Photo: Wetlands Park (Some rights reserved)

Urban ecotourism = Ecotourism in cities

Ecotourism can happen anywhere the actions benefit locals and conservation.

That said, there is debate whether ecotourism needs to occur in more ‘natural’ and ‘pristine’ settings and that a designation of ‘urban ecotourism’ denigrates the purity of what constitutes as genuine ecotourism. (See Urban ecotourism and What? Ecotourism?) Our response – we need more examples of good practices that manifest in conservation and experiential travel, no matter if they are in rural or urban environments.

While botanical gardens and city parks skirt Webster’s definition of natural areas: “a geographical area (as in a city) having a physical and cultural individuality developed through natural growth rather than design or planning,” they nonetheless play important roles in biodiversity conservation and environmental education.

I think we cannot be so precious with the term ‘ecotourism’ that it only apply to remote wilderness and fancy ecolodges. What I like about Chapultepec Park, Xochimilco, and Viveros in Mexico City the Wetlands Park in Las Vegas is how they connect to greater regional understanding. These green spaces need to be loved too and acknowledged for the benefits maintaining green spaces create for locals and visitors

City-based ecotourism is no more an oxymoron that flying long distance to an ‘eco’ reserve. Check out the 2004 declaration which makes the case for connecting urban and rural environments and playing off one another’s strengths.


Wild urban spaces: Rethinking ecotourism as a mass tourism product – Sudipta K Sarkar

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Also see: Shēngtài Lǚyóu = Ecology Tourism

Urban ecotourism

Good points, Ronda. I see where you’re coming from, particularly as regards ‘natural areas.’ We have different interpretations. I prefer calling city-based eco/conservation/benefits locals ‘urban ecotourism’ much the way zoos can register as wildlife tourism options. There’s no arguing that the experiences are different, but there’s also commonality. We have to be cautious with the term ‘geotourism’ as it’s been defined already by some as geology-focused travel. Western Australia held a conference on the subject. Among the examples I would give for urban ecotourism would be the Daisy Hill Koala Center – – which you took me during my 07 visit. You’re welcome to disagree, but this is where I’m coming from and how I describe urban ecotourism on Planeta.

Urban ecotourism


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