The Ethics Behind Ecotourism | What does ecotourism mean, anyway? Here’s a look at the founding principles to help you learn about this increasingly popular way to travel.
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), a non-profit organization committed to promoting sustainable tourism, states that ecotourism unites conservation and communities with sustainable travel. With that being said, they offer six core principles of ecotourism that vacationers should follow:
- Minimize impact
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people
- And raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate
By promoting these principles, TIES has produced a common worldwide goal for ecotourism that creates a win-win situation for everyone. Not convinced? Below are ecotourism’s main benefits.
Ecotourism Supports Conservation
Ecotourism offers the opportunity to help protect and maintain our planet. Beginning with responsible travel, sustainable tourism promotes green practices such as recycling and using organic products. There are also many environmental programs and initiatives made available so that people can get involved with sustainability. For example, in Kenya, tourists can get involved with the Basecamp Foundation, which has a monitoring program for big cats and elephants. These kinds of experiences try to demonstrate the positive impact of tourism and teach tourists about the significance of maintaining the environment. However, the simple act of being a tourist in a fragile, natural area helps a great deal, as the money spent there assists in raising funds to protect those areas for generations.
Ecotourism Supports Local Communities
Sustainable tourism supports local communities by allowing their economy to grow. Tourism alone employs a large number of local staff. This in turn empowers communities to fight against poverty and encourages the support of local events, festivals, and organizations. As a result the community and its local businesses thrive.
Ecotourism Supports Social & Cultural Awareness
Not only is ecotourism an environmentally fun experience, but it’s also educational. By embarking on an ecotourist vacation, people gain an awareness and understanding of the social and economic conditions of the place they visit. In addition, vacationers learn to appreciate the area’s environment through conservation and also to respect the culture of the local people. While tourists are normally unaware of a country’s poverty or ill conditions, ecotourism strives to expose tourists to the realities of these areas.
Ecotourism Helps You Gain a Rewarding Experience
Ecotourism is a new holiday experience that mixes together vacation fun with conservation and education. Sustainable tourism creates environmentally aware individuals and helps develop their appreciation of nature and local culture. Not only do vacationers go home with new knowledge, but also a worthwhile experience.