In defence of eco-tourism: a local expert cautions tourism should help, not harm natural features

‘We are the apple orchards, we are the cideries and the vineyards, the escarpment and the rivers,’ says tourism consultant Mike Robbins.

In a place and time where tourism is an economic driver and even a main industry, it’s important to make sure what is thriving now is not destroying the future.

That’s according to Mike Robbins, a tourism consultant based in Collingwood.

“Tourism can bring many benefits, if done properly. But it can also be very destructive,” he says.

Robbins has worked as a tourism consultant for over 40 years throughout Canada — across every province and territory — and internationally. He says one of the things that saddens him the most is Canada’s lack of fully adopting ecotourism. 

“Ecotourism is something I’ve focused a lot of my career on,” Robbins says. “The Canadian tourism industry uses the term sustainable tourism, but it never really bought into the concept of ecotourism in a big enough way.” 

Despite initiatives and efforts from different provinces, he says our nation’s tourism industry has a very long way to go before it can be classified as ecotourism.

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