The Prospect of Ecotourism Business in Asia Pacific ~

TIES’ Perspective on Responsible Tourism and Business Opportunities
Ayako Ezaki, Asia Pacific Coordinator
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)


What is TIES?
Trends in Ecotourism
1) Strong Consumer demand
2) Travelers’ Philanthropy
3) Setting Standards: Certification


Founded in 1990.
Largest and oldest ecotourism organization in the world.
Offices: Washington, DC; Costa Rica; Australia
Umbrella for 3 dozen national ecotourism associations.
Mission: Unite Conservation, Communities and Sustainable Tourism
TIES’ Presence in Asia Pacific

Ecotourism Measuring Its Importance
1990s: fastest growing sector of tourism industry ~ 20–34%/year
2002: International Year of Ecotourism
Some 3 dozen ecotourism societies around the world
Efforts to promote ecotourism on national level – e.g. National ecotourism conferences in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam

Trends in Ecotourism
(1) Strong Consumer Demand

Consumer Demand for Ecotourism
- 3/4 say their travel should not damage environment.
- Majority say they want to learn about customs, geography, and culture.
- At least 1/3 say they are willing to pay more to companies that benefit local communities and conservation.

Trends in Ecotourism
(2) Travelers’ Philanthropy


What is Travelers’ Philanthropy?
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR) within the tourism industry
- New source of development aid to host communities
- “Time, Talent & Treasure”

Why are Companies Involved?
Vanguard are ecotourism companies with strong social & environmental ethics
“Insurance policy” ~ easier to network and do business in host community
Marketing differentiation
Increases staff pride and commitment

Trends in Ecotourism
(3) Setting Standards ~ Certification


Purpose of Green Certification Programs
Provide tourists with environmentally and socially responsible choices
Prevent “green-washing”
Raise business performance
Protect resource base for tourism
Protect country’s image/reputation
Provide marketing advantage to certified companies and operators

Prospects for Ecotourism Bright
Consumer demand strong
Recognized as sound model for development
New movement towards corporate social responsibility
Growth of ‘green’ certification

Ayako Ezaki Asia Pacific Coordinator, TIES