How to Develop a Marketing Plan for Your Ecotourism Business

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Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world (The International Ecotourism Society 2006). Various travel sectors support this steady increase, for example, U.S. inbound travel, lodging and transportation demand, industry employment, and consumer confidence have shown a steady increase since 2009 (U.S. Travel Tracker 2010). Ecotourism is also on a steady and rapid growth pattern, increasing at a rate three times greater than tourism (i.e., 20–34%) in sales and volume annually since the 1990s (Mastny 2001; The International Ecotourism Society 2006).

Ecotourism is often seen as a simple business for landowners to begin because little infrastructure is needed; however, certain management skills are needed to effectively operate an ecotourism business. Simply managing an ecotourism business operation has been cited by existing ecotourism business owners as a challenge in effectively running their businesses (Best and Stein 2007). A key business skill is the ability to market one's ecotourism product or service effectively. This paper will provide insight for developing this skill by describing the contents of a marketing plan and presenting external resources to assist in ecotourism operation marketing.

Tinelle D. Bustam
Taylor Stein
University of Florida IFAS Extension