How ecotourism is different from sustainable tourism

Ecotourism is a popular new concept within international traveler communities who seek out exotic locales that are famed for their unique ecological beauty. Sustainable tourism is also a buzz word that has popped up on the travel scene of late though many people confuse the two terms often. We explore the differences between ecotourism and sustainable tourism.

Sustainable tourism covers all kinds of tourism activities and destinations

Ecotourism is a term applied to travels that take tourists in and around a particular protected environmental destination like a nature reserve. Ecotourism focuses on allowing tourists to visit these sites without the least amount of damage or impact. Sustainable tourism, however, on the other hand is a kind of travel that seeks to minimize a traveler’s carbon footprint and reduce the environmental cost of traveling to all kinds of destinations. The term sustainable tourism is applied to using sustainable travel options like green electricity run trains and cars instead of airplanes, living in zero- or low- energy hotels instead of posher but more polluting hotel chains etc.

Ecotourism reaps more economical benefits than sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism may be the hottest new buzzword in the industry but it is still in its infancy and its economic benefits are still to be ascertained. Ecotourism however, is focused more on allowing tourists to visit natural wonders of the world which reaps immense economic benefits to countries without the need to invest too much in terms of infrastructure development in and around these sites.

Ecotourism is more exploratory in nature

Sustainable tourism simply deals with living sustainably and opting for green travel options during travel. Ecotourism on the other hand allows tourists to explore a natural site. For example, if you were staying in a tent on a beach and using harvested rainwater and no throwing any plastic trash around your campsite, you’d be traveling sustainably. But if you were traveling through, say a game reserve in Africa, you’d be indulging in ecotourism.

Sustainable tourism focuses more on making tourists’ travel and stay zero- or low-energy


Quite simply put, sustainable tourism is all about making regular tourism more environmental friendly. This would include stays at hotels that have adapted strict measures to reduce their emissions, using green travel options like bicycles, electric cars and electric trains, restricting the use of plastics around tourism destinations and prohibiting activities that are damaging to the environment.

Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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