Green Travel Words

Travel Green if you want to keep on traveling!

Green Terms

Adventure Tourism: It is a nature tourism that involves a degree of risk taking.

Adventure Travel: Most dictionaries define adventure as “an unusual experience including some level of risk and uncertainty”. “Adventure Travel” includes this idea of risk and oftentimes some unconventional means of transport. Adventures can be of two types – “Soft” and  “Hard” adventures. Soft adventures have a lower level of risk, greater comfort in accommodations and are less physically rigorous. Hard adventures often have very basic facilities, higher risk factor and greater physical challenge (ie: mountain climbing, backpacking or river expeditions).

Best Management Practices: The Rainforest Alliance helps define and promote the use of best management practices that are a series of principles and concrete recommendations that can be implemented by different land-use sectors. These practices are based on the outcomes of impact assessments, scientific research, pilot testing projects, adaptation to local realities and multi-stakeholder discussions. These best management practices can be used as the basis for the development of policies, codes of conduct and public awareness materials, and for the implementation of technical assistance, training and certification (Rainforest Alliance).

Best Practice(s): Best Practice is used to designate highest quality, excellence, or superior practices by a tourism operator. The term is widely used in many award and certification programs, as well as academic studies, to designate the best in a particular class or a leader in the field. “Best,” however, is a contextual term. There is no set standard of measurement, and the term is often loosely or ill defined (Honey, 2002).

Carbon footprint: Carbon footprint of a person is the sum of all emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), which were induced by his/her activities in a given time frame. Usually a carbon footprint is calculated for the time period of a year. [IN A MORE TECHNICAL WAY, the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)]

Certification: Certification is a voluntary procedure that assesses, monitors, and gives written assurance that a business, product, process, service, or management system conforms to specific requirements. It awards a marketable logo or seal to those that meet or exceed baseline standards, i.e., those that at a minimum comply with national and regional regulations and, typically, fulfill other declared or negotiated standards prescribed by the program (Honey, 2002).

Commercialization Chain: Commercialization Chain is a map of the direct and indirect interactions between consumers and local service providers including all intermediaries, sources of information, and means of communication (Honey, 2002).

Conscientious tourism: Traveling with one’s conscience and connecting with others in a particular place (Care for the land, care for people, go forward). Conscientious tourism occurs when we are fully aware of our individual and collective actions as travelers. We allow ourselves to be inspired by others and in our gratitude we acknowledge the good work of those around us.

Cultural Tourism: Cultural Tourism is travel for the purpose of learning about cultures or aspects of cultures (Honey, 2002). Interacting with and observing unique cultures is the focus of this style of trip. The concept of learning from other cultures to broaden ones perspective is usually a core value. An artisan showing you how to weave a tapestry and learning from them about their traditional dress would be a form of cultural tourism. Buying crafts in the market with no more interaction than the exchange of money does not provide the insight into another culture that is the central theme of cultural tourism.

Canopy Walkway: A constructed bridge walkway through the tree tops of a forest.

Conservation Enterprises: Income generating activities that focus on conserving natural resources and ecosystems.

Ecosystem: A dynamic complex of plant, animal, fungal and microorganism communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.

Eco-tourism: Responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and sustains the livelihood of local people (TIES website, March 6, 2003). A walk through the rainforest is not eco-tourism unless that particular walk somehow benefits that environment and the people who live there. A rafting trip is only eco-tourism if it raises awareness and funds to help protect the watershed. A loose interpretation of this definition allows many companies to promote themselves as something that they are not.

Eco-tourism Activities: Activities included in a tour that are designed to entertain clients and are coordinated by a professional guide or interpreter. Over 80 activities have been listed for eco-tourism, such as birdwatching, hiking, diving, kayaking, participating in cultural events, photography, and mountaineering.

Ecotourism Product: A combination of resources, activities, and services, which are sold and managed through professional tour operators.

Ecotourism Resources: Natural and cultural features that attract visitors, such as landscapes, endemic or rare flora and fauna, cultural festivals, and historical monuments.

Ecotourism Services: Tourism services such as transportation, food, lodging, guiding and interpretation services which cause minimal damage to the biological and cultural environments and promote a better understanding of the natural and cultural history of an area.

Endemism: The level of species that occur naturally only in a specific region or site.

Eco-labeling: Eco-labeling describes a scheme in which a product, company, service, or destination may be awarded an ecological label on the basis of its “acceptable” level of environmental impact. The acceptable level of environmental impact may be determined by consideration of a single environmental hurdle or after undertaking an assessment of its overall impacts. Eco-labeling sometimes refers to the natural environment only; sometimes it takes into account social and cultural environments as well. An eco-quality label marks the state of the environmental quality, such as water quality for beaches or quality of wildlife in national parks (Honey, 2002).

Eco-tourism “lite”: Eco-tourism “lite” involves a business adapting sensible but small, cosmetic, and often cost-saving practices that are typically marketed as major innovations (Honey, 2002).

Environmental volunteering: This refers to volunteers who contribute towards environmental management (e.g. wildlife). Volunteers conduct a range of activities including environmental monitoring, ecological restoration such as re-vegetation and weed removal, and educating others about the natural environment.

Geotourism: Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place–its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Greenwashing: Greenwashing is a term used to describe businesses, services, or products that promote themselves as environmentally friendly when they are not (Honey, 2002).

Green Tourism: Often used inter-changeably with eco-tourism and sustainable tourism but more accurately described as “any activity or facility operating in an environmentally friendly fashion”.  A lodge with composting toilets, gray water system, and solar powered lighting is probably “green”. There are varying degrees of “greenness”; an awareness of where resources are coming from and where wastes are going is at the heart of the idea.

Leakages: Leakages are funds that do not reach the destination country. This occurs primarily when the tourism operators through which packages are purchased do not involved local businesses. In these cases, very few of the funds generated by the tour operators stays within the community being visited remaining instead in the home country of the tout operator.

Nature-Based Tourism: A more generic term for any activity or travel experience with a focus on nature.  Large jungle lodges fall into this category as do cruise ships to view penguins in Antarctica. These types of trips may or may not be environmentally sustainable or responsible.

Multi-Sport Adventures: These trips have a focus on physical outdoor activities. Rafting, mountain biking, climbing, surfing, diving, etc. all offered in the same package. Not necessarily sustainable or eco but might be since many companies want to protect the areas where these activities take place.

Responsible tourism: Responsible tourism can apply to any type of holiday, from a luxury beach villa to a volunteering project. Responsible tourism simply means holidays that care about local communities & culture as well as wildlife conservation & the environment. This form of tourism operates in such a way as to minimize negative impacts on the environment. A wilderness camping trip using “Leave No Trace” ethics would be considered responsible tourism while dune buggy tours would not.

Stakeholders: Individuals who have a vested interest in development, including community members; environmental, social, and community NGOs; natural resource, planning, and government officials; hotel owners, tour operators, guides, transportation providers, and representatives from other related services in the private sector.

Sustainable Development: Development that meets the needs and aspirations of the current generation without compromising the ability to meet those of future generations.

Sustainable Tourism: Sustainable Tourism is, according to the World Tourism Organization, “envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems” (Honey, 2002). Any form of tourism that does not reduce the availability of resources and does not inhibit future travelers from enjoying the same experience is not sustainable.  If the presence of large numbers of tourists disturbs an animal’s mating patterns so that there are fewer of that species in the future then that visit was not sustainable. Kayaking school on a free flowing river is an example of sustainable tourism. Big game hunting in Alaska is not.

The Rainforest Alliance: It works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. (
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES): This is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ecotourism.


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