Ecotourism Estonia

Ecotourism Estonia

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ecotourism Estonia - a network of small local operators offering natural and cultural experiences at their destinations.

Your idea
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Street Address

Keskuse 2-2





Postal/Zip Code


Year innovation began


Geotourism Challenge Addressed by Entrant

Quality of benefit to the people of the desitination

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Indicate sector in which you principally work

Tourism-related business

Geographic location


Plot your innovation within the Mosaic of Solutions
Main barrier addressed

Lack of collaboration

Main insight addressed

Market authenticity

What is the goal of your innovation?

Unite local small tour operators, introduce ecotourism ideas to them, develop tours and promote these ecotours to the global travel audience.

How does your approach support or embody geotourism?

Estonian Ecotourism Quality Label has been developed - a product label for tourism products based on the ecotourism principles. The main aim is to promote local economic development and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage of these different small destinations.

Describe your approach in detail. How is it innovative?

Quality Labels criterias are:
1. Respect carrying capacity
2. Support local economy
3. Environmental business practice
4. Support conservation of nature and culture
5. Responsibility, education and respect
6. Safety and quality

Based on these common criterias, the local operators applying for the label, are taking into account their own local conditions, natural surroundings, social and cultural uniqueness.

What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?

Networks of similar kinds in other countries could benefit from our experience.

In one sentence describe what kind of impact, change, or reform your approach is intended to achieve.

Promote local economic development and the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage.

Describe the degree of success of your approach to date. Clearly define how you measure quantitative and qualitative impact in terms of how your approach contributes to the sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How does your approach minimize negative impacts? 200 words or less

Our success can be measured by:
1. Local operators involved in our Ecotourism scheme
2. Travelers buying and experiencing Estonian Ecotourism

How does your program promote traveler enthusiasm, satisfaction, and engagement with the locale?

All Ecotourism labelled tour-products are guided by local guides

In what ways are local residents actively involved in your innovation, including participation and community input? How has the community responded to or benefited from your approach?

Ecotourism operators in our network are local residents and they use as much other local suppliers in thei tour production.

Describe how your innovation helps travelers and local residents better understand the value of the area’s cultural and natural heritage, and educates them on local environmental issues. How do you motivate them to act responsibly in their future travel decisions?

Ecolabelled trips that are promoted through or network are based on the unique features of the places what are experienced

Is your initiative financially and organizationally sustainable? If not, what is required to make it so? What is the potential demand for your innovation?

We have recieved small grants from our government bodies for training materials and workshops. We have not been supported for marketing Estonian Ecotourism abroad.

How is your initiative currently financed? If available, provide information on your finances and organization that could help others. Please list: Annual budget, annual revenue generated, size of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff.

In 2006 and 2007 we have recieved from Estonian Tourist Board a grant of ca 700 EUR for educational materials and seminar for training local tourism bussinesses.

What is your plan to expand your approach? Please indicate where/how you would like to grow or enhance your innovation, or have others do so.

Estonian Ecotourism Quality Label was established in 2000and was renewed in 2006. We would like to collaborate with similar networks in neighboring countries.

What are the main barriers you encounter in managing, implementing, or replicating your innovation? What barriers keep your program from having greater impact?

Lack of human resource for co-ordinating work, lack of skill for Internet Marketing.

The Story
What is the origin of your innovation? Tell your story.

Aivar Ruukel has been project manager for 2-years Project "Kodukant Ecotourism Initiative " in 1993-1995 and chairman for Estonian Ecotourism Association since 1996.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.

I have bee 15 years working as private nature tourism operator in Soomaa National Park, Estonia where I live. See my company site
I have also 15 years been one of the leaders for Ecotourism movement in Estonia.
See my interview for ECOCLUB, International Ecotourism Magazine at their site:

Please write an overview of your project. This text will appear when people scroll over the icon for your entry on the Google map located on the competition homepage.

Ecotourism Estonia - a network of small local operators offering natural and cultural experiences at their destinations.