Exploring Eco-Tourism: A Guide For Responsible Travel

As more people look to lead more responsible lifestyles, they are increasingly embracing eco-tourism.

Eco-tourism or as it is sometimes referred to as sustainable travel is all about traveling to natural areas that sustain the well-being of the local people, conserve the environment, and encourage education.

It is a kind of tourism whereby visitors venture into the natural world and witness the true beauty of a specific country or place. For example, visitors may travel to areas where cultural heritage, fauna, and flora are the primary attractions. Eco-tourism involves traveling low impact, educating tourists, and helping them better connect with and appreciate natural habitats.

Usually, this form of tourism benefits the local people but also the environment. It may seem like a new concept in this wave of environmental champions, but eco-tourism has been around for some time now. Some credit the term to Hector Ceballos-Lascurian. He considered eco-tourism to surround traveling to undisturbed areas to enjoy culture and natural beauty.

Hector was such a promoter of responsible tourism that he founded ECOTOURS, Mexico’s first-ever eco-tourism agency. He also served as an Eco-tourism Advisor to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the United Nations World Tourism Organization for several years. Others claim it was Claus-Dieter Hetzer who claimed the term.

He was an adventurer and academic from the Forum International Berkeley USA. Claus was also thought to have run the very first eco-tours in Yucatán in the early 1970s. Despite who initially coined the term and paved the way in defining it, eco-tourism has been influenced by many and is one of the quickest-growing tourism sectors within the industry.

Eco-tourism is built on the idea of bringing communities together, travelling more sustainably, and promoting education and conservation. The practice of eco-tourism has many benefits for the tourist and the environment. Travelling sustainably means using renewable and natural resources.

By using these resources, you can protect the environment from the adverse effects of traditional travel. Think of eco-tourism as leaving a destination better than when you found it. With eco-tourism, you will spend your money at local businesses. These businesses are the heart of communities and add much personality to a destination. By supporting these local businesses, you support the local economy.

Responsible travel allows tourists to educate themselves on environmental issues. You may pick up various ways to be that bit more eco-friendly in your own life and take these tips home with you. So how can you be that more eco-conscious when going on exciting adventures abroad?

It is important to remember that ecotourism begins even before you jump on your flight. Before you do anything else, you should research to see what destinations are the most progressive concerning eco-tourism. For instance, you may come across a hotel that boasts a biophilic design.

This kind of design combines buildings with nature to ensure a strong connection with the natural environment. Being an eco-tourist is not just about the hotel you stay in; you should also look for countries and cities that are implementing positive initiatives to promote eco-tourism. For instance, cities that are championing biodiversity.

Take Ecuador, for example, The Galapagos Islands, where nature looks as though it has never been touched. Another example of an eco-tourism location is wildlife refuges. Limiting your ecological impact is a major part of eco-tourism, and these sanctuaries are a fantastic way to support wildlife conservation and educate yourself simultaneously.

Another tip for responsible traveling is to try and use green transportation methods where possible. With travel being a large source of energy demand, you can make a real difference by cycling, getting public transport, or walking. It is also important to remember that eco-tourism presents a prime opportunity to increase cultural awareness as well.

Learn local customs, eat the local food, support small businesses, and try to get the most out of your travels while being mindful. Is there an eco-tourism sight you would love to visit? Maybe you have already visited some and are a fully-fledged eco-tourist. Let us know in the comments below.

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