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Business and biodiversity :: Ecotourism

The interdependence between tourism and the environment is recognized worldwide. A recent survey by the Industry and Environment Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/IE) shows that the resource most essential for the growth of tourism is the environment.

Tourism has a significant impact upon the physical and social environment, while, at the same time, tourism''s success depends on the continued well-being of the environment. Because the physical and social environment constitutes the resource base for tourism, tourism has a vested interest in conserving and strengthening this resource base. Hence, conserving and strengthening biodiversity can be said to hold the key to tourism''s success.

Tourism that sustains the physical and social environment has come to be known as ecotourism. The precise definition of this term remains ambiguous even within the tourism industry itself. However, ecotourism can be differentiated from traditional tourism in that ecotourism not only attempts to minimize the environmental impact of tourism, but also has as a goal that local communities and the physical environment will actually benefit from tourism. In its ideal form, ecotourism is a philosophy, an activity, a development policy and an environmental policy, all at the same time.

Bulgaria has all the conditions for the development of ecotourism – natural beauties, diversity of the plant and the animal world, rich history and culture. These, in addition to the diverse palette of traditions, cuisine, habits and nature monuments.

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Additional information on biodiversity resources and the role of the national institutions for their management and conservation could be found at BIODIVERSITY IN BULGARIA.

Tour Operators Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development

Most tour operators recognise that a clean and safe environment is critical to their success. Fewer have the management tools or experience to design and conduct tours that minimise their negative environmental, social and economic impacts while optimising their benefits. To develop and implement these tools in their own operations, and encourage other tour operators to do the same, a group of tour operators from different parts of the world have joined forces to create the Tour Operators Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development.

Pan Parks Concept

PAN Parks is a protected area network of parks, which has been established to introduce a marriage between nature conservation and tourism on a European scale. Therefore one of the main aims of the net is to work towards improving the nature protection by sustainable tourism development. PAN Parks aims to provide a reliable trademark which guarantees nature protection and is recognised by all Europeans.

In Bulgaria, in 2003 Central Balkan National Park was awarded PAN Parks certificate, which means that the park covers the required principles, criteria and indicators set by PAN Parks for the territories of the network. 

Rila National Park is currently a “candidate PAN Park". Rila NP is expected to receive the PAN Parks certificate in 2007.


Planeta.com is a clearinghouse for practical ecotourism around the globe. As a travel resource center, Planeta.com hosts a variety of online forums and conferences and has published more than 10,000 pages of features and scholarly reports.Planeta.com

Global Code of Ethics for Tourism

World Tourism Organization believes that the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism is needed to help minimize the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and on cultural heritage while maximizing the benefits for residents of tourism destinations.

Global Code of Ethics for Tourism

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