Derived from the word, tourism, ecotourism means, responsible way of traveling to the natural areas. Moreover, ecotourism means the kind of traveling where you support the flora, fauna as well as the local economy. Ecotourism or eco-friendly tourism has attempted to minimize the adverse impact on the environment. Moreover, it has proved to be ecologically sound and avoided the negative impacts of large-scale tourism. Let us read further about eco-friendly tourism and the benefits it has.
Ecotourism Characteristics and Nature
In the mid-1960s, the term ‘ecotourism’ appeared in the Hetzer(1965), who identified the four main principles of responsible tourism. Which were, minimizing environmental impacts, respecting host cultures, maximizing the benefits to local people, and maximizing tourist satisfaction. Within the womb of the environmental movement in the 1970s and 1980s, ecotourism developed.
Seeking solitude with nature, driven by the pressures of urban living have encouraged people to escape to nature. However, eco-friendly tourism has many dimensions to it. Not every form of traveling to the natural areas comes under ecotourism. Therefore, these major points differentiate any nature-based tourism from ecotourism. The activities that depend on nature, which are enhanced by nature and for which the natural setting is incidental.
However, the characteristic of eco-friendly tourism is to travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas. Tourism causes environmental damage. Therefore, ecotourism minimizes the adverse effects of hotels and other infrastructures. Also, ecotourism educates both, the tourist as well as the residents of the host community. It also provides financial benefits for the conservation as well as to the local people, therefore, empowering them. Ecotourism is also less culturally intrusive and exploitative than conventional tourism. Therefore, it teaches you to respect the local culture.
Benefits of Ecotourism
Thanks to cheap flights and accessible infrastructures, it has now become pretty easy to access remote destinations. Moreover, ecotourism has proved to be quite interesting and far more educational than normal tourism. Most importantly, it has helped protect sensitive environment locations and raised awareness on local environmental issues. Two of the major benefits of eco-friendly tourism are- Environmental and Economical.
Environmental Benefit: The most important beneficiary factor that ecotourism provides. It helps protect natural habitats and pristine environments. Natural resources like minerals, forests, and lands for agriculture are the main source of wealth of the poor/under-developed countries. Therefore, exploiting these resources means destroying wildlife habitats and natural landscapes. Therefore, eco-friendly tourism has allowed these countries as well as communities to help build their economy without harming the environment. Also, the wildlife can thrive as well as the tourist can relish these untouched destinations.
Economical Benefit: As poor countries are less likely to have as many job opportunities as other countries, local jobs are their only option. Therefore, with the rise in ecotourism, job opportunities also increase. Buying the local handicrafts and meals can help the host community to thrive too. Which will ultimately result in the overall economic growth of the country.
Pocket Friendly: Going to big cities and staying at big hotels, with eating at expensive restaurants can become quite a big-budgeted vacation. However, ecotourism does not cost as much, comparatively. In such locations, you will get to know the local culture, eat the local specialty which allows you to enjoy your holiday without spending much money.
Eco-friendly Tourism Activities
So, after reading about everything, from nature to benefits, about eco-friendly tourism, we present you with these fun activities that you can enjoy with your friends and family while thinking about ecotourism. However, here are some of the eco-friendly activities to enjoy.
1. Observing the Nature: As the conservation of the environment is the biggest agenda of ecotourism, this could be the first fun activity to do. Plan a day to spend in the womb of nature. Connect with nature and observe the flora and fauna. Night safari or Jungle safari, your choice!
2. Photo Safari: After the jungle safari and night safari, we have got a photo safari for you all. This activity allows you to travel in the jungles and click pictures of free-roaming animals. Therefore, tourists can observe nature as well as ravel amidst the animals and click pictures.
3. Hiking: Well, if you are an adventure junkie, you might already know what this is. Hiking allows you to get closer to the environment, as one generally walks up in the path in nature. However, it can be done with the help of a horse or bicycle.
4. Observing Astronomical Phenomena: Isn’t it wonderful to watch the night sky full of stars? But with all this pollution and the city lights, you do not get a clear night sky. But in the untouched areas, you can relish this clear night sky view. Meteorites, constellations, Starfall or lunar eclipses, you can enjoy these extremely astonishing astronomical phenomena in the womb of nature.
Lately, ecotourism is on the rise. People are escaping in nature after working long hours in the cities. Everyone needs to slow down once in a while and rejuvenate themselves. Well, nature does that very well for you. And, with the easy access to such remote areas, people are now opting for these little getaways every once in a while. However, ecotourism has provided the opportunity to immerse into the natural world in an enjoyable and effective manner. Which has resulted in greater compassion and better stewardship of the world’s remaining natural wonders.