Green travel: principles and benefits of ecotourism
Travel with the environment in mind, following these easy tips to travel in an eco-friendly way!
Ecotourism and responsible travel probably weren't talked about when you were young. We may have looked at the carbon footprint of nations, but did we question our individual impact? Conservation, sustainable travel, and environmental responsibilities fall on all our shoulders. Becoming an eco-friendly traveler doesn't mean you have to cycle everywhere. Sustainable and green travel is about understanding the environmental impact of our behavior. With that understanding, we can change the way we travel for the benefit of the planet. Green travel and ecotourism will open you up to amazing travel experiences you've never imagined. Traveling this way means you'll know you're doing your bit for our beautiful world. Keep reading to find out what ecotourism is and why being a green traveler is so important.
Photo by Juan Mendez
What is ecotourism?
Many people still don't quite understand what ecotourism entails. Ecotourism is a type of green travel that aids the conservation of fragile regions, environments, and communities. It's a form of sustainable tourism that has far more purpose than simply going to a destination. Ecotourism brings in travelers for the direct benefit of wildlife, natural areas, and the people who live there. Many green travelers find significant satisfaction and fulfillment during their journeys in ecotourism.
Photo by Reign Abarintos
Principles of ecotourism
The International Ecotourism Society has created a set of principles to deepen understanding of this type of travel. These principles guide budding ecotourists into sustainable travel. The principles include:
Minimizing impacts on fragile regions
Providing financial benefits for conservation and the local people
Respecting local rights and beliefs
Photo by Oziel Gómez
Types of ecotourism
There are several types of ecotourism. This is an evolving sector of sustainable travel though, and no two trips are the same. Specific companies and charities often organize ecotourism trips for ethical travelers. There are some ways in which you can embark on ecotourism trips by yourself too.
Photo by Archie Binamira
Agrotourism is a type of sustainable tourism that puts you in the heart of rural farming communities. These are communities who may be struggling with difficult conditions. They tend to live off the land and, as an ecotourist, you could be helping out with farming activities. This type of ecotourism is a fantastic way to get an in-depth understanding of how more fragile communities live and how to help them.
Photo by Ray Sangga Kusuma
2- Community development tourism
Many communities in disadvantaged nations are suffering. The onslaught of modernization is changing their way they live. As industrialization, often by foreign companies, takes over local resources and threatens livelihoods, local communities are in need of help. Turning your ecotourism trip into a volunteer trip allows you to help these communities. Voluntary work includes building much-needed facilities, learning about their culture, and spreading awareness.
Photo by Vicki Gordon
3- Eco trekking trips
Tropical rainforests make up around 6% of the planet's surface but they house over half the world's land-based species. These extraordinary forests, full of wildlife and plants, help fight climate change too. Sadly, millions of hectares are being destroyed each year with catastrophic consequences. Eco trekking trips take place all over the world and often in rainforests. Ecotourism based in these fragile ecosystems can help bring much-needed money into the local area to help support conservation efforts. By using ethical ecotourism companies for these trips, you can learn about the local wildlife, conservation issues, and help spread awareness about the damage.
Photo by Archie Binamira
Why is responsible travel so important?
Our planet might be large and diverse but we are all affected by what goes on in places we can't see. When we travel for ourselves only, we pollute the planet and disregard struggling communities. Responsible travel like ecotourism is important because it changes the flow of money. Instead of paying huge travel companies and tour operators who don't give back to the local area, ecotourism profits go where they're needed. By staying in rural villages and spending money with charitable conservation organizations, your money is making a positive impact.
Photo by Ethan Hu
Benefits of eco-friendly travel
The benefits of ecotourism and eco-friendly travel are enormous. If you want your vacation to have a positive impact on the world, green travel is the way forward. Even off-the-beaten-track destinations in the U.S. can be ecotourism as money goes to National Parks and small communities.
Photo by Annick Vanblaere
1. Wildlife conservation
Wildlife conservation is of vast importance to animals as well as the ecosystem as a whole. This type of conservation aims to protect animals and the habitats in which they live. When we destroy animal habitats, we can see the effects throughout the world. Species populations change when humans hunt predators and the destruction of forests is partially responsible for climate change. By supporting wildlife conservation through ecotourism, you can help reverse the damage.
Photo by Avel Chuklanov
2. Supporting local communities
In our rush to build better technology and bigger cities, we have overlooked small, rural communities that have a different way of life. Modernization has harmed small communities and indigenous cultures just like wildlife. Engaging in ecotourism can help bring much-needed skills and labor to these communities. Ecotourism can enable them to continue living by their cultures and beliefs.
Photo by John Cameron
3. Reducing environmental damage
Travel has become cheaper but often at the expense of the environment. By choosing ecotourism for your vacations, you can help to reduce environmental damage and give back to the planet. Ecotourism usually operates in regions that exist in a simpler way with naturally low carbon footprints. By embracing this way of living and learning about how communities live without cars, excess plastic, and other pollutants, you can take life-changing knowledge home with you.
Photo by VisionPic.net
Embrace ecotourism and become a proud green traveler
We are all becoming more aware of how our travel and vacation choices affect the rest of the world. There are sustainable, green choices you can make though. Ecotourism is a way of traveling that's better for the planet. It lets you get involved with communities and conservation projects that do good. From wildlife conservation to helping communities at risk, you can enjoy eco-friendly travel on every vacation. We only have one planet and are all responsible for the environmental impact we make. Check out our other travel blogs to find more articles on exploring the world and being a part of the global community.