Eco-tourism on the other hand is an entirely different approach. It is more scientific in nature, where not only are you engaging with the natural and cultural environment of an area in the most sustainable way possible, but are also keeping intact the integrity of the region. Conservation is central to ecotourism. This facilitates the protection of the natural habitat while creating economic opportunities for the locals. Education is a major component of eco-tourism.
Benefits of Eco-tourism
- Eco-tourism is usually undertaken in smaller groups for the least possible impact on the natural ecosystem of the destination. These endeavours also support the local areas economically, proving to be truly sustainable in nature.
- By creating such opportunities, and giving them a stable source of income, we can also ensure lesser dependence on natural resources for their livelihood. Furthermore, it can go a long way to stop poaching. The local communities are identified as the key stakeholders here and are provided with equitable benefits from ecotourism in the area.
- Encouraging eco-tourism in naturally sensitive zones can also help boost the protection of endangered species. The economic benefit from such activities can be put to able use for protecting wildlife and implementing policies.
- Costa Rica is a prime example of the preservation of nature whilst encouraging eco-tourism. 25% of this country is covered with natural reserves. And despite being home to the most vulnerable tropical forest, it is the only place in the tropics where deforestation is not practised. Eco-tourism has proven a saviour as it provides foreign currency that is used for preserving the place in its original pristine form.
Read more: Economic Growth and Ecotourism in Costa Rica
With a more ecologically-woke approach setting in on the global platform, international organizations like the United Nations World Tourism Organisation have been promoting eco-tourism since the 1990s. 2002, was declared the International Year of Eco-Tourism when UNWTO undertook several regional conferences and the World Eco-Tourism Summit was held. The conference leads to the formulation of the Quebec Declaration paving the way for tourism that is truly sustainable.
With growing technological intervention, the importance of culture and the need to preserve it is lost on the new generations. Eco-tourism is a great way to explore hidden gems and culturally diverse pockets around the world and help indigenous tribes preserve them. Exploring the various cultures of the world can be a very enriching experience for people seeking educational stimulation.
Connecting with the varied natural environments and cultural ecosystems of the world through such augmenting experiences can turn out to be a great way that sensitizes people throughout the world about preserving them and promoting a sustainable way of undertaking tourism.
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