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In a changing and developing world and the need to protect our planet, ecotourism is becoming a must.
Ecotourism can be defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that preserve the environment, support local people's well-being, and involve interpretation and education."
It is about combining conservation, local communities and travelling in a sustainable way.
We asked a selection of travel bloggers, writers and those in the industry what their thoughts are and also if they implement eco-tourism in their work.
I think it is good that there has been a rise in ecotourism as it proves people still care about nature and other cultures. I fear that it could become too popular and it could ruin the future for nature, wildlife, and the native people.
I personally care a lot for protected lands and people. I think people need to be more aware of these places and how to protect them. I plan to inform others about the importance of taking care of nature, animals, and people.
Life adventures with Vanessa
I think eco-tourism is great and it is becoming more popular. The growth is increasing which is a good thing because it is meant to do good for our planet.
I have not had the chance to practice it but I do try my best not to do much damage to the planet when I travel.
I personally haven’t been involved in eco-tourism, but I can tell the interests for a lot of travellers have spiked over the recent years. Being that I am not an expert on this topic I will have to assume this is because people are becoming more aware of the benefits of eco-tourism and want to actively take part in conserving animals and environments across the world.
I don’t personally practise this ethos, but I am not opposed to it. I feel like the intent is more positive than negative and who wouldn’t feel good about being apart of a positive environmental contribution.
Patrice from Travel Excursion
I have seen significant strides taken to create and promote responsible eco-tourism. Until COVID, the number of destinations and offerings were growing globally. Once travelling resumes, I believe the trend will continue, as an increasing number of travellers seek a deeper connection to the often delicate ecosystems they’re visiting.
Yes. I travel responsibly and pay attention to any impact on wildlife, pristine and fragile environments. In my travel content, I make sure to share these best practices and relay what’s important in visiting these areas while exploring. The whole point of eco-tourism is the experience of wonder and appreciation of these extraordinary natural sites and systems.
Ecotourism is a double-edged sword. It offers a way for people to witness and enjoy nature in unbelievable locations. The downside is, ecotourism often brings some negative sides, even though it is intended to protect and preserve nature. With tourists often come infrastructure, pollution, and overuse of an area. I’ve heard arguments for avoiding places like National Parks with the intention of reducing human impact on the area. This is the idea of applying the concept of the tragedy of the commons. The difference between what you want and what is right can be a hard line to navigate in your heart.
While studying for my master’s degree in environmental sustainability, I spent a lot of time thinking about my place and impact on the environment. I’ve heard compelling arguments from each side, and my perspective changes and grows as time goes on. Personally, I look to find a balance. I consider what will I gain, and at what cost to the environment. If I’m still compelled to visit a location, I try to minimize my impact on its environment and make efforts to improve it while I’m there. I do this by being mindful of where I walk, packing out the trash that I find, and limiting my use of the local natural resources. As a full-time nomad, this balance can become more difficult to achieve, yet it’s easier to become passionate about protecting what’s important.
There is more awareness of eco-tourism in the last few years. However, at the same time, there are more and more people travelling and putting pressure on resources. More travellers are attempting to get off the beaten path, and this results in more demand for infrastructure.
We try to. We practice it by flying less and travelling overland when we can. When we go on a trip, we are not flying in just for two weeks. We fly in and stay at our destination for several months. We prefer slow travel. We prefer spending our time in areas that are undeveloped and undisturbed. We prefer to travel to areas without mass tourism. We don't "have to" visit a place because everyone tells us to and add to the over-tourism. We choose traditional local accommodation instead of the large hotel chains. It allows us to support the local community as well as interact with the locals and learn about the culture.
Further, we try to reduce our energy consumption. We don't use air conditioning, even in the Tropics. We always turn off lights at our accommodation and don't leave our devices charging while we are out. And just as at home, we try to recycle and reuse. Additionally, we often contribute to places where we are staying by helping with cleaning up the grounds and gardening. In Asia, we often find a lot of plastic rubbish on the beach and do our bit by helping to clean up the trash. Our job as travel bloggers is to raise awareness and make travel more sustainable. And one of the significant shifts, since the pandemic, is our desire to learn and then incorporate more information about eco-tourism, responsible, sustainable and alternative tourism.