Ecotourism is a new term that is becoming more popular every day. The word itself suggests that it has something to do with the environment and travel, which is true. However, there is a lot more behind this powerful new phrase.
This fascinating trend is revolutionizing how we think about travel and is influencing the wider tourism industry.
Let’s take a closer look so we can better understand what ecotourism is and why it’s an important and influential trend.
What Ecotourism Is
Ecotourism is a practice for traveling responsibly. It often involves traveling to natural environments and involving oneself in supporting conservation efforts that help both the environment and local people.
Ecotourism is about mindfully traveling. It is the act of practicing mindful choices about how your travels will impact the environment.
Many ecotourists incorporate practices that better educate them about how tourism affects the environment and local people in the destinations they visit.
A practicing ecotourist works to minimize the impact of their travels on the environment while turning their visit into a positive experience for themselves and the local people.
Why Ecotourism Is Important
There are many reasons why sustainable travel is so important. Some benefits of ecotourism are more obvious than others.
The first benefit is that sustainable tourism lowers your carbon footprint. Travel will always make your footprint much larger, just from flights alone, so this is a considerable concern. In recent years, we’ve become more aware of how the tourism industry has had a negative impact on the environment. While traveling, it’s common for people to use more single-use plastic items, like plastic cutlery, water bottles, and straws. There are also factors like the waste of hotel rooms, plane travel, buses, and an excess of consumption. A lot of these seem to be essential elements of travel or are part of the fun of a vacation. Ecotourism is about having fun on vacation while still respecting nature and taking care of the planet.
A benefit that is often overlooked is how ecotourism can better promote economic stability in the location you’re traveling to. Tourist attractions do not always give back to the local communities, the people who most need income from this industry. When this happens, it can destabilize the local community, forever changing their economy, often for the worst. When you visit smaller, local attractions, you spend your money in a way that has a positive impact while having unique travel experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Ecotourism leads you off the beaten path to travel experiences that go a step further than what you’re used to. Instead of visiting a common location, like London or Paris, where tourism is producing a lot of waste, you are more likely to visit a place where your tourist dollar can be put toward conservation efforts and helping local communities. This leads travelers to more exotic locations.
Ecotourism is often referred to as sustainable tourism, which is another benefit. As we look forward to the future, creating long-term travel practices that benefit tourists and locals alike will create a sustainable industry for everyone involved.