The Concept Of Ecotourism And Its Benefits
When you think of Eco-Tourism, what comes to mind? Green… Minimal… How do we travel with a conscious heart and be able to minimize our impact to the precious Earth we call home? How do we take it all in, but also give back. You can call it as you like; green traveling, sustainably traveling or environmental and cultural friendly traveling. Eco-Tourism has many different names, but they all have one similar goal. Eco-Tourism consists of the words ecological and tourism. There many definitions and various concepts. According to the Internal Eco-Tourism Society, “Eco-Tourism is responsible travel to nature areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” It is hard to point out what Eco-Tourism constitutes, since every project has its own focus. Cultural exchange is a common core aspect as well as environmental protection and preservation of biodiversity. Other concerns are livelihood and the strengthening of human rights. Many villages receive support from local or foreign NGO’s, and specialized staff provides knowledge and future oriented ideas. As every Eco-Tourism location is different, the accommodation differs as well. To name some examples, there are eco-lodges, treehouses, home stays, hammocks or tents.
Economically Eco-Tourism creates jobs locally, and the need for young people to leave home to work in cities is reduced. Nearly everyone can participate by being a tour guide, providing accommodations, taking part in cultural performances and more. Communities can consolidate their financial status due to entrance fees, a program or accommodation cost. In addition their earnings are stabilized since they have a diversified economy. Everyone profits from Eco-Tourism because of the shared income in the community. In terms of the infrastructure, new streets and schools can be built. As well as health centers, drinking water resources and electricity. In best case scenario, Eco-Tourism will train locals with new skills and expand their opportunities. Due to responsible tourists, Eco-Tourism has no negative impact on the environment. A common activity is tree planting to grow rare trees in the projects region to increase the population. The surrounded nature is protected because of the establishment of national parks, marine parks or wild life sanctuaries. Due to protected areas, biodiversity is sheltered and wild animals can remain into their natural habitat. Communities often sell their resources such as water, trees, minerals or wildlife if they do not earn enough money. In addition forests are cut down to create farms. Eco-Tourism is sustainable alternative to these problems. In many Eco-Tourism projects, renewable energy resources, water conservation schemes, recycled material and a safe waste disposal is used. Moreover most participants cook with local and organic food.
Concerning the culture, Eco-Tourism projects have a high standard to protect customs. The local culture is not exploited or commercialized, so that traditions and the regions heritage is preserved. Locals have the chance to present their culture performances of customs and let you take part in it. Not only do the communities benefit from it, but you do as well. It is ensured that the money spend won’t go to the sometimes corrupt governments. See un-spoilt nature and learn more about the condition of the environment while trekking. As a side effect you will find beautiful landscapes and calm relaxing places. Take a break from the crowded and loud cities. Simultaneously you can reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment. Eco-Tourism projects are sensible to the environment and animals in contrast to mass tourism. Animals are not unfairly caged, so you can see them in their natural habitat.
In Terms of cultural aspects, you get an authentic picture of a location and learn about their lifestyle first hand to get a deeper understanding of their culture. Get an insight view of their prospects and desires. Sometimes you get the opportunity to sleep in villages with hosts in their homestays. Take part in activities such as ceremonies, dancing or cooking classes. Enjoy the different varieties of music and style of dress that you will be introduced to during your travels. Ask souvenirs from craft producers, or even learn to do it yourself in handicraft workshops. See the world from a different angle and get new perspective by exchanging with the locals. It is a triangle of sustainability which includes economic vitality, environmental integrity and social equity. These three parts are always taken into account in sustainable projects. All these facets are the reasons why Eco-Tourism is such a sustainable concept that brings joy, financial security and unforgettable moments. Everyone can participate. You can travel alone, with friends, with your partner or even with children. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or stay overnight if you don’t want to. Every project is different and so are the travelers. You are responsible for the projects you choose. Whether you fit into the activities and the accommodation of not. But don’t forget, you get to try something new and widen your horizon. Eco-Tourism gives us a completely different view of the world and challenges us to open our minds to different ways of thinking. The concept of Eco-Tourism includes great possibilities and derives positive experiences for both visitors and locals. It builds environmental and cultural awareness and respect. Travel green and have unforgettable experiences. Encourage others to take care while travelling. Raise awareness about the culture, the people, their history and the environment. Inform yourself about the Eco-Tourism places you want to visit, they are all over the world.
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