Ecotourism Market Growth & Trends

The global ecotourism market size is expected to reach USD 665.20 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 15.2% over the forecast period, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The global market has witnessed strong growth in recent years with travelers across the globe ditching traditional tourism activities and following the ecotourism trend. Domestic and international investments toward the development of a sustainable travel ecosystem have further made construction addition to the growth of the industry.

According to a United Nations study, travelers’ belief in, sustainability and ecotourism have risen in the recent decade. The United Nations marked 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the study suggests a shift in mindset and consumer focus within the millennial generation. Additionally, the growing popularity of ecotourism is further fueled by rising public awareness regarding negative and deteriorating impacts on the natural environment.

The key growth drivers for the industry are the rise in environmental protection awareness, alluring trip packages, sustainable development, and reasonable rates. Environmental protection is achieved through environmentally friendly travel. It benefits the local host economically, and these elements help to provide profitable prospects for travel agencies and other major tourist businesses throughout the world. The rise of social media to create awareness about ecotourism in developing economies including India and China has positively contributed to the growth.

To boost eco-tourism in the regional market and contribute to the local economy, governments and travel and tourism associations are taking major initiatives. For instance, in November 2019, the government of Cambodia launched a plan to promote ecotourism in the Kingdom to increase sector revenue, enhance the standard of living in rural areas, and assist in the preservation of the nation’s natural resources. Such initiatives are anticipated to drive the growth of the industry over the forecast period.

COVID-19 pandemic has had huge impacts on multiple industries and sectors. All enterprises and industries face several difficulties as a result of the pandemic disease’s widespread infection. The tourist business, and specifically the tourism sector, is one of these industries that is most impacted by the pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the global market was impacted severely with companies operating in the market witnessing a negative downturn.

According to the data published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), travel & tourism’s contribution to GDP witnessed a loss of almost US$4.9 trillion in 2020 (-50.4% decline). However post-pandemic, a continuing shift toward ecotourism is expected to give an additional boost to the industry. A paradigm change in consumer behavior toward a focus on sustainability and increased demand for nature-based tourism among senior citizens are likely to generate significant growth in the worldwide market in the forthcoming years.

Europe accounted for the largest revenue share in 2021. Due to increased urbanization and rising income levels, outdoor leisure activities, solo travel, and immersion travel are becoming increasingly popular, which is fueling the industry’s expansion. The top hotel companies are implementing novel and creative ways to build eco-lodges and camps, plan trails and excursions, and spend money on social media marketing efforts. In addition to assessing the environmental and cultural aspects of ecotourism, they are also working on projects that support recycling, put an emphasis on energy efficiency, and reuse water, all of which help to provide local communities with economic opportunities.

For instance, in April 2022, European Travel Commission (ETC) launched a sustainable tourism marketing campaign for Nordic countries. As COVID-19 limitations are already being relaxed, the Commission claims that this campaign was developed to revitalize tourism in the area. It will also involve B2B and B2C activities by engaging with consortium partners, tour operators, and the media. This in turn is promoting regional market expansion.

Ecotourism Market Report Highlights

  • Land ecotourism accounted for around 70% of the global market in 2021. The growth is mainly driven by rising consumer demand for land-based tourism activities coupled with the economic nature of these tours
  • Direct booking dominated the global market and accounted for over 60% of the revenue share in 2021 on account of several tailored services and immersive experiences offered by key tour operators
  • The generation Z segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.0% over the forecast period. The increasing understanding of the negative effects of over-tourism within this age group is anticipated to have a substantial influence on Gen Z travelers’ purchasing decisions