What Is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is responsible and sustainable travel to natural areas with the intention of conserving the environment and learning about the local culture. This travel practice works towards minimizing the physical, social, and behavioral impact we have on the environment and raising awareness on issues being experienced in these places.
Why Is Ecotourism Important?
In an era where sustainability is a need rather than a trend, ecotourism provides a solution for all. Not only does it sensitize and educate tourists on the culture of locals in a specific area, but it also promotes mindfulness and respect for nature. Because most activities are on foot, ecotourism also helps to reduce our carbon footprint.
Teaching tourists the importance of environmental and cultural conservation is just the start of the mindset shift our society is experiencing. It creates an awareness that proves travelers can experience new things while also appreciating and preserving their surroundings. There have been occurrences in the past where large corporations looking to attract tourists have drastically affected the lives and culture of natives by forcing them to relocate. Ecotourism works on doing the opposite by promoting economic stability and providing jobs and a source of income for locals.
Why Is Ecotourism Becoming More Popular?
Ecotourism continues to rise in popularity due to the immersive experience that it provides. Tourists are able to expand their knowledge of local culture while reducing their impact on the environment, making them feel fulfilled and morally grounded.
Contrary to commercial attractions that might not add a lot of value besides fun, ecotourism provides a deep cultural enrichment that stays with travelers long after their trip. Because the local community genuinely loves their culture and history, visitors are granted an authentic experience every time.
As one of the most popular industries in the world, we have a responsibility to make tourism sustainable if we want to continue to enjoy beautiful destinations in the future.
Ecotourism Activities for Guests
There’s an abundance of interactive and educational activities that guests can partake in when it comes to ecotourism. Here are a few ideas:
- Guided historical tours
- Cycling tours
- Flora and fauna tour
- Rescue programs
Difference Between Ecotourism and Mass Tourism
The main difference between ecotourism and mass tourism is the end goal. Mass tourism aims to attract large groups of people with modern attractions and infrastructure (like all-inclusive resorts) while ecotourism focuses on providing a meaningful and sustainable experience for a smaller group of travelers.
The environmental impact is also drastically different between mass tourism and ecotourism. Mass tourism usually relies on short-term trips while eco-tourists tend to stay for longer periods of time in order to fully absorb the experience. Because mass tourism revolves around an extreme concentration of tourists, it’s highly unlikely that these practices have the intention of preserving the environment and the locals that live there. While you’ll only find a few services and tour operators in ecotourism destinations, there will always be an overflow of services when it comes to mass tourism.
Thanks to our society becoming more conscious and taking the necessary steps to improve, it’s extremely likely that mass tourism will adopt an ecological approach in the future.