EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ECO-TOURISM ( & WHY IT'S IMPORTANT)
If you've traveled in the past few years, you're likely to have come across a term "eco-hotel""eco-resort" or "eco-tourism" . Although it sounds nice to try & put you at ease when booking your next holiday, what does it mean really? & is there a need for it?
Tourism as an industry has grown exponentially in the last century due to the increase in the ease of air travel with lower costs, combined with the increase in the amount of disposable incomes of people. Travelling to places that were unimaginable 3 generations ago, are now merely hours away. But all this travelling comes at a cost, one that people rarely talk about.
By 2050, the UN predicts that tourism will generate an increase of 154% in energy consumption, 131% in greenhouse gas emissions, 152% in water consumption and 251% in solid waste disposal. With the current planetary situation in regards to climate change, those numbers are worrying.
Every business in tourism, from hotels to cafes, has a role to play - & that is why an emphasis on sustainability is needed. As a traveller, understanding the major impact of tourism on the environment is the first step to understanding a sustainable way forward.
Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people, it involves interpretation and education". Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel together with amazing experiences, which can often be closer to home.
The main principles of ecotourism are:
Minimize physical, social, behavioural, and psychological impacts.
Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.
It is fast becoming a trend & rightly so. More & more, conscious people around the globe are trying to find ways to make their holidays "guilt-free" - & honestly, some of those tips can also help you save some money along the way!
Whether you learn ways to become a sustainable traveller or start visiting hotels & other businesses which are making an attempt to become more eco-friendly, there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint while still enjoying a break from your daily life!
Many countries rely heavily on tourism and transitioning to ecotourism is difficult so it is important to show your vote of confidence by supporting such businesses. You can make it easier for many businesses by being aware and learning as much as you can before you travel.
Don’t take shortcuts because it might seem easier. Be a conscious traveller because the future of tourism is in the choices you make!