With summer now upon us, many people will be making travel plans to a wide variety of destinations. The highways will be plugged up with cars, beaches will be crowded, and city streets will be alive with festivals and other events. Some people will be traveling to more natural regions to take in the wonders of nature.
In a world where traveling almost anywhere is possible, it is important to make sure our vacation doesn’t leave a harsh impact on the environment. The concept of ecotourism allows for us to be environmentally conscious while having fun on our adventures.
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a form of sustainable development that aims to strike a balance between human interaction with nature and environmental awareness.
Those traveling to natural areas need to act responsibly and should move through those areas in a way that will conserve the environment while also respecting the culture of the indigenous peoples of the region. Because some areas are affected by social issues as well, ecotourism aims to provide awareness of these matters in those regions.
This helps by providing a financial source for those communities that are in need while also making the public aware of these matters.
The Principle of the Matter…
Wondering what it means to be an eco-tourist? Follow these fundamental principles and you’ll be off to a great start!
- Minimize your environmental impact – Avoid actions like littering and keep to any designated footpaths to avoid harming any fauna and flora in the region.
- Sensitivity and Awareness of local cultures – Some locals can and will take offense to certain things you do. Being aware and respectful of the local culture will not only help you in getting along with the indigenous community but also makes the visit enjoyable for your hosts, who will be more welcoming toward those who visit their area as a result.
- Support the local economy of the region – This includes shopping at local businesses and buying locally produced products as it ensures that money stays within the community. Plus, you’re on vacation, you should be taking in some of the local flavors!
These principles set a standard in how we should act as an eco-tourist and how businesses should act in providing eco-tourist activities. In this way, both people and businesses can adhere to a set standard in how to be sustainable while taking in nature’s beauty.
Ecotourism allows you to have a fantastic time while making sure that the actions you take are a benefit to the region instead of an imposition. Following the ecotourism principles mentioned above, we can practice a more sustainable way of traveling. It is important that we leave a minimal impact in the regions that we visit to preserve their beauty and so that others will be able to visit these regions in the future.
BBC. “Ecotourism.” BBC. Accessed June 8, 2016. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/tourism/ecotourism_rev1.shtml.
Ecotour. “Ecotourism definitions.” Ecotour. Accessed June 8, 2016. http://www.ecotourdirectory.com/ecotourism/ecotourism_definitions.php.
Faith, Rosenya. “What Are the Types and Advantages of Ecotourism?” Accessed June 8, 2016. http://traveltips.usatoday.com/types-advantages-ecotourism-105924.html.
The International Ecotourism Society. “What is Ecotourism?” The International Ecotourism Society. Accessed June 8, 2016. https://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism.
The Nature Conservancy. “What does Ecotourism mean, and why should you care?” The Nature Conservancy. Accessed June 8, 2016. http://www.nature.org/greenliving/what-is-ecotourism.xml.
UNEP and WTO. “What is Ecotourism?” United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Accessed June 8, 2016. http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=3205&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html.