Ecotourism is currently seen as the most promising type of tourism, for its important environmental and educational value.
As estimated by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), ecotourism ranks among the five major strategic directions of tourism development for 2020. The share of ecotourism in the total volume of the global tourism industry has reached more than 10% in recent years, and its growth rate is two or three times higher than the rate of the entire tourism industry.
Ecotourism came to light in the late ‘60s of the last century. The reason of keen interest in it comes to steady deterioration of environmental quality, as well as the remarkably grown environmental consciousness of people. Given the upsurge in the rates of urbanization and pollution of natural landscapes in the foreseeable future, the interest in ecotourism will grow respectively.
Preservation of natural resources stands as a key pillar of ecotourism. Instead of consumer attitudes like deforestation, mining, and that sort of things, the profit is made without any sacrifices for the environment.
Ecotourism is mainly aimed at introduction to natural, cultural and ethnographic peculiarities of certain area without violating the integrity of ecosystems, but creating the economic conditions, under which the protection of nature and natural resources would be beneficial for the local population.
The official status and the name of ‘eco-tourism’ have been assigned to this kind of tourism relatively recently, in 1990. With the assignment of the status, ecotourism has acquired the right to convene the annual international symposium Annual World Congress on Adventure Travel & Ecotourism, and establishment of non-profit organizations like Ecotourist Society, the International Ecotourism Union, and others.