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The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
1333 H Street, NW, Suite 300 East Tower
Washington D.C. 20005
Tel: 202-347-9203 (ext. 412)
Ayako Ezaki is the Asia Pacific Coordinator for The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), based in Washington DC. Her main responsibilities include facilitating communication and collaboration among TIES members and other individuals and organizations in the Asia Pacific region involved with ecotourism, strengthening the link between TIES and its partners in the region, and facilitating TIES’ connections with other national and regional ecotourism societies. Ayako is co-editor of TIES’ new electronic newsletter for the Asia Pacific region, Digital Traveler ~ Asia Pacific. She is also the main TIES liaison for national and regional ecotourism associations, and the Global Ecotourism Conference 2007, which is to be held in Oslo, Norway in May 2007 in partnerships with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Ecotourism Norway, the Norwegian national ecotourism association.
Ayako is originally from Japan, and has been in the United States since September 2001.
She completed her undergraduate studies at Wesleyan University (Middletown, Connecticut) in May 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Social Studies, a three-year interdisciplinary program in Economics, Political Science, History and Philosophy. During the fall semester 2003, Ayako participated in the Boston University London Internship Program (London, United Kingdom) and worked as an intern at the UK Social Investment Forum (UKSIF), a membership network that promotes socially responsible investment (SRI) in the U.K., for eight weeks. At the UKSIF she assisted research work to help create SRI guidelines for independent financial advisors, worked for the organizer of a conference on the impact of climate change on institutional investors (26 November 2003, London), and conducted research on SRI.
Her senior thesis project focused on the development of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the business case for social responsibility in Japan. She was a recipient of the Davenport Summer Study Grant in the summer 2004. As part of her research, she participated in the first Asia-Pacific CSR conference and seminar series (12-13 July 2004, Singapore) as a youth delegate, and the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA)’s Annual Conference on SRI (15-16 July 2004, Singapore).
Ayako was a recipient of the Wesleyan Asian Freeman Scholarship, a four-year full scholarship awarded each year to 22 students from 11 countries and regions in East and Southeast Asia by the Freeman Foundation, with the aim of fostering the ties between the U.S. and Asia through cultural and educational exchange.
Ecotourism, which is defined by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people” (TIES, 1990), possesses unique market opportunities as a tool not only for nature conservation, but also for protection and promotion of cultural heritage and traditions, poverty alleviation, and sustained economic growth. Proper application of the principles and practices of ecotourism can transform the tourism industry and allow travelers to have positive impacts on host communities and on the environment. Through analyses of major trends in the development of ecotourism – strong performance, increasing consumer demand for responsible travel options, increasing need for community-based ecotourism as a tool for poverty alleviation, Travelers’ Philanthropy movements, and the growth of ‘green’ certification programs – this paper discusses the prospects of ecotourism that have significant implications for ecotourism businesses in Southeast Asia.