Ecotourism Employee by dK3Lya1


									Ecotourism Employee
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as “the
responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and
sustains the well-being of local people.” Ecotourism is a growing industry
with a wide array of opportunities around the globe. There are internship
and volunteer opportunities, seasonal employment, or one could start their
own ecotourism industry. The travel and tourism industry is the largest
business sector in the world, with over 230 million jobs filling ten percent of
the global domestic product (TIES). An ecotourism employee can work for
a government, a private tourism company, a researching university, or a
non-governmental organization. Generally, these positions involve working
outdoors and the hours can be demanding depending on the position.
Knowledge about sustainable development, ecological business
management, natural resources and conservation and community growth
and development are important issues for one to understand. Although
ecotourism has been a tool in developing countries for conserving their
environmental and cultural diversity, there are also opportunities for
ecotourism in the developed world. Ecotourism provides an economic
incentive for environmental conservation.

Field          Environmental Conservation and Education

Job Title      Ecotourism Employee
               PhD             Masters      Bachelors      Associate    School         Other
                                            Aids in
                                            ability for
Education                       Not         off-season
               Not required    required     work
               International   Regional     States         Cities       Corporations   Top Schools
               Found in
               countries                     Local and     Generally
               where                        State          in
Location       tourism is                   National       wilderness
               common                       Parks          areas
               Salary Range    Hours        Benefits       Atmosphere
               Depends on       Can be      medical          Outdoors, mostly collaborative. Often one
Working        position,       demanding,   and other      works with a community or organization to
Conditions     location,       often        insurance,     monitor, maintain sustainability. Much human
               amount of       seasonal     travel and     interaction with tourists and community.
                    danger, and                     room and
                    experience                      board
                     Knowledge about sustainable development, business, environmental issues, tourism.
Marketable Skills   Communication important. Potential for research. Fluency in foreign language may be
                    necessary. Resourcefulness is a plus.
Responsibilities    Maintain cultural and environmental integrity. Ensure tourists understand and learn about
                    particular animals, plants, ecology, culture of area, and enjoy their time.

        A Day in the Life…

There are a variety of activities for an ecotourism employee throughout the
day and depending on the specific position title they have, most people
would not call themselves an ecotourism employee. For example, an
Ecotourism and Community Based Tourism Adviser working for the
Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) would work in a poor country to help a
particular community to improve their tourism industry while also
conserving their ecological and cultural integrity for future generations.
Others may call themselves Tour Leaders or Community Environmental
Educators. Education will be a large part of their day, whether it is for a
community to help their business or for tourists to enjoy and appreciate
their time there. Therefore, it is important to know a lot about the plants
and animals there as well as the history of the community and knowledge
about their culture to share with others. The job would involve much of
their day, especially if they manage the activities and finances of the
business. (Based on interview conducted on April 17, 2009)

Projected Career Outlook

With more experience in the field, there is the potential to manage or even
run your own ecotourism business. It may be difficult to keep one position
since it is seasonal work, more experience allows for more security,
especially if it is your own business. Ecotourism is a rising industry, with
more people each year being interested in traveling sustainably as well as
making money without depleting resources. Knowledge in sustainable
development could also aid in other jobs, such as consulting businesses on
how to turn “green”. Therefore, even internships and volunteer
opportunities in ecotourism would aid one in finding further careers down
the road. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tour guides in the
United States have a mean hourly wage of $11.57 and a mean annual
wage of $24, 060. Honolulu, Hawaii has the highest concentration of
workers, at 1,330; while the U.S. employs a total of 31,620 tour guides.
The common industries for tour guides are scenic sightseeing on land and
water, social advocacy groups, state governments and the federal
executive branch. Often, the amount made depends on the length of the
tour, ranging from about $25 to $35 per day. The earnings vary depending
on location, experience and the amount of danger in the job. (BLS)

Education, Preparation, and Skills

While the work is commonly seasonal, having a bachelor’s degree would
make it easier to make a living through ecotourism because your position is
more secure and it is easier to find jobs during the off-season. Knowledge
about business, sustainable development, ecology and education are
important aspects of the positions, although positions vary from tour guides
to researchers to advisers and managers. Often, travel and training will be
part of the position as well. Wilderness training and safety would be
important for tour guides to ensure potential dangers are avoided.


There is a great variety of industries which participate in ecotourism. There
are many non-governmental organizations, such as Conservation
International and The International Union for Conservation of Nature.
There are also private companies which run tours. One could also work for
the government, through local, state and national parks or forests and
wilderness areas. There are also non-profit organizations, such as the
Peace Corps, sending volunteers to aid community-based ecotourism.

Related Environmental Careers

Ecotourism is a broad network of positions, marine biologists are wanted
for diving tours, park rangers for parks and wilderness areas, and
conservationists and ecologists for eco-lodges for wildlife walks. There are
even spa retreat workers in ecotourism, yoga teachers, masseuses,
nutritionists, etc. Since ecotourism is seasonal, most employees can keep
another job in the off-season which may not be environmentally focused.

Further Information
“Sowing the Seeds of Change: An Environmental and Sustainable Tourism Teaching
Pack for the Hospitality Industry”, The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP),
“Eco-Efficiency: Creating More Value with Less Impact”, World Business Council for
Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 2000
The Business of Ecotourism, Carol Patterson, 2007
Critical Issues in Ecotourism: understanding a complex tourism phenomenon, Jan
Higham, 2007

The Online Environmental Community
Sustainable Travel International
The International Ecotourism Society
Conservation International   

Authored and Researched by Kelsey Danninger

To top