Why This Journey?
She took her first glance into a spotting scope from a rooftop deck above the canopy of a Panamanian rainforest and what she thought was going to be a narrow view, instead, opened up her world. She saw creatures so colorful and so unexpected, that it made her wonder what else she’s been missing and how do I get THERE!
I have witnessed this story every year since 2008. Back then, I was trying to find my way back to the rain forests of Panama, where in my early twenties, I was part of a team of young biologists doing bird research. Because I love watching people experience nature as much as I love studying nature, I decided to organize a group trip to Panama. I’m happy to say, I’ve created some world travelers among people who had never left their country before. But, equally close to my heart, I have seen the positive impact genuine ecotourism can have on conservation of wildlife and wild lands. Done right, ecotourism is a win-win.
But, I also started to notice travelers became overwhelmed and frustrated by their online search for their perfect destination. And I have watched ecolodge staff bend over backwards trying to satisfy visitors that were not good matches for what they offer. That’s when it struck me that in order for ecotourism to rise to its full potential, tourists and eco-destinations need to better find each other. That’s when the concept of EcoTripMatch was born.
The mission of EcoTripMatch is not complicated. Whether you want to spend your vacation at a fancy beach resort, an isolated hut in the middle of a rainforest or have a stopover in a big city, it’s possible to do it in a way that not only lessens the impact on the environment, but also supports conservation and communities. But, it needs to be easier than aimlessly searching through the internet and hoping what you have picked will be the experience you want. The mission of EcoTripMatch is to support the promise of ecotourism by matching travelers with ecotourism providers. Let’s go!
-Terry Lawson Dunn, Founder