Indecon sees ecotourism as a suitable concept for Indonesia, more specifically for the development of community-based ecotourism. Implemented properly and correctly, ecotourism can become a mean for the community to manage their natural resources in a sustainable manner; whilst, at the same time to receive economic benefits from tourism to support their welfare.
Ecotourism focuses on creating quality experiences when traveling in natural areas, which increase understanding and appreciation; as well as encouraging all stakeholders involved to protect natural and cultural resources as tourism assets. Indecon defines ecotourism as “the development and management of sustainable nature tourism that supports conservation efforts and environmental education (nature & culture), as well as socio-economically providing direct benefits to the community and local government from generation to generation” (Indecon, 1996). As the output of a stakeholder workshop in 1996, Indecon had developed several principles to ensure the development and management of ecotourism runs according to its objectives, namely:
Ecotourism encourages awareness, responsibility, and commitment to contribute into nature conservation and cultural preservation; thus, its development must follow the ecological principles in order to minimize its negative impacts on the environment.
Ecotourism aims to optimize economic benefits to the local community, private sector and government in a sustainable manner; and to minimize its negative impacts on local economy
Ecotourism promotes the community as the beneficiaries and subject of development by involving the local community from the planning and implementation in a participatory manner.
Ecotourism increases awareness and appreciation of nature, historical and cultural heritage values; as well as increasing knowledge for visitors, communities, and stakeholders; primarily through interpretation.
Ecotourism emphasizes security and comfort in providing a satisfactory, valuable, and quality experience for visitors.
Indecon consistently continues to develop approaches to ecotourism practices both at the destination and site level; continues to make action with the community and related stakeholders, to demonstrate good ecotourism practices. If implemented properly and correctly, ecotourism will provide long-term benefits and also increase the resilience of destinations.
Some experts who shared similar views, such as Silva (2015), viewed ecotourism as a sustainable non-consumptive strategy for the benefit of conservation and local communities. Focuses on sustainable resource management, contribution to economic sustainability, cultural identity and social relations. Fennell (2003) provided a definition of ecotourism as the management of sustainable natural tourism, which mainly emphasizes experiences and education about nature, which is ethically low impact, non-consumptive and locally oriented. Meanwhile, the Global Ecotourism Network (2015) defined ecotourism as responsible travel to natural places by preserving the environment, supporting the welfare of local residents, increasing knowledge and understanding through interpretation and education for all involved, be it visitors, management staff and those visited.