The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.  ~ Marcel Proust

New Directions in Ecotourism

epi raises awareness about nature and people-friendly ecotourism.  Participatory ecotourism is central to any mix of conservation solutions to protect global biodiversity and our oceans. 

Participatory ecotourism supports conservation of critical habitat and helps communities.  The Institute’s form of participatory ecotourism is an earned income strategy that supports conservation objectives through voluntouring and locally-owned results. Projects are evaluated by the beneficiaries and third party reviewers using participatory methods.

The Historical Context

A century ago, global tourism barely existed.  Imagine traveling the world in the days of Darwin when only a few ships sailed the seas for the purpose of scientific discovery and fewer more carried passengers who traveled solely for recreation.  Villages, harbors and landscapes were unique gems of cultural and ecological integrity.  

Now, tourism—including ecotourism—is one of the most impactful economic activities on our planet.  At epi, we believe we are ALL ready to re-invent ‘travel” in a way that builds peace, fosters sustainability and restores the Earth’s natural systems.

The Institute's objectives

epi seeks to expand demand and supply of verifiable ‘participatory’ eco-tourism . The Institute builds capacity for participatory ecotourism where locals and visitors learn from each other and work side-by-side on mutually beneficial conservation and development projects.   

epi’s participatory ecotourism program supports conservation organizations and communities. Locals and visitors learn from each other, tend to form bonds of friendship and may partner on mutually beneficial activities including economic ones. Local-to-visitor business partnerships may also encourage the capitalization of a cascading series of new ventures in struggling economies.

Through this website, discover links to participatory eco-tourism partners, best practice and appreciative eco-tourism reviews.  Make sure that when next you travel your ecotourism dollars go to in support of meaningful earned income strategies for local people that take into account the protection of critical habitat.


epi's web icons are images of 19th century scientific instruments and cultural resources.  Our icons are meant to evoke the observational strategies of Charles Darwin and other scientists including biologists, naturalists, anthropologists and even physicists. These set the stage for epi's blog: Hiking with Darwin.

About page icon:  Imagine arriving in the location of your last vacation at a time over a century ago and equipped with the latest instruments of science and discovery in the day of Charles Darwin.  Are your hopes for meaningful experience, keen observations and a sense of connection enhanced through this excercise?