The Seventh Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development has indicted changing themes in the way in which individuals travel. It’s evident that ecotourism is not a niche market anymore with the U.S. adventure travel market totalling approximately 14.5 million travellers or 6.7% of the total market,This was indicated by Brian Mullis, President of Sustainable Travel International of the United States.He made the comment during a session entitled Ecotourism: Revisiting Its Role In Sustainable Tourism Development.
Giving some sound advice to the delegates in attendance, Mullis added,
“for destinations to attract this market and actualise the full potential of utilising eco-tourism as a tool for environmental conservation and community development, they’re going to have to evaluate what motivates conscientious consumers to purchase ecotourism products in the first place.”
Ecotourism stakeholders in attendance would have been encouraged to learn from Mullis that 58.5 million Americans say they would pay more to use a travel company that strives to protect and preserve the environment.
The majority (61%) of those who would pay more to use such companies would pay 5-10% more. In fact, he said, millions of American travellers say they will buy from companies that are culturally and socially oriented and 46 million travellers buy from specific companies because they know that these businesses donate part of their proceeds to charities.
Adding a Caribbean perspective to the conference, Mullis said eco tourists look for more than sun, sand and sea.
“Promoting the ways in which tourism positively impacts the people and the environments in the Caribbean reflects the region’s values and is an exceptional brand and reputation builder,” he said.
Brian Mullis is the President of Sustainable Travel International, USA , a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible tourism, supporting sustainable development and helping travellers and tourism providers protect the cultures and environments they visit.