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 is currently developing a global Ethical Ecotourism Code of Conduct for ecotourism operators based on input from ecotourism operators, experts, tourists and media representatives.

We are currently seeking feedback on the following 11 Draft Key Principles which will form the basis of the Code of Conduct.

Please complete the quick and simple survey below to share your input.

Draft Principles

1. We put wildlife first.

If an activity may change the natural behaviour of wildlife beyond a minor, transitory impact, we don’t do it.
We follow global, national and/or local best practice guidance for wildlife interactions to minimise negative impacts on wildlife and ask our guests and partners to do the same. Where recognised guidance is not available, we develop our own best practice guidance.

2. We conserve and enhance wildlife.

We help solve one or more specific, relevant ecological challenges at a local, national and/or global level through our operations. Examples might include but are not limited to >

  • Direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Donations to wildlife conservation initiatives.
  • Collaborations with local, regional and/or international conservation organisations.
  • Conservation education.
  • Collecting and sharing citizen science data.

3. We respect local people.

We respect and work alongside local and Indigenous communities to ensure tourism does not change their lifestyles unless they want it to do so.  We follow global, national and/or best practice guidance to minimise negative impacts on local people and ask our guests and partners to do the same. Where recognised guidance is not available, we develop our own best practice guidance.

4. We benefit local people.

We work in partnership with local communities to help solve one or more specific economic, social and/or cultural challenges through our operations. Examples might include but are not limited to >

  • Collaborations with civil society and/or community-based organisations.
  • Donations to community causes.
  • Participation in local community events.
  • Collecting and sharing citizen science data.

5. We strive for a positive impact.

We strive for Net Positive Impact on people and planet in every business decision we make. This means we focus on sustainability by limiting any negative environmental, socioeconomic and cultural impacts and amplifying positive impacts as far as possible. Environmental impacts include consumption (e.g. energy, local procurement) and waste (e.g. carbon emissions and plastic). We achieve this by following five steps: avoiding, minimising, restoring and offsetting negative impacts, and finally creating additional benefits (via principles 2 and 4).

6. We share our knowledge.

We use education and interpretation to amplify positive impacts for people and planet. We build greater environmental, social, political and cultural awareness, understanding and respect for everyone involved and empower ambassadors to multiply our efforts. Examples might include but are not limited to:

  • Learning and sharing our experiences locally, nationally and/or internationally
  • Training guides
  • Educating travelers to act responsibly
  • Providing resources for our guests, partners, etc.

7. We respect boundaries.

If we can’t do something in line with this code, we don’t do it. If we shouldn’t enter a site because of protection or local laws and rules, we don’t.

8. We avoid irreplaceable losses.

We commit to never damage the world irreplaceably through our activities. We recognise that in some special places and special cases, no tourism or highly restricted tourism is the only form of ethical and sustainable tourism.

9. We contribute to a global community who travel for good

We commit to work within a network of ethical ecotourism operators who strive to improve the tourism sector.

10. We’re eyes on the ground.

We act as local guardians with  eyes on the ground, supporting efforts to enforce the protection of people and planet wherever we go.

11. We strive to continuously improve. 

We recognise that ethical ecotourism is a journey; there is always more that we can learn and do. We do our best within our means, always looking for ways to increase our overall positive impact.  We measure and report our impacts each year.