Over recent years, “ecotourism” and “green traveler” have been buzzwords in the travel industry. Apart from them, you will also hear other words such as mindful traveler, sustainable tourism, responsible tourism, ethical tourism, conscious travel, pro-poor tourism, and many others.
The use and search of these words or terms, particularly, have hit hard after the pandemic era. Apart from the benefits of these words, we can see the negative effect and impact on the environment of mass tourism. The destinations and locations that have gone viral no longer hold the similar original shine; hence, countries are pretty conscious of their travel means.
Also, if we pull ourselves back to ecotourism, it is not a new term; it has been used for decades. Regardless of how you refer to it, ecotourism protects and preserves a specific destination’s environmental, social, physical, and cultural aspects.
So, overall, what is ecotourism, and how did it originate? Also, why should it matter? How can travelers help, or are even the countries using this concept?
Ecotourism: A Concept And Application
Ecotourism is an opportunity to enjoy untouched nature without leaving any of your trails behind. In addition to giving you complete joy, responsible travel also conserves the environment and supports the local community.
As per the sources, the term “ecotourism” first came into the limelight in 1982 after they recorded the word “ecotour” in 1973. In straightforward dictionary language, ecotourism defines tourism in some exotic regions of ecological interest.
But above all of the appearance, this particular word came into action when Megan Epler Wood defined it back in 1990. Wood co-founded The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and is the author of six influential books on the subject.
Even though this term has been on the run since then, people still need clarification about how ecotourism works. Many think it is to conserve and protect the environment anyhow; however, it also refers to uplifting the financial stability of the particular area.
Principles Of Ecotourism
After ecotourism came into actual practice in 1990, this industry has fairly bloomed. Here, ecotourism is considered one of the fastest-growing sectors in the travel industry.
In the short view, ecotourism is focused on long-term sustainability rather than short-term profits. This concept’s only mission is to develop tourist facilities during their travel that benefits the traveler himself, the environment, and the local people of the destination.
Some of the guiding principles this particular concept runs with are mentioned below.
- Active awareness of environmental and cultural aspects for both locals and visitors alike.
- Minimize the carbon footprints by limiting ecotour group sizes.
- Revenue generated from ecotourism is to be used to conserve nature and wildlife.
- Donations, fees, or accommodation provide financial benefits to local people.
- Empower democratic movement and respect all the tour staff and guides.
So, How Can You Apply This Concept Of Ecotourism?
As for local people or the government, awareness is the prime factor in ecotourism. Also, they should be strict with their general rules and policies. If the core principles of this concept are put into action, it helps to stimulate financial growth in developing nations, which as a result, will strengthen the global economy.
As for travelers, one should initially start with the baby steps of being a responsible explorer. We should be conscious of our choices, and gradually our baby steps will have a more significant impact collectively. Below are some of the ways how you can start being a green traveler.
- While packing your necessities for your trip, do try to pack lightly. Pack reusable bottles and items that can be washed in the sink and quickly dry.
- Water is essential wherever you go! Hence, try and save water by keeping it from running all the time while you are showering, brushing, or doing your laundry.
- Seek out local art and crafts if you are looking for souvenirs.
- Do not litter the trail you walk, and always carry a bag where you can collect your garbage. Also, refrain from craving writing your name on the trees or plants while in the wild.
- Honor the local traditions and respect their culture. You can join in if you enjoy their culture; however, do not make a science contradicting their thoughts.
- Respect your group members and the staff you are traveling with.
- Stay at local and eco-friendly accommodations.
- Since you are adventurous with your destination, try being adventurous with the foods. Try regional cuisines on any chance you get.
- You can use an eco-friendly mode of transportation to reduce your carbon footprint.
The Countries Blended With Ecotourism
Ecotourism has become a sensation worldwide, and every country is moving forward to adapt to this transition. Indeed, governments are stepping forward to boast of their unspoiled, unexplored, and new destinations by human modernization.
Certain governments have stood out the most among various nations with ecotourism concepts. Keep on reading to understand how some countries are managing ecotourism.
With carefully protected nature, Costa Rica is one of the earliest adopters of ecotourism. Also, on multiple occasions, they have been titled the world’s best ecotourism destination, and today, they are the first carbon-neutral country.
Among the Latin American nations, Costa Rice is probably the only country that doesn’t allow hunting. Not to mention, they have enforced strict rules to protect their nature and wildlife. Currently, Costa Rica has 26 National Parks, 32 protected zones, 58 wildlife refuges, 15 wetland areas, 11 forest reserves, and eight biological reserves.
In addition, they also have some of the most beautiful beaches and provide eco-hotels for vacation travelers.
While in Costa Rica, remember these activities.
- Go whale watching in Costa Rican waters.
- Enjoy volcano hopping.
- Visit the coffee plantation area.
- Scuba dive on Caño Island.
It is a country filled with jungle safaris, spacious savannahs, and abundant wildlife roaming in a free land. At the same time, Kenya is one of Africa’s most prominent examples of ecotourism. Altogether, this country provides a diverse ecosystem and wildlife, even beaches, deserts, and rainforests.
All of this natural wealth of Keny has been strictly protected by their laws and the Government and Environmental Organizations. Kenya has the strictest ban on single-use plastics and plastic bags and has also stopped illegal poaching.
Enjoy a jungle safari in the savannah, go for a beach walk, or walk along colorful coral reefs; you will encounter Kenya’s rich flora and fauna. The diverse ecosystem is protected inside its 55 national parks, reserves, and sanctuaries.
While in Kenya, remember these activities.
- Go for a safari in the Great Rift Valley.
- Enjoy horseback or safari in Chyulu Hills.
- Explore that land of Maasai Mara.
- Visit the Meru National Park.
With green valleys and clean, fresh air, Iceland is known as the most sustainable energy user in the world. No wonder they have been the dream destination of every single traveler. They are home to the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, volcanoes, geysers, hot springs like the Blue Lagoon, and lava fields.
So, how do they protect their natural wealth? Most Icelanders walk on foot, ride horses or bikes, and rarely use cars. They are a firm believer in saving energy, which is why they have abundant geothermal energy. Also, they have a great ecosystem where their flowering plains sit right next to the hard rocks, and the hot springs are right next to the glaciers.
Apart from their natural beauty, the locals there are also notable. If you are a traveler, over 150 households are ready to give you accommodation. It does not end here as they offer you warm drinks and tasty cuisines. At times, they might also be up for playing golf or going cycling with you.
While in Iceland, remember these activities.
- Glacier walks and walks around lava fields with a local in the Westman Islands.
- Horse riding in Stora Asgeirsa, Hestaland, and Skeiðvellir.
- Visit the Blue Lagoon.
- Snorkel between two continents, the American and Eurasian.
- Paddle around Stokkseyri.
- Bike in the Icelandic mountains.
In A Nutshell
People worldwide have woken up to nature being both gorgeous and deadly. Taking good care of them will reward us with unexpected positive outcomes, while degrading them will only dig deeper holes for us.
Hence, ecotourism allows travelers to seek and explore nature’s fascinating beauty and teaches them ways to conserve them. Also, this concept includes everyone; the environment, the locals, the travelers, and the tourism industry. Responsible travel’s role is sustainability and the development of the environment, locals, industry, and travelers.
Frequently Asked Questions
The World Tourism Organisation defines ecotourism as all nature-based forms of tourism in which the primary motivation of the tourists is the observation and appreciation of nature and the traditional cultures prevailing in natural areas.
The primary aim of eco-tourism is to minimize the negative dimension of traditional tourism and preserve and enhance cultural and natural integrity. With the Eight highest mountains, rolling hills, diverse wildlife, and vegetation Nepal is a popular tourist destination and the perfect country for eco-tourism.