What is Ecotourism?

Ecotourism is now defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education” (The International Ecotourism Society, 2015).

Principles of Ecotourism

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement, participate in and market ecotourism activities should adopt the following ecotourism principles:

  • Minimise physical, social, behavioural, and psychological impacts
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
  • Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry
  • Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
  • Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities
  • Recognise the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.

Ecotourism at the Dolphin Hotel

The Dolphin Hotel is a small family owned hotel set amongst the unique landscape and culture of Inishbofin island, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The Coyne family have been welcoming tourists to Inishbofin for over 25 years. We love our island and do our utmost to maintain its culture and traditions. We love to share our knowledge about the island.

Inishbofin is a special place, designated a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area, as it is one of the few places in Ireland where the distinctive call of the endangered corncrake can still be heard. The island has a diverse mixture of habitats from pristine beaches, sand dunes and rugged cliffs to bogs and hay meadows.

We are lucky enough to be able to share this special place with visitors, and have an opportunity to highlight important environmental issues that directly affect our community such as waste management, marine pollution and farming and conservation.

We believe that ecotourism is a way for Inishbofin to develop tourism in a sustainable way that will leave our island in its pristine state for future generations to enjoy.