donate that amount to Fonafifo.com, to fly carbon neutral. I have been unable to get the details of  “flying carbon neutral” put into layman’s terms for me, it seems fairly simple now. The cost per CO2 ton is only $5 dollars…so for a friend and I to fly directly to Costa Rica, (I even overestimated and said I was coming from Canada) it would be roughly 40 dollars. I am shocked that it is so affordable! I will be retro-buying credits from my last trip to Costa Rica (they also take donations at fonafifo.com) sorry for the guilt trip everyone.


Look for a SocialEarth story about this inspiring resort and many others in the future, maybe it will be written from Lapa Rios! I can dream can’t I?

In the meantime I will continue to check out TIES and their great eco-destination locations.

The International Ecotourism Society – TIES

TIES logo

TIES promotes responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.

Sources: ecotourism.org; laparios.com; fonofifo.com


Justine is passionate about curing social injustice and global environmental issues. She has traveled extensively in Central America and the Caribbean, and is especially interested in the emergence of the Ecotourism industry.

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