Environment · Travel

Understanding the Concept of “Ecotourism”

I believe that Travelling contributes to the growth of a person. Aside from learning new things, visiting new places and meeting new people, it’s the immersion in another culture that helps us get to know more about ourselves. It opens an intimate connection with the world we live in. Wherever I go, I never fail to remark on how big this world we live in and how beautiful Earth is.

Now, on a more serious note. I would like to ask you if you have heard of the word “Ecotourism”? If yes, what makes it different from “Tourism”? These are simple questions but I feel like I have the responsibility to show you a deeper perspective of these terms.

Tourism is generally defined as a travel from one’s home to another with the purpose of visiting places of interest. The purpose may be for leisure, business, entertainment, etc. Tourism is also a way for countries to generate income from tourists.

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), “Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening ‎diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. ‎Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number ‎of new destinations.”

It’s considered to be an “economic and social phenomenon”. More people are able to travel to different destinations because it became accessible through affordable airfares and promotions from the social media.

There are different classifications under Tourism but nowadays, there’s a new concept being introduced called “Ecotourism”. It falls under Tourism but focuses on responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improves on the well-being of local people. The latter means through responsible travel, a person can also contribute to respect for the locals of the area and promote their culture.

 According to Ecotourism.org, the key principles of Ecotourism are:
  • Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts

Ecotourism is about going to places where we can appreciate nature’s raw beauty like beaches, forests, lakes, etc. As traveler, I am able to practice ecotourism through simply appreciating an early mountain hike which leaves no harm to the environment, encouraging people to recycle waste or even better- practice Zero Waste!

Ecotourism aims to set a trend for travelers to visit ecological areas but only leave footprints and memories without causing damage to the environment. It encourages people to go back and be one with nature.

In a nutshell, Ecotourism aims to create “minimal impact” to areas been visited but at the same time, it builds environmental knowledge and promotes cultural awareness. So, why should we practice and encourage Ecotourism? Well, we are envisioning a community united because of a common practice- to protect and conserve the Environment. It helps promote a lifestyle where we leave a smaller carbon footprint wherever we go.

I hope this helped you understand the difference between Tourism and Ecotourism. So, now that you’ve read how important Ecotourism is in conserving our environment, I hope you choose to be an Ecotourist!

Read the next blog post discussing how you can be a responsible Ecotourist!

*Featured image not mine*
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