"The phenomenon remains difficult to quantify, however, since there is for the moment no body that manages to classify rigorously what falls under ecotourism, to define the sector, its exact perimeter, and to measure it", explains Jean-Marie Boucher, CEO of consoGlobe, the Internet portal for sustainable development. Difficult to distinguish therefore, especially as a number of related concepts such as responsible tourism, ethics, fair trade etc. confuse the issue a little more.
Between social trend and fashion phenomenon
But, deep down, is this green tourism really worth taking an interest in? Isn't it just a simple fancy ?
Not so sure ... "This is more of a fundamental trend that is running through society," said Françoise Riera-Dabo, founder of FRD Conseil, consultant in trends and brand strategy.
There is a growing awareness in society that the planet cannot be allowed to deteriorate. That if we continue like this, we are going straight into the wall.
This is a gradual, diffuse awareness, but it will become more and more important to take it into account. "Tourism surveys for 2020-2030 indicate hypotheses where certain parts of the territory are invaded by water and therefore ... no longer usable for tourism," she adds.
For sociologist Jean Viard, research director at CEVIPOF (Center for Political Research at Sciences Po) and author of numerous books on tourism, ecotourism is "between the fashion phenomenon and the phenomenon of anxiety". “The sector is being seized by this logic of sustainable development, but it is obvious that there is a contradiction between the ecological objective and tourism itself.
Traveling thousands of kilometers by plane to spend a week in China for pleasure is, in itself, totally unecological.
Basically, the best way to do ecotourism is to stay at home! "" I mainly believe in sorting waste, saving energy (...), but I do think that this will become the norm. This will even become, in the long term, an exclusive concern and the hotels which will not have adapted will remain on the side of the road. "
"In my opinion, this is a fundamental trend that is turning into a fashion phenomenon", considers Jean-Marie Boucher. “As with all fashions, I think that we will see things flourish, witness an inflation of the offer, with the danger which is to put green labels everywhere, but that once fashion is a little fallout, something solid and lasting will remain. The offer will have been permanently reoriented towards greener products, which will have taken an increasing place in the overall tourism offer. "