What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a type of tourism where the main aim is to preserve the natural environment. A lot of the programmes currently on offer provide people with the chance to contribute to local conservations efforts as well as seeing more tourist focused parts of the country. Ecotourism tends to be on a much smaller scale compared to other activities traveling abroad and is usually in more exotic locations.
Why is Ecotourism Becoming Popular?
With cheaper holidays and more direct flights to locations further afield travel as a whole is becoming much more accessible to people in general. By travelling to the country tourists can see first-hand the difference they are making when carrying out their conservation activities. On many trips people have the chance to travel to tropical locations and work with some incredible animals, including those that are endangered or have been rescued. Ecotourism offers people the chance to have a different type of holiday and do something far more exciting than just sitting on a beach for two weeks.
What are the Advantages of Ecotourism?
Ecotourism helps to educate people on the need and importance of conservation in helping to protect wildlife and their habitats. Educating both tourists and people who live locally ensures that these conservation methods will continue to be used, meaning the project will become long term and may even lead to more employment opportunities in the area. Having people from a range of different backgrounds all working together will lead to an increased cultural awareness. Some of the animals that these projects help are endangered and seeing the threats they face means people are more likely to carry on and work towards their protection as they have a greater understanding and empathy towards the cause. And what could be more satisfying than seeing than the buildings you are constructing finally come together?
Are there any Negatives to Ecotourism?
There are some concerns that large numbers of tourists could damage ecosystems if they aren’t fully aware of their surroundings. Furthermore, tensions between visitors and locals could also arise. There is a danger that only the charismatic species are focused on, and the slightly uglier but equally as important species get forgotten.
Overall ecotourism is a fantastic way to encourage people to take an active approach to conservation. If carried out in a sustainable manner, with steps being taken to minimise any disruption as much as possible then this rising industry will make an incredible difference to the protection of natural environments.