Ecotourism can loosely be defined as ecologically responsible tourism or ecology promoting tourism. This is a new trend in the tourism industry. The places promoted as ecotourism destinations are usually places that are as yet unvisited by tourists. Such places tend to have a natural ecology and life style retained and as yet untouched by commercialisation by the outer world.
Principles of Ecotourism
The main principles of ecotourism include
Maintaining the pristineness of the place – the place should be affected minimally by the inflow of tourists.
Sensitising the tourists to the local culture and lifestyle – the tourists should be able to feel empathy towards the lifestyle of the local people.
Income generation – the tourism should be able to generate income for the local economy.
Awareness – ecotourism is a good way to bring awareness of the importance to conserve the environment and to find a way back to the retaining the fine ecological system.
Education – ecotourism is good for education in an experiential way. One gets to study first hand many aspects of life.
Factors to protect and promote ecotourism
More and more people are advertising the destinations for ecotourism. However, caution must be exercised for the following:
Keep the tourist inflow restricted – the tourists must not be allowed to come in large numbers to disturb the daily activities of the destination.
Accommodation and food – the accommodation and food cannot be ultra-luxurious otherwise the point of ecotourism is lost. It should merge in with the local setup. Food must use local produce instead of importing expensive ingredients.
Transport – tourists taking a flight, thereby adding to the emissions also goes against promoting ecology. As far as possible the mode of transport, at least connecting to the destination must be able to consider the local ecology and must be environment friendly.
Income generation – the income generated through this tourism should go to the local people rather than add to the tourist resorts or the companies organising such tours of which only a very small portion falls to the locals.
Ecotourism is surely a great way to see the world, only it must be done responsible in the eco-way.