What is Ecotourism?

gearup4nature]As our world gets smaller and travel becomes more widespread, Ecotourism or nature tourism is becoming more popular.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) defines ecotourism as “Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”

This means that ecotourism emphasises on conservation, education and responsible travellers, who actively participate with the community. An ecotourism based holiday will include some of the following characteristics;

Low-impact visitor behavior

Sensitivity towards local cultures and biodiversity

Supports local conservation efforts

Benefits local communities that are sustainable

Educational components for both the traveler and local communities

Ecotourism promoted tourism, but maintains sensitive natural areas and local cultures. This method of tourism reduces environmental degradation and causes the least harm to local communities. By including tourism in remote communities, the locals are able to generate income that was otherwise unattainable. Additionally remote communities are able to increase their level of education and engagement with travellers.

If you’re considering an ecotourist resort or travel experience, speak to your travel agent on a trip that impacts local communities in a positive manner. There are Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, which includes 37 voluntary standards. Most resorts will include these details on their website. Ecotourism resorts, provide the same amenities as other tour operators. You will however notice that ecotourism resorts provide a more immersive travel experience.

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