International Year of Ecotourism

International Year of Ecotourism (2002)

Sustainable Development of Ecotourism - A Compilation of Good Practices in SMEs
This publication is the 3rd of a series of good practice compilations, and it has been prepared in the follow up to the International Year of Ecotourism 2002. This compilation contains 65 case studies received from 47 countries about exemplary practices in small ecotourism businesses.

Outcomes of the International Year of Ecotourism (IYE) 2002: UNWTO Report to the UN General Assembly on activities undertaken by governments and international organizations
Following a request by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/53/200, and the Economic and Social Council, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has prepared this report on the activities undertaken by States and major international organizations in the framework of the International Year of Ecotourism (IYE).

This report presents, in its first part, all the activities carried out by UNWTO, UNEP and other international organizations in preparation for and during the IYE. In its second part, this report synthesises the activities undertaken by governments in the framework of the IYE. This information, mainly based on the responses of 93 countries to a questionnaire sent by UNWTO, is structured according to the following six main themes:

  1. National policy
  2. Activities and publications
  3. Stakeholders' participation and support
  4. Awareness raising
  5. Regulation
  6. Cooperation

The report reveals an extremely wide range of activities stimulated by the IYE at the national and local levels, with the participation of the various sectors involved in ecotourism. In general terms, even though the global situation of ecotourism still needs improvements, the International Year of Ecotourism permitted, in most countries and in all domains, to improve sustainability levels in ecotourism, and in the tourism sector generally. This year served to stimulate the replication of good practices among governments and private companies, and as a strong engine for innovative programmes and projects.

National Activities

Note: The following activities have been communicated to UNWTO by its Member States.

Hosting the Conference on the Sustainable Development of Ecotourism in Desert Areas (Preparatory Conference for the International Year of Ecotourism, 2002)
Alger, Algeria, 21-23 January 2002.

The Ministry of Tourism of Andorra organized a National Ecotourism Conference between 15-17 July 2002

The 2002 Ecotourism Association of Australia International Conference was held on 21-25 October in Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, Australia

Hosting the Conference on Ecotourism in Mountain Areas: A Challenge to Sustainable Development European Preparatory Conference for the International Year of Ecotourism and the International Year of Mountains, 2002
St. Johann / Pongau and Werfenweng, Salzburg, Austria, 12-15 September 2001

The Ministry of Tourism has elaborated the Botswana National Ecotourism Strategy, through a consultation process involving all mayor stakeholders groups in the different regions of the country. The Strategy is currently submitted to the Congress for final approval.

Hosting the Conference on Sustainable Development and Management of Ecotourism in the Americas
Preparatory Conference for the International Year of Ecotourism, 2002, Cuiabá, Brazil, 22-24 August 2001

The Ministry of environment and Water and the Ministry of Economy in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry organise the Nation's first Forum and Fair for Ecotourism, Mountains and Protected Areas - Partners in Prosperity, to be held from 2 to 4 October 2002 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The country is hosting the Symposium of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) on Ecotourism, Trade and Investment, with the aim of discussing opportunities and challenges of ecotourism development, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 25-30 November 2001.This symposium is the fifth congress of ATA, a USA based organisation, that acts for the tourist and economic promotion of its members (Cameroon being one of them), in the North-American market.

The General Directorate of Tourism, Ministry of Economic Development is planning to undertake the following activities in co-ordination with the regional tourism offices:

  • Elaborate a methodology for regional ecotourism planning
  • Formulate an ecotourism policy
  • Conduct an ecotourism market study
  • Organize a series of conferences on ecotourism development and management
  • Prepare a guide for ecotourism management in conflict areas
  • Define regulations and quality standards for ecotourism activities

The Ministry of Culture and Arts, in charge of Tourism, has designed a National Committee for the organisation of activities related to the International Year of Ecotourism.This committee is composed by the following entities:

  • Ministère de la Culture et des Arts
  • Ministère de l'industrie minière et de l'environnement
  • Ministère du Commerce et de l'Artisanat - Association « amis du parc national d'Odzala
  • Export-Conseil FTC, Congo
  • Cabinet MCAT
  • Cellule d'études sur la Biodiversité

Costa Rica

  • An international meeting on ecotourism with emphasis on interpretation, guiding, product design and quality control
  • An international training programme for guides, entrepreneurs and decision makers. The programme includes 2-3 courses in basic, medium and advanced levels with emphasis on field activities
  • Apublic workshops for nationals aimed at raising awareness of the importance of ecotourism in Costa Rica
  • Prepare a publication on the experience developed in Costa Rica about environmental interpretation and guiding
  • Create a prize on sustainable tourism management for companies

Côte d'Ivoire
In accordance with the recommendations of UNWTO, the Ministry of Tourism and Handicraft of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire has created a National Ecotourism Committee in April 2001 for the organisation of activities related to the International Year of Ecotourism. The National Committee is composed of entities from different sectors, such as tourism-related national ministries and public agencies, tourism trade organizations, NGOs, tour operators and media organizations.
The Committee is divided into the following three sub-committees:

  • Sub-committee on Ecotourism Products, directed by travel agencies.
  • Sub-committee on Ecotourism Areas (inventory of national parks and reserves), co-ordinated by the "Programme Cadre de Gestion des Aires Protégées" (PCGAP). The PCGAP functions under the Ministry of Environment.
  • Sub-committee on Public Awareness, led by the Directorate of Tourism. It is aiming at identifying actions targeting the public.

The Reports of the two first Sub-committees are available below. The third one is currently engaged in elaborating a comprehensive programme of activities. As the first step of this programme, a National Ecotourism Seminary will be organized in June 2001.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea
The Ministry of Tourism of North Korea is organizing a National Ecotourism Conference in Pyongyang, 16 May 2002.

The Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador will undertake the following activities:

  • A study was initiated jointly with the International Labour Organization on sustainable tourism development in indigenous communities. This initiative includes six case studies and it is planned to be extended to the entire country.
  • Establish a database on the country's ecotourism and community-based tourism offer with the support of the Organization of American States by the end of 2001.
  • Install the Centre of Community based Ecotourism with the support of NGOs and universities active in this field
  • Participate in the formulation of a National Sustainable Development Policy and Strategy jointly with the Ministry of Environment
  • Elaborate a strategy on tourism development for the Amazonas region jointly with the Andean Tourism Authorities and the Ministry of Environment
  • Following a Presidential Act, the National Committee on Mountains were formulated with the prime objectives of conservation and sustainable development of mountain areas.

El Salvador

The Ministry of tourism of Eritrea has developed a National Tourism Development Plan pertaining to ecotourism, environment and socio-cultural matters. At the same time, a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Eritrea have been defined.

Following UNWTO advice, the Department of Tourism formed a special committee for the Year consisting of the Fiji Eco-tourism Association (FETA) and other stakeholders involved in ecotourism. The Fiji Ecotourism Policy and Strategy, approved by the Government in 1999, will be further implemented.
Furthermore, the country hosted the Conference on Ecotourism for the South Pacific Islands, Preparatory Conference for the International Year of Ecotourism, 2002, Fiji, 14-15 April 2002

In the framework of The IYE and the International Year of Mountains, Mountain Wilderness is launching a landscape conservation programme. The project is to remove from the mountainous areas obsolete facilities (ski lift, hydro-electrical installations, etc..). A first experience will be started at the beginning of 2002 in an Italian-French site.
The objective is to make the public, but also local authorities and property developers, aware of the cost of rehabilitation of any mountainous site after its exploitation.
For more information, please consult:
Tourism, Ethics and Globalization, International Year of Ecotourism, Paris International Meetings - 14 March 2002

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is promoting forms of holiday-making that are friendly to the natural environment and will support the design and marketing of corresponding products in national and natural parks and other protected areas. Regional and local governments and tourism organizations have been invited to use the Year as an opportunity for drawing attention to special projects, measures and contributions to environmental sustainability of tourism.
The German National Tourist Board, together with regional tourism marketing organizations will undertake activities to promote the topic "holiday nature" (holidays on farms, by bike, on camp-sites, by hiking, as well as fitness and wellness centres) as a key activity in domestic and foreign marketing for the International Year.

Eco-fest Foundation, an NGO from Ghana, in conjunction with other stakeholders involved in environmental preservation, is organizing a 12-day environmental nature festival:"Celebrating the Earth in the New Millenium", Accra, Ghana, 14th-26th October 2001
Included within the festival a 2-day seminar on the socio-economic development will be held. "Eco-tourism", "Traditional land use system", "Environmental sanitation" and "Sustainable environment and mass tourism" will be the main topics. Also to be programmed: Tours in ecological sites, cultural journeys and a International Musical Concert showcasing traditional music as a component of eco-tourism.

Hosting the Conference on the development of Ecotourism: The International Experience and the case of Greece Preparatory Conference for the International Year of Ecotourism, 2002 Thessaloniki, Greece, 2-4 November 2001


The Ministry of Tourism, Hotel Trade and Handicraft has formed the Guinean National Committee for the International Year of Ecotourism.
The National Committee is composed of entities from different sectors, such as tourism-related national ministries and public agencies, tourism trade organizations, NGOs, tour operators and environmental organizations. It will be particularly in charge of elaborating the programme of activities of the IYE following UNWTO recommendations:

  • Elaborating the programme of activities of the IYE following UNWTO recommendations
  • Ensuring the cohesion between IYE actions and those for the International Year of Mountains
  • Formulating recommendations for measures and actions to be undertaken by governmental authorities and other stakeholders involved
  • Ensuring the monitoring of government and other partners contributions to the programme of activities of the IYE
  • Supporting and participating in fund-raising activities
  • Developing mechanisms for the assessment of the sustainable process in the country.

The Ministry of Tourism, Hotel Trade and Handicraft has decided to celebrate the World Tourism Day of 2002 jointly with the Ministry of Tourism of Senegal. The event will take place in the transboundary Park of Nokolobadiar.
This will be the occasion for both countries to prepare an Inter-state Programme on Ecotourism Development.


The State Secretariat for Tourism has initiated the elaboration of a National Ecotourism Development Plan and a programme for supporting the establishment and enhancement of visitor centers at National Parks, protected areas and other ecotourism sites.
A Conference on Ecotourism in the Carpathian Basin was organized at Lake Tisza, Hungary between 13-15 June 2002. The Conference attracted more than 100 professionals involved in eco- and rural tourism, representing public, private and civil organizations.

The Department of Tourism has decided to:

  • Promote the application of policy and guidelines related to ecotourism: Policy and guidelines have been developed at national level and agreed to by State Governments. State Governments are being advised to undertake suitable specific measures in respect of ecotourism
  • Advise the Ministry of Environment and the State Governments on initiating compulsory and voluntary regulations regarding ecotourism activities
  • Undertake specific programmes for national parks and sanctuaries.
  • Form national and state level committees for the co-ordination of activities in the framework of the Year, as advised by UNWTO.

The following activities were organized in Israel in connection with the International Year of Ecotourism:
Conferences and Seminars

  1. "Looking to the Future - Ecotourism at the Dead Sea" April 23, 2001, Hyatt Regency Resort, Dead Sea, Israel
  2. "Urban Ecotourism" December 2, 2001, Daniel Hotel and Spa, Herzliya, Israel
  3. "Organic Agritourism as a form of Ecotourism" January 30, 2002, Ministry of Agriculture, Israel

Marketing Activities
Production of a marketing brochure: "Naturally Israel - The Israel Alternative and Ecotourism Guide" (2002 - International Year of Ecotourism), for use by the Israel Government Tourist Offices around the world and in Travel and Tourism Fairs globally.

The Okinawa Prefecture with various support from the government of Japan and industry leaders will host: The International Conference on the Ecotourism, "Balancing the Regional Independent/Autonomous Development and the Preservation of Diversity/Originality Through the ecotourism", November 28 - December 2, 2002
Main Pavilion, Okinawa Convention Center, Ginowan City, Okinawa.
The main theme of this conference will be the economic benefits of the ecotourism for islands or geographically isolated communities.

Ecotourism, a Tool for Sustainable Development in the 21st Century in the transitional economies of the CIS countries, China and Mongolia A Preparatory Seminar for the International Year of Ecotourism, 2002, (Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan, 17 & 18 October 2001)

The Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry will dedicate the Year to the promotion of ecotourism with emphasis on programmes aimed at enhancing sustainable tourism development for the locals and visitors. A multi-stakeholder committee has been formed with a mandate to prepare a comprehensive programme for the Year, as recommended by UNWTO.


Conference on Ecotourism for the Asia-Pacific Region, International Year of Ecotourism, 2002 Maldives,11-13 February 2002

A Preparatory Committee has been formed in order to celebrate the IYE. This committee, coordinated by the Ministry of Tourism and the National Association for the Management of Protected Areas (ANGAP), comprises:

  • The Ministry of Tourism
  • The Ministry of Environment
  • The Ministry of Water and Forest
  • The Ministry of Communication
  • The Ministry of Culture
  • The National Office for Environment
  • The National Association for the Management of Protected Areas (ANGAP)
  • La Maison du Tourisme de Madagascar
  • World Wild Fund
  • Landscape Development Interventions / USAI

A programme of actions has been established:

  • Film festival/exhibitions
  • Debates on television
  • Inauguration of National Parks
  • World Tourism Day
  • Elaboration of a National Strategy for Ecotourism

Fam trips for providers and specialised media

The Ministry of Tourism will set up an Inter-ministerial Committee to prepare a programme to be implemented throughout the Year 2002, following UNWTO recommendations.

The Ministry of Tourism is proposing a greening programme for the three main tourist villages of Mauritius: Grand Bay (North), Trou d'Eau Douce (East) and Flic and Flac (West) in collaboration with the public and private sectors, NGOs and local communities. The programme will focus on sustainable and integrated options.

The Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR) is planning to organize a National Forum on Ecotourism aiming at examining the following aspects: Trends and characteristics of the national and international ecotourism market, characteristics of the successful ecotourism products in Mexico for source markets, the role of governments in the planning and development of ecotourism, succesfull experiences of ecotourism companies and marketing opportunities.

Mozambique hosted the first preparatory seminar organized by the World Tourism Organization for the International Year of Ecotourism. This seminar was held in Maputo on 5-6 March 2001, and over 150 delegates representing stakeholders from the public, private, NGOs sectors and local communities alike from 22 African countries, participated in it.
The Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) of Mozambique is also organizing two national Seminars in those provinces where the ecotourism is being practiced, especially with the participation of local communities. These Seminars will take place in February 2002 and their general objective is to discuss and debate aspects of ecotourism development and management. These seminars also aim at finding out the potential of other provinces for ecotourism development and to discuss how to finance future projects and conservation in this field.

The Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR) jointly with the Ministry of Environment and Natural resources have elaborated a strategy for the sustainable development of tourism, which gives a framework for the development of the ecotourism sector as well.
The INTUR is planning to undertake the following activities:

  • Provide technical, financial and promotional support for, and facilitate the creation and operation of small and medium size firms in the field of ecotourism through multisectoral loans with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank
  • Elaborate a plan for 12 ecotourism routes in the country and produce promotion materials for tour-operators.
  • Create a National Committee for the Year, as advised by UNWTO

The official celebration of the twenty-third World Tourism Day in Poland will take place in the Bialowieza National Park on Friday 4 October 2002. A two-day Seminar on Tourism and Nature, organised by the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Economy, will precede the celebration.

The Directive Committee of the Andean Regional Conference on Ecotourism, held in Lima from 5 to 7 February 2002, has elaborated the "Declaration of Lima". This document resumed the position of all Andean countries attended to the conference and will be presented at the World Ecotourism Summit.

In accordance with the recommendations of UNWTO, the State Secretary for Tourism has created a National Committee in February 2002 for the organisation of activities related to the International Year of Ecotourism. The National Committee is composed of different tourism and environmental bodies.At the same time, the State Secretary for Tourism has designed the architect Azevedo e Silva, chief of the Division of Tourism General Direction, co-ordinator agent for the questions related to the IYE.

The Romanian Ministry of Tourism organised a National Seminar on Ecotourism, with international and UNWTO participation, in Oradea, from 18 to 20 April 2002.The Romanian Ministry of Tourism also organised a Seminar on ecotourism development on 26 October 2001 during the National Tourism Fair at Bucharest, as the opening event of the International year of Ecotourism, 2002. Following this opening event, two other seminars were held on ecotourism development and management during 2001 at the national level. The first one took place in November 2001, and it was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the National Association of Rural Ecological and Cultural Tourism, and the another seminar was held from 16 to 20 December 2001, focusing on the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project.

Hosting the International Seminar on Sustainable Development of Ecotourism in Russia and other CIS Countries, International Year of Ecotourism, 2002, Moscow, Russia, 25-26 March 2002, in the framework of the Moscow International Tourism Fair

The Department of Tourism Investment and Promotion of the Tourism Ministry was designated as the co-ordinator for activities in the framework of the Year. A National Committee will be set up for this purpose.
The Tourism Ministry proposes the following activities:

  • Launch an ecotourism development project in the Niokolo Badiar Trans-frontier Park and the Saloum Delta National Park, both designated as Biosphere Reserves, during 2002
  • Prepare a week-long programme for the commemoration of the World Tourism Day focused on the topic of ecotourism
  • Coordinate a national programme on ecotourism awareness raising that can be launched on the occasion of the World Tourism Day, on the 27 September, 2001 and conducted until the end of 2002
  • Organize familiarization trips and media excursions specialized in ecotourism
  • Set up a committee aiming at developing a guide on ecotourism
  • Launch a training programme for ecotour-guides
  • Provide funds for university and other institutes and scholarships for students in Senegal for study programmes and investigations on ecotourism

The Ministry of Tourism has decided to celebrate the World Tourism Day of 2002 jointly with the Ministry of Tourism, Hotel Trade and Handicraft of Guinea. The event will take place in the transboundary Park of Nokolobadiar.This will be the occasion for both countries to prepare an Inter-state Programme on Ecotourism Development.

Hosting the Conference on Sustainable Development and Management of Ecotourism in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other Small Islands
Preparatory Conference for the International Year of Ecotourism, 2002 Mahé, Seychelles, 8-10 December 2001

The "Xunta" of Galice, Spain, organized "ECOAQUA International Conference on Ecotourism in Water Areas 16-19 October 2002, Mondariz-Balneario, Galicia, Spain"

Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka Tourist Board organises a one-day Seminar on Ecotourism to mark the World Tourism Day on 24 september 2002

The Ministry of Natural Resource and Tourism has nominated Mrs. U.J. Kiangi to be a focal print for the International Year of Ecotourism activities.
Under the coordination of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, a National Committee has been formed for the purpose of organising activities for the IYE. This committee comprises various stakeholders including Governments Institutions, private sector as well as NGO's and Environmental media organisation.
Some proposed activities are indicated below:

  • To launch Mount Kilimanjaro expedition for the purpose of cleaning the mountain
  • To organise seminar on ecotoursim development
  • To organise specific programmes to the National Parks and Game Reserves and other activities which will feature development of sustainable development

The Thailand Tourism Authority is planning to:

  • Organize a Conference on Eco- and Adventure Tourism, in co-operation with the Pacific Asia Travel Association at Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, in 2002;
  • Celebrate the 4th Thailand Tourism Awards in 2002 (since 1996). The programme, that is presented biannually since 1996, aims at the promotion of cultural and environmental conservation in the tourism sector. The following activities are carried out on a regular basis:
    - Ecotourism research and study plans
    - Public and Private development and management plans
    - Marketing plans to promote the sales by ecotourism operators.
    - Public relation and promotion plans for proper knowledge on ecotourism and its development

The Ministry of Tourism of Urugay organized the 1st National Ecotourism Congress.

To promote ecotourism in Venezuela during this International Year of Ecotourism, Angel-Eco Tours has joined efforts with Venezuelan ecotourism companies Hékura Consultores, C.A. and MarkCom Eventos, C.A. to organize EXPOECOTURISMO 2002, the very first ecotourism exhibition and trade show to be held in Venezuela. EXPO-ECOTURISMO 2002
Ecotourism Exhibition and Trade Show 10-11 September 2002, Hotel Tamanaco, Caracas, Venezuela
A group of Venezuelan eco-tour operators initiated this strategic alliance in order to enhance marketing and promotional activities in domestic and foreign markets, foster sustainable tourism practices and cooperation between private companies and with other sectors.

The Ministry of environment and Tourism has designated its Deputy Secretary as the focal point to co-ordinate activities related to the IYE at national level.