What Is Ecotourism and Why Is It Helping Our Planet: Pros and Cons
This decade is all about the environment, the planet, and most importantly combating global warming and climate change as well as the devastating effects it has caused. Now that we’re beginning to move our world into one that is more environmentally friendly and renewable so do we have to update, upgrade and change the contents within it. Tourism is one of the world’s biggest economic contributors and is an essential part of the world we live in but on the other hand, it is not the most sustainable way to introduce revenue. Thus ecotourism was born, with s mindset to change the way tourism impacts the environment many sustainable tourism examples have been created and in many cases already implemented for the same enjoyment and less harmful effects.
What Is Ecotourism?
So what does ecotourism mean? To define ecotourism one can say that it is responsible and ethical travel that makes use of natural areas which help to conserve and protect the environment and sustains the well-being of local people within the region, highlighted an educational approach to tourism in a more ecological sense. In sense, ecotourism can be seen as a way of inviting individuals to come and experience the natural and protected areas of a country, city, or place with a focus on the appreciation of the natural properties of such places. The goal or idea is to move away from the big standing mass tourism events and places and rather highlight the more local culture and foster a nurturing approach towards even more beautiful, less-visited areas.
What Is an Ecotourist?
To further understand what ecotourism actually is and what it involves, let’s look at someone who would be classified as an ecotourist. An ecotourist is essentially someone who takes a more responsible approach to travel. Someone who instead of following mass tourism adventures and places, rather opts for visiting natural reserves, experiences both environmental and cultural sides of specific places, travels with the aim of creating a lower environmental impact, is aware of the social, political, and environmental effects of climate change and chooses to financially support regions that are less impacted by tourism and naturally conserved in a vulnerable state.
What Is an Ecotour?
So let’s just say ecotourism is in alignment with your morals and values and is something you would like to experience in your lifetime, what exactly would your vacation look like? The following ecotourism and becoming an eco-tourist so to say will largely entail that you visit sites surrounded by nature, this will mean there is less chance of your travel being organized for you and you’re activities will mostly come from what is offered to you at the very exact moment in time. There will be fewer services and more chances for you to create your own plan, experiencing the aspects of a certain area that interest you the most. An ecotour will most likely see you interacting with the local people in the community and strongly getting involved in their daily cultural and environmental activities. An ecotour may evolve things such as hiking, reef diving, trail exploration, nature observation, and bird watching and will often occur in a much smaller group.
The Ecotourism Pros and Cons
Like anything in life, ecotourism has both advantages and disadvantages. The eco tourism in Costa Rica pros and cons are a great example of the effects ecotourism may have on both the environment and various other industries that are involved in making it happen. Some of the pros and cons of ecotourism include :
- Can protect the local flora and fauna
- Can help sustain ecosystems in a natural way
- Can increase global awareness of environmental issues
- Is educational and can help you improve your personal ecological footprint
- Gives you the ability to explore untouched nature
- Can be helpful and exciting for the locals
- Helps preserve history and ancient knowledge
- Helps support a stable income for the locals
- Can help fight unemployment in local regions
- The income provided can be used to further protect and conserve vulnerbale nature and habitats
- Ecotourism uses sustainable resources
- You get to explore and experience new cultures
- Can help improve the overall infrastructure of less-visited areas
- May disturb local wildlife
- May lead to littering if not managed properly
- Wild animals may become too comfortable around humans
- Ecotourism activities may risk becoming too popular
- Animal souvenirs may be sold
- An ecological imbalance may occur
- Pollution might increase
- Natural tribes and indigenous communities may be forced to leave their homes
As you can see it is most definitely obvious that the pros completely outweigh the cons in this circumstance. When it comes to ecotourism it is most likely to benefit the place and the tourist unless exploited on a mass scale where it then becomes similar to that of conventional tourism. It is important to understand that ecotourism should happen on a small scale and before going or booking a trip one must know and educate themselves on exactly what to expect.
Examples of Ecotourism Activities
As you now know ecotourism involves using the natural resources of a certain area, whether this is mountains, lakes, oceans, nature reserves, safaris, or forests, it is about creating something within what is already there instead of building on top of it. There are so many things and fun activities one can expect to find within the ecotourism industry that will ensure you get to experience nature to the best of its ability and natural beauty. Some great and well-established ecotourism examples include:
Cycling is a great environmentally friendly way of experiencing a city, it lets you be outdoors and often allows you to find hidden gems.
Hiking / Trekking
To discover nature and wildlife, hiking through mountains, valleys, hills, and forests is another wonderful option and gives you an experience like no other.
If you are more into the ocean than the land, then snorkeling is definitely for you, it allows you to experience a country’s marine at your own pace life while having fun too.
Natural parks can be experienced either by foot or mountain bike and are often thrilling adventures in which you visited some of the most unseen and beautiful places on earth.
Some other great ecotourism activities include:
- Flora and Fauna observation
- Safari photography
- Bird watching
The Bottom Line
Not only have you learned about the ecotourism definition but also what it involves and what kind of experience you would expect to find if you were to take the more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to travel. All in all, ecotourism provides a unique experience and often makes for a more hands-on and activity-filled vacation.
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