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The Independent Online
Anyone who has looked into "ecotourism" holidays will know there are quite a lot around, but they aren't necessarily all based on the same criteria. It seems that ecotourism can mean anything from living with an indigenous community in the Ecuadorian rainforest, to staying in a five-star hotel and going on safari.

To help you through this labyrinth of definitions and possibilities, you can turn to the Internet, where a bit of ecosurfing will help you to get to grips with what you think ecotourism should be.

The Ecotourism Society

The website for The Ecotourism Society - a US-based organisation focusing on ecotourism world-wide - includes guidelines on ecotourism and a list of travel providers.

Their virtual "Ecotourism Explorer Path" leads you to a collection of vital facts, but also some nuggets of personal wisdom that real-time explorers in the ecotourism field have acquired.

Tourism Concern

This is the website for the UK membership organisation, Tourism Concern, which campaigns for change in the tourism industry and provides information for travellers. A new community tourism directory on its site lists holidays run by, and with, local communities, mainly in developing countries. Tourism Concern points out it does not have the resources to check out organisations listed thoroughly, so inclusion in the directory does not constitute Tourism Concern's "eco seal of approval". But all organisations listed say that their tours are either run by, or greatly benefit the community.

Green Travel

This is both a website and a list server, which means you can visit its web-site or receive daily mailings from Green Travel subscribers over the e-mail. The mailings on Green-Travel come from both travellers and people working in tourism world-wide, and include discussion about ecotourism issues as well as postings from ecotourism operators.

Ethics in Tourism

This conference is exploring some of the key ethical issues of tourism development world-wide, and particularly in developing countries. It is geared mainly to tourism planners or critics, but many travellers will find the discussions interesting and informative. The conference (which you can subscribe to on e-mail, or view on the Internet like Green Travel) started in January and is running until July 1998.