What if we could better promote ethical ecotourism and drive positive outcomes for people and wildlife globally as we enter a new stage of travel?

Terra Incognita’s new global Ethical Ecotourism Code of Conduct for ecotourism operators has been generated by a global community that includes ecotourism providers, industry experts, media representatives, local and Indigenous people and tourists.

Ethical Ecotourism Code of Conduct 

Our principles recognise that people are part of and reliant on nature. Ethical ecotourism seeks to localise the benefits of wildlife, creating win-win solutions for wildlife, local communities and the landscapes they share.

1. We help wildlife 

  • We follow or create best practice guidance to minimise negative impacts on wildlife.
  • We help to solve key conservation challenges.

Examples include:

  • Direct financial benefits for conservation, such as donations.
  • Collaborations with local, regional and/or international conservation organisations.
  • Conservation education.
  • Collecting and sharing citizen science data.

2. We work with local people

  • We ensure our actions don’t change the lifestyles of Indigenous and local communities, unless they wish it to do so.  
  • We follow and create best practice guidance to minimise negative impacts on local people. 
  • We help solve key economic, social and/or cultural challenges.

Examples include:

  • Direct financial benefits, such as donations or employment.
  • Collaborations with civil society organisations.
  • Participation in local community events.
  • Collecting and sharing citizen science data.
  • Providing skills training, such as guiding.

3. We strive for overall positive impacts

  • We amplify our positive environmental, socioeconomic and cultural impacts.
  • Conversely, we avoid or minimise our negative impacts.
  • We focus on key challenges such as global warming, plastic pollution and unsustainable food.

Example include:

  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Zero plastic waste policies
  • Climate positive initiatives

4. We share our knowledge

  • We use interpretation and education to amplify positive impacts for people and planet. 
  • We empower others to multiply our efforts. 

Examples include:

  • Sharing our experiences across sectors.
  • Educating local people about potential benefits from conservation.
  • Educating travelers to act responsibly.
  • Providing resources for our guests and partners.

5. We work together

  • We contribute to a global community that strives to deliver tourism for good. 
  • We collaborate across diverse sectors.
  • We collate and share our collective benefits each year.

6. We respect boundaries

  • We follow existing rules and regulations.
  • We never damage the world irreplaceably through our activities. 

Examples include avoiding or restricting tourism in the presence of:

  • Fragile environments
  • Threatened species
  • Indigenous peoples

7. We keep improving 

  • We recognise that ethical ecotourism is a journey. We do our best within our means, always learning and increasing our overall positive impact. 
  • We are students as well as teachers, learning from nature and each other. 
  • We measure and report our impacts each year.

Get Involved!

If you’d like to receive updates about the Ethical Code of Conduct and Terra Incognita, please sign up for our email newsletter.

If you suspect a violation of the Code, please inform us using this feedback form.

Thanks for supporting ethical ecotourism!