Founder - The Father of Eco Companion
Editor in Chief - Queen of Content and Weaver of Words
Marketing Manager - Town Crier and Agony Aunt
CTO - Captain of the Mysterious World of Coding
Sustainability Leader - Saviour of the Natural World
This Could be You
The problem we’re trying to solve
Humans have made more of an impact on the world than any other species. We have a powerful role to play in the shaping of the world and, whilst human impact is not always harmful, our ‘footprint’ is growing ever larger: human industries have created emissions that have fundamentally altered the Earth’s ecosystems; oceans and rivers have been polluted and overfished; and animals’ habitats have been degraded and destroyed.
Let’s take water as an example. A tourist in the Mediterranean can use up to 440 litres of water per day, nearly double what a regular Spanish city-dweller would use. Staggeringly, an average golf course in Thailand uses as much water as 60,000 rural villagers.
Economically, the impact of tourism can be hugely uneven. On average, over 80% of the money travellers pay for an all-inclusive package holiday goes to airlines, tour operators and other international companies, rather than to local workers and businesses. Imagine how much is left for in-country staff wages…
There are also socio-cultural implications. Local cultures can become degraded, turned into commodities for tourists’ consumption. For example, a traditional ethnic festival might be reduced or ‘sanitised’ in order to conform to tourists’ expectations. This can lead to sacred rituals, sites and objects becoming perceived as commodities to be bought and sold. There are ethical issues too; it is estimated that between 13 and 19 million children are employed in the tourism industry worldwide…
The solution? Ecotourism!
Here’s what we propose: travel needs to be done differently. We need a sustainable tourism industry that involves and protects local people and environments, rewarding them fairly for their valuable contribution. There’s no easy solution or quick-fix, but it’s vital that we all try.
You might have heard of ‘ecotourism’. So, what’s it all about? The International Ecotourism Society (TIES - http://www.ecotourism.org/) has defined ecotourism as ‘responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education’ (Or read more about ecotourism here).
Already the ecotourism movement has gathered huge momentum, with some fantastic examples of sustainable tourism in practice all around the world. There have been some amazing successes: Brazil’s wetlands, Belize’s barrier reef, and the Arabian Desert to name but a few
Ecotourism is entering the mainstream.
But how can we tell what’s good ecotourism?
when an organisation claims to be ‘green’ or ‘eco’ without actually operating in a sustainable manner, is one of the biggest challenges that ecotourism faces today.
One of our key tools in confronting this issue is our World Rating System. We use this innovative system to rank each experience in terms of sustainability, and sort search results so you can be sure that you’re making an informed choice. This not only empowers you as a traveller, but also means that your buying power rewards those doing fantastic work worldwide!
Our World Rating System is one tool that we use to drive standards of sustainability upwards. But we have another secret weapon…
You will be our eyes and ears on the ground, helping to analyse how truly sustainable each experience is! Of course, it’s easy to wonder: ‘As one person, how can I really make a difference?’
When individuals join together as a collective, this is when we can truly hope to have an impact.
So for this to work, we need as big a team as possible – an army even! Only once we achieve this will we have the collective power to make a real difference.
Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries and, as such, has a huge global impact - at the moment, the effects are not always positive. Indeed, often they are quite the opposite.
However, ecotourism has the potential to transform the modern-day travel industry: to stimulate economic growth, protect natural resources and local people, and educate a community of globally conscious travellers along the way.
Through constant innovation and progressive thinking, we at Eco Companion want to push the nature tourism industry further towards achieving true sustainability.
Join us and be a part of the eco-revolution!