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About Ethical Ecotourism

Experience Florida’s natural beauty while learning about its sustainability, contributing to its future, and supporting the local economy. 

Get Involved

We are launching a discussion group to begin laying the foundation for a community-based ethical ecotourism steering committee. The steering committee's mission will be to create and define sustainable ecotourism in a way that reflects and serves the unique qualities and needs of St. Johns County. With input and feedback gathered from the steering committee, we will develop a certification for local companies so they will be empowered to support our local environment while strengthening the local economy.

Earth Kinship is committed to ethical ecotourism, promoting sustainability, and offering education and training to support the preservation of the ecosystems and wildlife that makeup Florida and beyond. As a locally owned and operated company, Earth Kinship aims to actively educate locals and visitors alike about the principles of ethical ecotourism.

Definition

ecotourism (noun): Ecotourism can be defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” 

History

Ecotourism has a history that continues to grow as more people look to travel with an eye on environmental conservation, and as more countries sustainably incorporate these travelers into their local economies and environments. Although ecotourism has a relatively short history, much has occurred since the term first made its appearance in the dictionary less than 40 years ago.

 

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Ecotourism was first conceptualized in the early 1980s as a type of travel for people who wanted to learn about different and exotic environments without causing the environmental harm or damage associated with other forms of tourism.

Ecotourism gained momentum in the 1990s alongside environmental conservation efforts through the recognition that the planet is a measurably exhaustible resource, a relatively new idea in mainstream culture. Today, ecotourism continues to grow as more people travel with environmental consciousness. In 2002, the United Nations declared it the year of ecotourism, and in 2003 the Center for Responsible Travel was formed. Since that time, ecotourism has become a $263 billion industry, with a 65% growth rate from 2009 to 2013.

Florida Fast Facts

Florida is a premiere destination for international and domestic tourism. As more visitors make their way to Florida, increasing tension arises between conservation and development, recreation and preservation. To protect, educate, and revitalize Florida’s pristine spaces, ethical ecotourism can serve as a key tool in mitigating growth and environmental damage. Below are some key figures about Florida’s growing tourism industry:

91.48m

tourists visited Florida in 2021. 

  • Last year, visitors spent almost $712 million in St. Johns County. 

  • 12,000 jobs in the tourism industry were created for St. Johns County residents.

  • Another 27,000 jobs in the Northeast Florida Region were supported by visitor expenditures.

  • In 2019, statewide visitor spending directly and indirectly supported over 1.6 million jobs in Florida.

29m

people visited Florida’s state parks in 2019.

  •  There are 175 state parks and 35 state forests in Florida. There are also 11 national parks, preserves, seashores or monuments, 3 national forests, and 1 national scenic trail.

  • $2.6 billion in direct economic impact on local economies was generated throughout the state in 2019.

  • In 2019, more than 37,000 jobs existed in local economies as a result of state park operations.

133

endangered or threatened species are found in Florida.

  •  There are 57 species listed on Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan which seeks to restore the populations of threatened species by 2030. 

Image by Dushyant Chaturvedi
 
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