Ecotourism as a Conservation Strategy for Funders
According to a new report from the Environmental Grantmakers Association, private foundations can play a critical role in realizing the full potential of ecotourism to promote both environmental conservation and community development. Ecotourism as a Conservation Strategy for Funders (28 pages, PDF) argues that the promise of effective ecotourism remains unfulfilled due largely to problematic implementations at the site level, a lack of clear standards, false marketing, and the industry's risky financial profile. The author recommends that foundations intervene by supporting internationally recognized standards and certification processes, promoting community participation-based ecotourism, facilitating grants for smaller projects through re-granting and partnering with local NGOs, and practicing "travelers' philanthropy" — minimizing the negative effects of staff travel. Funded by the Rosemary L. Ripley Family Foundation's International Environmental Internship program at Yale University, the report also includes lists of resources and foundations that fund ecotourism.