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Integrated Eco-Tourism Development Program

Challenges at the beginning of the 21st Century

Addressing the Issues :

Joint planning and development of integrated sustainable tourism between all sectors – public and private – institutions and businesses, need to be united by means of “Actions instead of Words” and by “Working Together." 

Eco-Tourism and Eco-Hotel Management Curriculum at Hotel and Tourism Schools around the world, in 2004 are still in their infancy.

Eco-Lodges development in most countries – with the exception in the first eco-tourism destinations like Ecuador, Costa Rica, Kenya, Nepal and others - has been slower in comparison to environmental practices in the industry since the early 1980’s. In the eye of the environmentalist, this is great. In the eye of the hotelier this is good too, because we now have a better understanding of how to preserve and market strategically our primary tourism attractions of nature and heritage resources in the growing markets of eco- tourists and travelers.

The World Bank, UNEP and other organizations are striving to reduce poverty in developing countries by the year 2015.

The Strategies:

To launch the “Hotel & Tourism Initiative for Environment Education.” (H&TIEE) Hoteliers around the world have the opportunity to support “sustainable tourism development and education” especially in natural and remote areas of great nature, heritage and resources. The hoteliers will act as “Environment Ambassadors and Consultants” working with all tourism related sectors – private and public.

To make environmental hotel and tourism education top priority and accessible to all industry professionals: regardless the size, type and category of the hotel/lodge and tourism business. 

To implement integrated environmental curriculum programs - a must – at colleges, hotel schools and universities linked with continuous education programs, around the world.

To develop a balanced lodging mix - of all types and price range of hotels including Eco-Lodges. The Eco-Lodges can be developed in and/or nearby nature parks as well in potential  regional eco-destinations like “The Real Florida” among others around the world: Good examples of balanced lodging segments in either nature destinations or well preserved historic small cities do exist in all European countries over 100 years.

“Working Together” with all tourism sectors involved - private and public – but most important with all communities and universities/hotel schools  with emphasis on new jobs creation  and  poverty reduction  by 2015. 

Course Objectives:

Understanding integrated environmental education, management and marketing strategies for the benefit of nature, heritage, eco-tourism and communities.

Using case studies of the first environmental friendly hotel  referral group in 1994 and eco-destinations. With focus on team building, joint planning and development, and participatory exercises of leadership and motivation.

Understanding the basic principles of design and development of Eco-Lodges; which harmonize well within regional eco-destinations and protect the environment.

Understanding social responsibility toward sustainable tourism development and the benefit of joining efforts within all sectors involved, private and public: With emphasis on “Tourism promotes Peace Worldwide.”

Understanding culture and tradition values of international markets and how todevelop international hotel/tourism partnerships.

Examine key environmental issues: Review best practices and trends from around the world and look for new perspectives – new opportunities in the “Eco-Market Niche”, especially for smaller and mid-size businesses.

Subject Areas:

1.     Nature & Heritage Tourism Development: 

Analyze best practices and trends of Eco-Tourism around the world.

Understanding the importance of partnerships between the key players; hotels, specialized tour operators, media, universities and international organizations.

Draw a first priority plan of nature oriented hotel/business for development in potential areas of the participant (s). 

Use case studies and exercise participatory joint planning and development of all tourism sectors involved - private and public - on regional and national levels.

2.     Eco- Marketing: 

Explore how innovative, integrated and profit oriented marketing strategies can benefit Eco-Tourism and environmental sensitive hotels and tourism businesses.

Draw a preliminary marketing plan and strategic marketing goals for the hotel/business of the participant (s).

Understanding the benefits of joint destination development and joint marketing and promotion linked with partnering programs.

3.     Eco-Tourism Forum & Travel Markets:

Examine case studies of successful international forums and conferences on Sustainable Tourism and Eco-Tourism Development; and learn how to implement them on local, regional and international levels.

4.    Eco-Hotel Management: 

Examine best environment practices and case studies around the world. And learn of new environmental friendly systems and products, i.e., renewable energies, building materials and products.

5.     Design Principles of  Eco-Lodge/Eco-Resorts

Understanding the importance of the project management team’s key players: architect, environmentalist, owner, hotelier among others.

Understanding integrated design and planning strategies, focusing on: Attraction, security, functioning, comfort, maximum life cycle and benefits. And the use of new on environmental design principles, building codes and materials.

General Course & Nature Tour Outline:

The course is designed for Hotel and Tourism professionals and students.

Mix of integrated studies based on the dual education system:
Studies 70%. Practice 30%. (mix can vary according the particular topic)

Combined with nature tours and recreation activities: from wildlife protection programs to kayaking, swimming with the manatees, deep sea fishing, horse back riding, horse carriage driving, bird watching, museum visits, among others.

The course is custom made – brick building system – focusing to the particular needs and interest of the participant (s).

The course can be held for 1 to 12 participants: Of 1 day to 7 days, including site visits and field analysis (for courses of more than 1 day).

Course References:

Tourism and the Environment. 9 publications (1993, European Tourism Editions) 

Environment publications of International Organizations. For example UNEP, GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) among many others.

Guide Book “Eco-Hotel Management” * (1995)

Guide Book, “Eco-Marketing” * Spanish version  (1998)

Case Studies* of  “Conservation-Education-Sustainable Tourism Development” in Latin America during 1976 – 1996

“Environmental Education and  Investigation Center” coupled with Eco-Lodges* 

* The guide books/studies written  by Eberhardt H. Rues and can be  viewed  on our Web site: www.ecofriendlyhotelsrhs.com


The programs/subjects are drawn up in close collaboration with the respective business of the participant/client in order to meet defined objectives. The programs will focus on  regional, national and international opportunities and trends, they can be held either in Central Florida from 1 to 7 days or in another country.

The IETDP can also be linked to our Consulting Services, providing combined programs from 14 days to two months of continuous consultancy at the participant’s hotel in the respective country around the world.

Tasks are goal and result oriented with emphasis on: “participation and discussion” and “problem solving and solution approach.” At the end of program the participants will prepare a    preliminary marketing strategy plan adapting to the needs of their respective business.


The “Integrated Eco-Tourism Development Programs”, coupled with “Eco-Tourism Forums & Travel Markets” were first implemented by Eberhardt H. Rues at the ITESM - Technical Institute of Superior Studies Monterey, Mexico – Campus Mazatlan; in both, Eco-Tourism Courses and Extension Programs in 1993- 1994 and in 1997. In 1994 the IETDP was implemented at the Radisson Plaza, La Paz, Bolivia. The same year, Rues launched the first referral environmental oriented hotel group in Bolivia “RHS EcoFriendly Hotels Worldwide.” Since then, the IETDP form part of RHM&C key consulting tasks.

Combined Study Program Team:

The IETDP will be conducted by E. H. Rues (they can be held in four languages; English, German, Spanish and French.) in collaboration with local park managers/rangers, nature experts, local guides, hoteliers and others.

Experience The Real Florida’s Nature and Heritage  Destinations: 

Please visit our Web site, USA – Florida/Parks. At these world class nature attractions, sound environmental preservation management is being practiced. Hence also providing an excellent learning experience which also serves as a case study for application to similar projects in other eco-destinations.


The introductory IETDP of 1 to 3 days can either be held at Rues “Nature Florida Home & Office” for up to 6 participants, in Dunnellon, Citrus Springs, seven miles south Rainbow Springs: www.floridastateparks.org/rainbowsprings Or for larger groups at a nearby hotel or meeting facility. Extended programs are recommended to be held in other regions of “The Real Florida” following the “modular building system.”


A choice of lodgings; from affordable Vacation Rentals at Family Homes, Hotels, Bed & Breakfast Inns, to luxurious Hotels and Resorts, is available.

Eberhardt H. Rues - Founder and President
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