THE BRITISH ECOTOUR MARKET

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					                                                                                             THE BRITISH ECOTOURISM MARKET




                                                                                                Foreword



Background

                In view of the sustained growth of tourism activity worldwide, it would be reason-
                able to assume that the ecotourism sector will develop along parallel lines. Howev-
                er, no extensive international market research has hitherto been conducted with a
                view to corroborating this hypothesis.

                On the occasion of the designation by the United Nations of 2002 as the Interna-
                tional Year of Ecotourism (IYE), the World Tourism Organization (WTO) has decided
                to undertake research with a view to increasing knowledge of the following seven
                countries in their capacity as ecotourism generating markets: Germany, USA, United
                Kingdom, Canada, Spain, France and Italy1.

                Market studies of this type must be based on a coordinated approach among the
                experts concerned, similar research methods and, more importantly, a common con-
                cept of the term «ecotourism» if they are to deliver well-founded conclusions and
                global recommendations. However, concepts of ecotourism clearly vary, not only
                from one country to another, but also within the same territory. Likewise, the spe-
                cific attributes of each of the markets studied, the availability of tour operators to
                respond to surveys depending on whether they were run in peak or low seasons and
                the inclusion of ecotourism products in more general products do not permit a strict
                comparability of the different studies presented in this series of monographs.

                Readers are therefore asked to consider the results of these studies as general trends
                relative to the ecotourism market, rather than absolute reference data. This is the
                first time that such researches have been initiated. These are pioneer studies, whose
                methodology and results can serve as basis for future researches in this topic.




1
    Another WTO publication, prepared with the technical contributions of its Member States, is also devoted to the IYE. This publication
    consists of a compilation of good ecotourism practices and includes approximately fifty case studies.



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Aims, definitions and methodology

           After briefly summarizing the general characteristics of tourism markets, these sur-
           veys set out to analyse and evaluate, in each of the aforementioned countries, the
           nature tourism and ecotourism generating market, its volume, characteristics, major
           trends and development prospects, consumer profiles, the role of the different mar-
           keting actors, product typologies and the main communication and marketing tools
           used in these markets.

           It was with a view to meeting these aims that WTO hired seven experts – one per
           country – all of whom adopted similar research methods:

           • gathering the results of existing research studies with the aim of making an ini-
             tial appraisal of the volume of this market;

           • running consumer surveys based on a single questionnaire for all countries with
             a view to studying demand trends;

           • running surveys among tour operators whose policies and products are commen-
             surate, to some extent at least, with ecotourism concepts;

           • studying the catalogues and brochures put out by these tour operators;

           • organizing tour operator discussion forums (or focus groups) on the occasion of
             tourism trade fairs with a view to comparing marketing methods and results, but
             also with the aim of discussing the very notion of ecotourism.

           It should also be noted that the same definition of ecotourism was used by all the
           different experts. WTO has defined this activity at two levels:



           1. Nature tourism: a form of tourism in which the main motivation is the observa-
              tion and appreciation of nature.

           2. Ecotourism: a form of tourism with the following characteristics:

             i. All nature-based forms of tourism in which the main motivation of the tourists
                is the observation and appreciation of nature as well as the traditional cultures
                prevailing in natural areas.

             ii. It contains educational and interpretation features.

             iii. It is generally, but not exclusively, organised for small groups by specialized
                  and small locally-owned businesses. Foreign operators of varying sizes also
                  organize, operate and/or market ecotourism tours, generally for small groups.

             iv. It minimizes negative impacts on the natural and socio-cultural environment.


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            v. It supports the protection of natural areas by:

                 – generating economic benefits for host communities, organizations and
                   authorities that are responsible for conserving natural areas;

                 – creating jobs and income opportunities for local communities; and

                 – increasing awareness both among locals and tourists of the need to con-
                   serve natural and cultural assets.



The most outstanding results of the seven studies
can be summed up as follows

       1. The use of the term «ecotourism» in the marketing and promotional tools and
          used by tour operators is still relatively limited. It would appear that this term has
          not yet been integrated in the marketing strategies of the nature tourism sector.

       2. Likewise, the tourism sector that most closely matches the concept of ecotourism
          represents a relatively small share of the market, an observation that is borne out
          by the small dimension of the tour operators that comprise this segment and the
          small number of tourists they cater for.

       3. Conversely, these same tour operators apparently believe that the growth of eco-
          tourism may outpace that of other tourism activities overall. Moreover, this
          growth appears to be consolidating irrespective of the destination considered. A
          priori, no world region appears to have a head-start although each region does
          have several landmark destinations.

       4. The surveys conducted among the various audiences show that enthusiasm for
          nature tourism invariably goes hand-in-hand with a desire for meeting local com-
          munities and discovering different facets of their culture (gastronomy, handi-
          crafts, customs, etc.).

       5. According to tour operators, ecotourism enthusiasts are mostly people from rela-
          tively high social brackets and with relatively high levels of education; they are
          over 35 and women slightly outnumber men.

       6. These studies also show that environmental awareness, while still in its infancy, is
          clearly growing.



       As mentioned above, these initial findings must be confirmed on the basis of future
       studies. These preparatory surveys should nonetheless provide a springboard for a
       more in-depth examination of ecotourism markets, which will be one of the key ele-
       ments of the World Ecotourism Summit to be held in Quebec, Canada, from 22 to 24
       May 2002.


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                                                Acknowledgements



 The World Tourism Organization would like to thank Mr. Harold Goodwin and Mrs.
 Claudia Townsend of the Centre for Responsible Tourism of the University of Green-
 wich, United Kingdom, for the preparation of this report on behalf on WTO.

 The authors would like to express their gratitude to Mr. Richard Hearne and other
 members of the AITO Responsible Tourism committee for giving them the opportu-
 nity to talk to AITO members about their opinions and experiences of ecotourism.
 Mr. Keith Richards and Mr. David Parrish were very helpful in allowing the time and
 opportunity to speak to the ABTA Council of Regions members for the purposes of
 this research. Mrs. Debbie Carson did a sterling job in pursuing tour operators and
 in pushing up the response rate.

 The World Tourism Organization and the authors are particularly grateful to all
 those tour operators who generously gave their time to complete the survey ques-
 tionnaire and to attend the two focus group meetings.

 Research for this report was undertaken by a team of English experts commissioned
 by the World Tourism Organization, under the supervision of Mr. Eugenio Yunis,
 Chief, Sustainable Development of Tourism, WTO and Mr. Augusto Huescar, Chief,
 Market Intelligence and Promotion Section, WTO.
 Mr. Philippe Lemaistre, Programme Officer at WTO, reviewed draft texts, tables and
 final editing of the report.




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                                                                            Table of Contents



 Executive Summary                                        .......................................................................                                                  13

 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   17

       1.1.          Definition of Ecotourism                                    .........................................................                                         17

       1.2.          Research Methodology                                     ...........................................................                                          22

 2. The global tourism market in the UK                                                                        .......................................                             23

       2.1.          Scale of UK Market                             .................................................................                                              23

       2.2.          Overseas Destinations and the UK Market                                                             .................................                         23

       2.3.          Package Holiday Booking preferences                                                       .......................................                             24

       2.4.          An emerging ethical agenda                                          ....................................................                                      25

       2.5.          Package holidaymaker motivation                                                   ............................................                                35

       2.6.          Important requirements for package holidaymakers
                     who expressed an ecotourism preference in their holiday choice                                                                                          ..    37

 3. The Ecotourism Market in the United Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                                      39

       3.1.          Use of the word ecotourism                                         .....................................................                                      39

       3.2.          Ecotourism Market Trends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                      44

       3.3.          Ecotourism is a small niche . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                     47

       3.4.          Ecotourism Market Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                               48

       3.5.          Pricing Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .             49




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           4. Typology of tourists practising ecotourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                 51

                4.1.        Who are the ecotourists? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                 51

                4.2.        Characteristics of Ecotourism holidays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                     53

                4.3.        Ecotourist Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    58

                4.4.        Differences between nature tourists and ecotourists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                60

                4.5.        Education and Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                       61

           5. Marketing and Promotional Channels for Ecotourism
              in the United Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                      63

                5.1.        Tour Operators                      .......................................................................                                                63

                5.2.        Role of National Tourist Offices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                         64

                5.3.        Main Promotional Events for Ecotourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                             65

                5.4.        Tour Operator Marketing Channels                                                  ...........................................                              66

                5.5.        Intelligence and Promotional Channels for Ecotourism Suppliers . . .                                                                                       67

           6. Annexes                    .....................................................................................                                                         69

                6.1.        AITO Responsible Tourism Policy                                            ...............................................                                 69

                6.2.        Tearfund Advice to Tour Operators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                  70

                6.3.        Examples of Tour Operators’ Contributions to Conservation
                            and Local Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .              71

                6.4.        Survey Questionnaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         74

                6.5.        Research Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               82
                            6.5.1 Brochure Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .            82
                            6.5.2 Postal Based Tour Operators Questionnaire of UK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                        84
                            6.5.3 Other data collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                  85

                6.6.        Report of Meeting with Members of the Association
                            of Independent Tour Operators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                            86

                6.7.        Meeting with Members of the Association of British Travel Agents                                                                                           91

                6.8.        Company names. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   93


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List of Tables

Table   1    Tour Operators to Zimbabwe assessment of their client base (1995 data) . . . .                                                                                                        18
Table   2    Do you agree with the WTO definition of ecotourism? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                           19
Table   3    Relative importance of different elements of the definition of ecotourism .                                                                                                           21
Table   4    Do you use the term ecotourism in marketing literature? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                             21
Table   5    Destinations of UK package holidaymakers in year to September 2000. . . . . . .                                                                                                       23
Table   6    Aspirations for overseas holidays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                               24
Table   7    How did you book your last package holiday? (%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                   25
Table   8    Thinking about your last main package holiday,
             how long before you went on holiday did you book it? (%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                                    25
Table 9      For the last overseas holiday that you booked (whether via a tour
             company or independently), how important were the following
             criteria in determining your choice? (%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                            26
Table 10     Which of the following activities would you be willing to pay more
             money for if they were guaranteed as part of your holiday?
             You may tick, as few or as many as you like. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                    27
Table 11     How much more money would package holidaymakers
             be prepared to pay? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           27
Table 12     If you were on an overseas holiday, what type of information
             would you want to have concerning your holiday?
             Respondents were permitted to tick as many or as few as they liked . . . . . . . . .                                                                                                  28
Table 13     To what extent would each of the following factors influence your
             choice about going to or recommending a particular destination? (%) . . . . . .                                                                                                       28
Table 14     Importance of range of factors in choice of Holiday Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                                      29
Table 15     How important is it to you that your holiday should.... (%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                             29
Table 16     Declared willingness to pay more money to guarantee environmental
             and socio-economic benefits (%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                   30
Table 17     How much extra would you be willing to pay for the guarantees
             you chose in the previous question? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                       30
Table 18     On your last package holiday overseas which if any of these things
             did you do? (%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   31
Table 19     Two main motivations for package holiday choice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                 35
Table 20     Two main motivations for package holiday choice by age grouping . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                                                 36
Table 21     Thinking about holidays of this kind, which three of the things
             on this card are your most important requirements at your destination? . . . .                                                                                                        37
Table 22     Use of “Ecotourism” language in brochures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                     39
Table 23     Do you use any other terms in your promotional materials?
             (source WTO postal survey) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                      41
Table 24     Word or phrases used by operators in their marketing as reported in
             the postal survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    42
Table 25     Photo-space depicting the destination culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                       43
Table 26     Nature-based holidays to be found on the AITO website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                             44
Table 27     What proportion of your current business is nature-based
             tourism/ecotourism? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           45
Table 28     Over the past five years, has the number of people your company
             has carried increased, stayed the same or declines?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                45


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Table 29     Do you expect the nature/ecotourism market to grow in the UK generally?                                                                                                                   45
Table 30     Do you expect the nature/ecotourism market to grow
             for your business over the coming years? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                    46
Table 31     Can you estimate the proportion by which the UK market
             is likely to grow? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      46
Table 32     How many passengers did your company carry in 2000 on nature
             based tours as package and independent travellers? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                        47
Table 33     What proportion of your company’s nature-based clients are
             “ecotourists” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   47
Table 34     Clients’ preferred destinations for Ecotourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                          48
Table 35     Is true ecotourism more expensive? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                          49
Table 36     Comparative price of examples of nature-based itineraries
             in the UK market. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         50
Table 37     Proportion of ecotourism trips which are part of a specific
             ecotourism/nature trip or a broader package . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                           53
Table 38     Tour Operator estimates of the average length of ecotourism
             trips in their programmes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                       53
Table 39     Maximum Group Sizes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                     54
Table 40     Group size limits mentioned in brochures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                    55
Table 41     Brochure references to efforts to minimise social and
             environmental impacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   55
Table 42     Specific measures to minimise impacts mentioned in brochures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                                            56
Table 43     Brochure evidence of support for the maintenance of natural areas . . . . . . . . . .                                                                                                     56
Table 44     Brochure evidence of initiatives to raise awareness of natural
             and cultural conservation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                       57
Table 45     In the destinations featured, does the company contribute
             to conservation efforts/ local communities? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                       57
Table 46     Information provided by tour operators to their travellers (%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                                        58
Table 47     Tour Operator perceptions of the relative importance of different
             elements of ecotourism trips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                            59
Table 48     % of photos devoted to local traditional culture in ecotourism
             orientated brochures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                60
Table 49     Tour operator perceptions of the differences between ecotourists
             and nature tourists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .            60
Table 50     Brochures containing references to education
             and/or interpretation (n=200) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                               61
Table   51   Number of permanent employees in company n=33 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                             63
Table   52   Number of branches n=33 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                           63
Table   53   Annual Turnover n=31 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    64
Table   54   Number of passengers carried in the year 2000 n=26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                          64
Table   55   Are NTOs useful in assisting with the promotion of ecotourism? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                                              64
Table   56   Can you give examples of good practice by NTOs? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                     65
Table   57   Tour Operator ratings of various marketing channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                                                         66




12                                                                                                                            Wo r l d To u r i s m O r g a n i z a t i o n
                                                       THE BRITISH ECOTOURISM MARKET




                                                Executive Summary



 This report examines the scale and character of the market for ecotourism and eco-
 tourism oriented products in the United Kingdom. It is one of a series of studies
 being conducted under the auspices of the World Tourism Organisation for the
 International Year of Ecotourism in 2002.

 The overseas travel market from the UK is significant; overseas holidays taken by UK
 residents numbered 27.25 million in 1997. Of these 27.25 million overseas holidays,
 at least 14 million were package tours, accounting for 51% of overseas holidays of
 four nights or more. Total UK spending on overseas tourism was £17 billion in 1997,
 of which an estimated £2 billion (12%) was spent on holidays to developing coun-
 tries. In 2000, 83% of UK package holidaymakers travelled to Europe, 17% ventured
 further. 26% of package holidaymakers aspired to go to Australia and New Zealand,
 20% to tropical islands, 16% to North America. Whilst 10% did mention Asia, Cen-
 tral & South America were mentioned by only 4% and Africa by only 2%.

 There is general acceptance (95%) of the definition of ecotourism adopted for the
 International Year of Ecotourism. UK operators consider that the most important ele-
 ments of the definition are minimising negative impacts on the natural and socio-cul-
 tural environment; generating economic benefits for local communities and conserva-
 tion through employment and other income opportunities; and increasing awareness
 of the conservation of natural and cultural assets, amongst both tourists and locals.

 Only 12% of those responding to the postal survey of tour operators reported that
 they use the concept in their marketing literature. Only 3.5% of the brochures of the
 200 companies offering nature-based tourism in the UK mention ecotourism; 7.5%
 use responsible tourism. 11% mention sustainable tourism and 12% mention envi-
 ronmental tourism.

 Seventy-five tour operators (37.5%) of the 200 operators offering nature-based
 tourism experiences do use some elements of ecotourism in their marketing materi-
 als which implies that they see a marketing advantage in pointing out their policies
 and actions to potential clients.

 Significantly in the postal survey 19 operators (46%) said that they used the concept
 of responsible tourism and 34% said that they used sustainable tourism. This may
 reflect a shift in thinking towards responsible and sustainable tourism – the
 brochures all went to print many months before the postal survey was conducted.


Wo r l d To u r i s m O r g a n i z a t i o n                                      13
THE BRITISH ECOTOURISM MARKET




           In the UK Market place, campaigns by NGOs and the impacts of general consumer
           trends towards ethical consumption have combined with increasing awareness of
           corporate social responsibility. This has led to increased awareness of, and interest
           in, responsible and sustainable travel in the industry and amongst consumers. There
           is increasing concern about the terms and conditions of employment of tourism
           workers in the destinations, the preservation of the local environment, and the con-
           sumption of locally-produced goods and services. Recent surveys by the Association
           of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and by Tearfund report that UK holidaymakers are
           prepared to pay a premium of perhaps 5% for guarantees in these areas.

           Tearfund, a development charity working with partners around the world in health-
           care, urban renewal, conflict and justice, environment and agriculture, education
           and training and tourism carried out studies of ethical tourism in 2000/2001. The
           research found that UK holidaymakers valued good information on the destination,
           a significant opportunity to meet local people, measures to minimise environmental
           impacts and the company’s ethical policies. Respondents to the Tearfund survey
           rated these dimensions of their holiday as more important than whether or not they
           had travelled with the company before. This realisation has been instrumental in the
           decision of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO: 150+ members) to
           adopt a responsible tourism policy, and in the launch of responsibletravel.com, a
           market place for responsible tourism.

           The survey of package holidaymakers conducted for this report found that 26% of
           the sample had been motivated to choose their holiday by their wish to see differ-
           ent landscapes and scenery, wanting to find out about other cultures, seeing wildlife
           and enjoying nature in a wild state, or wanting to experience adventure in a natur-
           al environment. This 26% of the package holidaymakers is the ecotourism orien-
           tated part of the UK market, although the orientation of many of these respondents
           may be regarded as emergent or weak.

           The overwhelming majority of respondents to the postal survey expect the nature
           tourism and ecotourism markets to grow, and they report that over the last five
           years their numbers of these kinds of tourists have increased.

           However, nature-based tourism is a small niche, with 54% of respondents sending
           less than 500 clients on such trips in the last year (19% reported sending over 1,000).
           When asked what percentage of their nature-based clients were ecotourists, 73% of
           operators estimated that 50%+ of their package travellers were ecotourists. Their
           estimates for the proportion of independent tourists travelling with their company
           who were ecotourists was lower (53%).

           Ecotourists tend to be over 35, slightly more women than men, with the higher
           social classes being strongly represented.

           The majority of ecotourism experiences are taken as part of focussed nature tourism
           holidays. Average length of stay is reported by operators as 3-14 days in Europe and
           8-21 days beyond Europe. Seasonality is relatively flat.


14                                                         Wo r l d To u r i s m O r g a n i z a t i o n
                                                        THE BRITISH ECOTOURISM MARKET




 30% of the 200 nature tourism brochures indicated that the company concerned lim-
 ited group sizes. Of the 75 ecotourism oriented operators 47% have a policy of limit-
 ing group size. The next most significant management measure taken to limit impact
 is guidelines for staff and travellers. 31% of the 200 nature tourism operators said in
 their brochures that they were supporting the maintenance of natural areas, 30%
 that they generate economic benefits, and 29% that they use local products.

 34% of the nature tourism operators say in their brochures that they are increasing
 awareness of natural and cultural conservation amongst their travellers. 13% were
 making efforts to do this amongst local communities as well. In the postal survey of
 ecotourism oriented companies two thirds of respondents reported supporting local
 conservation efforts and local communities.

 Operators ranked being in wilderness areas and viewing wildlife as the most impor-
 tant elements of an ecotourism trip, with meeting indigenous people and seeing
 their culture coming third. The major difference between the expectations of nature
 tourists and ecotourists according to the operators surveyed was in the transport
 used.

 48% of the 200 brochures surveyed featured the education and/or interpretation
 aspects of the trips.

 Ecotourism oriented operators tend to be small, with 75% of companies employing
 10 or less staff. 52% of respondents reported carrying less than 500 passengers.

 47% of operators reported finding National Tourist Offices useful in representing
 destinations in the UK market.

 Word of mouth is the most important marketing channel for UK ecotourism orient-
 ed operators, followed by advertising in specialist magazines and the company
 brochure. Travel agents, fairs/promotional events and affinity groups are regarded
 as the least successful.

 The report concludes with some suggestions about intelligence and promotional
 channels for those seeking to sell ecotourism products and services in the UK market
 (§5.5).




Wo r l d To u r i s m O r g a n i z a t i o n                                        15

				
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