Everything seems to be going “eco” these days, and that couldn’t make me any happier. From the spur in health consciousness to business adopting environmentally friendly practices, the world is slowly becoming a better, more sustainable place.
Ecotourism is one of the practices people around the globe have been picking up, but what exactly is it? How does one do it? These questions an more are all answered below!
The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” Essentially, it means leaving only your footprints behind when you visit a location.
As with any movement, there are a set of principles to follow when practicing this form of travel. It starts with minimizing any impact you may have on the environment as well as the culture and people of the area. That can be as simple as not leaving your trash on a hiking path, or something more thought-driven like respecting the customs of a particular religion or culture.
Aside from respecting the people of the area, I try to contribute direct financial support for any conservation efforts they make. Alternatively, I could financially help the surrounding area by choosing to buy from only local small businesses. I would also avidly work to conserve natural resources by using as little power and water as possible.
The end goal is to unite conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. Some even take things a step further by choosing to stay in the area and work to market it as an ecotourist location while helping to construct low-impact facilities and aiding the indigenous people of the area in conservation efforts.
Others choose to become interpreters who uphold the area’s spiritual beliefs and create positive interactions between visitors and indigenous people.
Sustainable Travel Just Makes Sense
Traveling to a new location is always an exciting adventure, but enjoying and preserving the beauty of nature while doing it is even more of an enriching experience. As traveler’s, we have to do our part to preserve environments and cultures around the world before industrialization and mega corporations decimate them.
What are your thoughts on ecotourism? Where have you traveled to recently where you could put these principles into action? I would love to hear about it!