Ecotourism is a brilliant idea. And true ecotourism, when done right, can go a long way toward conservation and environmental efforts.

But sometimes, something that’s marketed as “ecotourism” is actually just a money-grabbing sideshow attraction.

And even though you know the difference between the two, your audience may not.

A Tale of Two Organizations

I live in East Tennessee. As in, right next to Smoky Mountain National Park. As in, right next to places like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

There are some amazing wildlife conservation efforts happening in Smoky Mountain National Park that tourists can participate in, like assisting park rangers in searching for and documenting various species in the Park through Discover Life in America.

And then, 10 minutes up the road in Pigeon Forge (truly, the Vegas of East Tennessee), there are some “educational” zoos that feature wild animals that are not being kept in adequate facilities or conditions – but that are great for attracting out-of-towners.

Juxtaposed, these two organizations couldn’t appear more different. And it’s true they have very few similarities. But they do have two very important things in common: They both consider themselves ecotourism destinations, and they are both organizations tourists can put their money toward.

The former will use tourism money to further wildlife research efforts. The latter will probably use it on a fancy steak dinner, at the expensive of caged animals.

Public Relations Messaging Goes a Long Way

That’s why your brand messaging is so important. You want your audience to know upfront that you’re putting your money and your efforts toward animal welfare and conservation.

And that’s how ecotourism public relations can help.

Public relations professionals can help separate your business from the money-grabbers and sideshow zoos by garnering positive media coverage, creating beneficial public perception and cultivating your online presence.

Through the right messaging, a public relations professional can showcase your ecotourism business for what it really is: An eco-friendly, sustainable alternative to hyper-commercialized tourism.

At Orange Orchard, our PR and content strategy team is ready to help your ecotourism business take conservation to the next level. Call us today at (865) 977-1973, and let us get started.