Sustainability of Environmental Tourism, Eco Tourism
In recent years and partly attributed to so much press coverage about pollution and global warming, Ecological friendly tourism or “Ecotourism” has become an increasing phenomenon; more and more people are opting to visit natural and undiscovered places around the world, where the flora, fauna and natural resources are the main attractions. The main magnetism of an Eco Friendly holiday is the respect to the environment, plants and what many people consider, contributing to the rescue of the earth from pollution, contamination, man-made disasters and others; the beauty of this type of holiday is to be able to visit outstanding natural landscapes with phenomenal scenery.
Ecotourism is not intended uniquely to explore areas of outstanding natural beauty, for example: The Angel Falls in Venezuela (largest waterfall in the world) but also to practice tourism in a different way: caring and protecting the environment; the concept also includes visiting exceptionally stunning and protected areas, many of them (flora and fauna) are at risk of extinction, partly blamed for years and years of use and abuse or simply for the delicate environment in which they are located; a good example is the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
The attraction of this relatively new and often criticised form of travelling does not only attracts people who love exploring exotic locations and care about the environment at the same time but it also catch the attention of volunteers with a passion for educating, protecting and to the best of their capacities care for the flora en fauna of the area; the volunteers normally travel for a specific period of time with a clear understanding and a well-defined idea of the tasks to perform, the location is generally an ecological fragile setting and part of their daily activities could include looking after the surrounding of the area affected by a natural disaster, lack of maintenance and protection that normally includes unscrupulous people (e.g.: exploitation of the Amazon Forest,) caring for the local people or animals at risk of extinction, many disasters caused by companies (e.g.: oil spills) are also part of the program.
Characteristics of Ecotourism
Ecological conservation is usually misunderstood and exploited as a marketing tool; this is one of the reasons why Martha Honey, in the 2008 publication “Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise?” describes the main characteristics of what could be considered as Ecotourism. These are:
- Involves travel to natural destinations
- Minimizes impact
- Builds environmental awareness
- Provides direct financial benefits for conservation
- Provides financial benefits and empowerment for local people
- Respects local culture
- Supports human rights and democratic movements
Ecotourism makes a direct allusion to the ecological and socio-cultural concerns of the world, but participating in a more active way by building environmental concerns and provide benefits to the area visited; the main objective is to contribute in a direct way to the preservation and conservation of the environment and stop the practice of unscrupulous people taking advantage of natural resources and destroying our world.
Top 5 Eco-Travel Destinations
1) South and Central America
3) South Africa