“Responsible travel is not only better for our world; it is also more interesting and memorable. Responsible tourism is the future of travel.” – Simon Reeve
Most people love to travel. For some, it is just a hobby and for some people, it’s a way to relax their soul. Travel expands the mind and our hearts. It helps us explore new places, people, values, and food and it makes us realize that we need to love and respect everyone around us and make the world a better place for each other and the animals around us. But what happens is that every time we pack our bags and leave for a new adventure, we leave a mark behind. This mark is made up of the resources which we use to help us have an enjoyable time.
Now, how do we solve this issue linked with traveling? The major problem with mass tourism, care for the environment is nowhere on the agenda let alone on being on top. Ecotourism is a more sustainable form of mass tourism by which the world can be explored while we take care of the environment
What is Ecotourism?
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines it as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves interpretation and education”.
According to the Australian National Ecotourism, ecotourism is defined as “ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.” In simple words, the concept of ecotourism is about promoting the idea of respecting and protecting the environment while one travels. It involves responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas.
What happens in such areas is that these natural areas usually have planned programs to conserve the environment or sustain the wellbeing of the local people.
What does ecotourism aim for?
Ecotourism aims at promoting awareness of what’s happening to natural areas both environmentally and socially. The goal is to educate the tourists about the conditions of a certain travel destination. Conditions like poverty, declining wildlife, or deteriorating traditional buildings which is often hidden from tourists.
One of the major goals ecotourism can achieve is providing positive experiences to both visitors and hosts. It provides direct financial benefits for conservation. Many conservation programs help in raising money for future projects by hosting volunteers. The money that is spent on an all-inclusive resort in a largely commercialized holiday destination can be used to fund a volunteering trip instead, and the money of the traveller will be used to pay for the work that needs to be done to improve the environment. This even helps the local people and private industry.
Today ecotourism is an essential need for the planet because it is solely based on improving the environment, as well as the people and animals that live in it. People must be educated about the eco-travel adventures and also about the guidelines they are required to stick to. Principles of ecotourism can help to shift the perspectives and transition people from the indulgent, unenlightened experiences commonly found with mass tourism. The bottom line is principles of ecotourism are beneficial for the world as a whole, and not just a single region or a country.