Responsible travel provides an alternative to mass tourism. At the same time, responsible travel proponents recognize that even independent travel can create problems, as when, for example, backpackers swarm and overwhelm a locale like Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, immortalized as "The Beach" in the Alex Garland book and the Leonardo DiCaprio film (see References 1). A definition of responsible travel came out of the ...
Ecotourism is a broad term encompassing many types of travel that share the goals of cultural and environmental awareness and respect, minimal environmental impact, and the preservation and betterment of local populations worldwide (see References 1). Many opportunities exist for both vacationing and volunteering. Research the particulars of the organization you intend to patronize or volunteer for, since any ...
Ecotourism is the practice of bringing together sustainable travel practices that promote the conservation of protected natural areas while also benefiting local economies. Ecotourism as a concept began in the 1970s as a part of the larger environmental movement (see References 2). It has now grown into a significant sector of the tourism industry. People planning an eco-vacation can anticipate not only visiting ...
The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people" (see References 1). As such, ecotourism encompasses the interests and needs of a variety of stakeholders, including local communities, travelers and environmental watchdogs.
More Articles on Ecotourism & Travel
"Ecotourism" is a term that describes many types of responsible travel. Common interests of ecotourists include low environmental impact, ecological conservation, respect for different cultures and the betterment of local communities. Types of ecotourism include eco-lodging, agro-tourism, eco-excursions and community development projects, particularly in impoverished areas affected by deforestation and other man-made environmental challenges. Any organization can claim to promote ecotourism. Research individual organizations carefully to determine their integrity.
As a socially responsible person, you probably want to make the world a little better. Even when you travel, you might try to visit undeveloped areas where your tourism dollars can help a local economy thrive. You might even contribute your time to the community as a volunteer. Ecotourism's idealistic goal is to improve the world through responsible travel; while its effects will probably never match its ideals, travelers can offer very real benefits to local communities.
Lodging is one of the more problematic parts of the ecotourism equation---building large, resource-intensive structures in pristine places while attempting to mitigate the effect this might have on the environment is quite the balancing act. However, the challenges inherent in creating ecolodges can result in some inventive designs and innovative uses for local materials and clean-energy technologies. The best ecolodges prove that it is possible to provide accommodations that are comfortable --- even luxurious --- while maintaining a small carbon footprint and supporting initiatives that protect the surrounding natural areas.
Ecotourism appeals to socially and environmentally conscious travelers who desire to visit pristine, remote regions throughout the world. Unlike conventional vacation packages, these tours offer more than a chance to exchange the daily grind for a sandy beach, a fancy nightclub or other "hot spot" where large numbers of tourists tend to gather. In contrast, ecotourism tours provide the opportunity to experience ecological and cultural diversity while creating opportunities to stimulate economic growth in rural communities. (See References 1)
From the Everest base camps littered with discarded oxygen bottles to fragile reefs damaged by tour boat anchors, environments can suffer from the negative impact of careless travelers. If you'd like to explore the Himalayas, the Great Barrier Reef or other world marvels, you can find a sympathetic way to do so without loving the planet to death. Tread lightly on the Earth by taking a more thoughtful approach.
If you visit destinations in the developing world and usually patronize an international hotel chain and its gift shop, your spending, at least in part, supports local jobs, but a share of the profits goes to a distant parent corporation. If you would prefer that more of your tourist dollars --- or pesos, yuan or rupees --- go to support the region's economy, you need to establish relations with local businesses to better direct your spending into the hands of local people.
The majestic peaks of Sagarmatha National Park, better known as Mount Everest, draw thousands of hikers and tourists each year. In the past, heavy foot traffic brought unmanageable amounts of garbage to the mountains, and a lack of transportation and recycling facilities made cleanup a formidable task. A more modern approach, termed ecotourism, unites conservation and sustainable travel with local community members to prevent degradation of fragile habitats. Ecotourism has a quality of trust that builds positive relationships between visitors and their hosts. (See Reference 1)