Society’s need for nature conservation and sustainability is reshaping the economy as we know it. In the tourism industry, businesses began searching for new ways to be “friendly” towards the environment and communities. That’s how ecotourism started. Here’s what it is and how you can enjoy it.

Ecotourism is just what it says on the tin: ecological travel experiences. It’s an environmentally friendly way for tourists to enjoy — and conserve — the nature and culture of whichever place they visit. In general, the main attractions of ecotourism destinations are their wildlife, plant life and cultural heritage.

Unlike “mass” tourism, ecotourism experiences are meant to be sustainable and respect a place’s natural environment. It’s all about ethics, responsibility and making tourists aware of the impact humans have on our planet.

Also, the proceeds from ecotourism activities don’t only go to the businesses promoting them: unlike in mass tourism, profits can be used to aid local communities, create new forms of employment and subsistence, or fund nature conservation initiatives.

The four maxims of ecotourism

If you’re planning an eco-friendly getaway for your next holiday, keep in mind these four things to choose the right destination and make sure everything you’ll find there is ethical and sustainable.

The focus of ecotourism is to conserve a place’s natural environment. Experiences should enable you to enjoy nature in ways that don’t harm it (which is why ecotourist groups tend to be small).

Coming into contact with natural environments and local communities means learning about them and the challenges they face. These experiences are essential for you to understand the daily life, plants, animals and ways to promote sustainability in the place you’re to visit.  

Ideally, the businesses and people promoting ecotourism in a particular destination will be members of the local community whose experience you can learn from first-hand in order to help conserve their natural environment.

Tourism creates jobs, attracts investment and, ultimately, brings in money that local communities, authorities and organizations can put towards the conservation of nature and local attractions. 

Whether your kind of thing is a sun-soaked beach, a mountain retreat or cultural treasures, it’s important to think of the way your travels will unfold. Ecotourism is a great way for you to see new places and conserve nature and local communities.

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