What Is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a more natural and back-to-basics form of travel that encourages sustainability, Eco-friendly travel and advocates that travelers should have little to no effect on the organic environment.
A key factor of Ecotourism is highlighting the responsibility that all tourists and tourism operators have to ensure the environmental and social welfare of the inhabitants remains intact and untouched. By doing this we can safeguard the preservation of the natural function of the area, keeping as unscathed and raw as possible.
Ecotourism does not permit any pursuits that can result in harm to the immediate environment. Therefore any hobby such as animal hunting, blood sports, all-terrain driving or anything with a large carbon footprint would not be considered as Ecotourism friendly.
Types of Ecotourism
This refers to a type of ecotourism that involves ecotourists and sometimes volunteers to a farm, ranch or rural communities that engage in farming. It provides economic value for the farmers as well as recreation for the visitors by encouraging them to explore the lifestyles of their host communities. The activities of agritourism include harvesting e.g. fruit picking, fishing, cooking and hunting, horse riding etc. This offers the visitors a real life experience of working alongside farmers and the opportunity to participate in farming related activities. Agritourism is indeed a win-win game.
Community development is a form ecotourism that offers an opportunity for the conservation of biodiversity and protection of natural environment. It promotes the sustainability of social and economic development through engagement with local communities that are often threatened by several factors such as industrialization and deforestation among others. The visitors typically stay with local families and engage in communal activities such as planting trees, farming, building homes and other traditions that can be of benefit to the host communities. Thus, the host improves their income and a part of it can be used for other sustainable projects.
Ecolodging is a form of accommodation for tourist that is in harmony with the philosophy of ecotourism. This includes hotels, hostels, tents and tea houses that are built with minimum impact on the environment as well as eco-friendly toiletries and other organically sourced items. Ecolodging is typically found in remote areas that have seen a minimum human impact on the environment. It offers excellent opportunities to relax, experience nature e.g bird-watching, hunting, jungle trekking and culture of the host communities. Unlike a typical vacation, ecolodging encourages the visitors to be responsible travelers.
Ecotrekking is a form of ecotourism that involves visits to pristine natural environments which are protected to maintain minimum human impact. It offers opportunities to educate tourists about the environment and in doing so, generate funds for conservation and economic development of the host communities. Some of the ecotrekking activities include nature walks, hiking, bird-watching, and rafting etc. Ecotrekking also encourages responsible tourism and helps the visitors appreciate the beauty mother nature.
Why Is Ecotourism Important?
Ecotourism can serve to be a monumental factor in raising awareness about the human impact on nature, destruction of the natural climate and landscapes and the dangers of mass-tourism on social wellbeing.
Mammoth and overly constructed hotel complexes, which have been built on natural and ecological settings, result in the potential for increased pollution, littering and changing of the organic microclimate.
By highlighting the importance of environmental conservation and using Ecotourism as an instrument for learning, it can encourage tourists to reconsider their travel options and the impact that the leisure industry has on the global landscape.
With the focus being on small scale, careful and considered travel, it can also feed the local community, enabling social sustainability without annihilating or eradicating valuable natural resources.
Ecotourism provides economic benefits for the host and conservation communities.
What Are The Benefits Of Ecotourism?
- By encouraging tourists to visit areas of natural and untouched splendor, it will enable them to be more ingrained with the native wildlife and inhabitants. Therefore it can help cement the importance of our need to safeguard our environment.
- Income from Ecotourism can be fed back into the local economy which can help the residents who are indigenous to the area. In contrast to large corporate holiday complexes which do not always employ locals or look for ways to give back to the financial system.
- Learning and being emerged within a sustainable environment can encourage tourist to initiate this style of living when they travel back home. Therefore ideas about reducing waste, shopping locally and supporting small businesses can become a more global concept.
- As well as the important educational advantages for tourists, local inhabitants can reap the rewards of learning new and adaptable skills within the Ecotourism trade. These new skills can be passed on within communities and families, enabling the society to engage with abilities that they otherwise may not have been able to learn.
- Local economies can be built and improved without having a monumental impact on the natural environment. Ecotourism demonstrates that economic success does not have to mean that we forego the importance of sustainability. Tourism is still possible inline with the ethics involved in recycling and waste control, resourceful and renewable energy.
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