Ecotourism embodies an effort to travel to pristine, protected areas in a low-impact, small-scale manner. Ecotourism also focuses on an attempt to educate the traveler, provide funds for conservation, directly benefit local economic development, empower local communities and inspire respect for different cultures and human rights.
There are many different aspects to take into consideration when it comes to responsible ecotourism. Responsible ecotourism works to minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism and travel on the environment while enhancing the cultural integrity of the local people. This means that ecotourism is not only about the travel location, it should include environmental and cultural factors along with the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency and water conservation.
If you are planning a responsible ecotourism trip, it is very important to plan carefully and approach every decision with an eco-friendly attitude. EnviroCitizen.org has created a list of the top ten things we feel are most important when considering different travel options :
- Involving Local Communities : the full involvement of local communities in the tourism sector not only benefits the community and the environment, but also makes the trip more authentic.
- Marketing Tourism Responsibly : marketing that provides tourists with true and valuable information increases respect for the natural, social and cultural environments of destination areas.
- Undertaking Research : on-going research and monitoring by the industry using effective data collection and analysis is essential in problem solving and continual improvement.
- Use of Sustainable Resources : the conservation and use of sustainable resources—natural, social and cultural—is crucial and makes long-term business sense.
- Reducing over-consumption and waste : reduction of over-consumption and waste avoids the costs of restoring long-term environmental damage and contributes to the quality of tourism.
- Consulting Stakeholders and the Public : consultation between the tourism industry and local communities, organizations and institutions is essential if they are to work together and resolve or prevent conflicts of interest.
- Training Staff : staff training which integrates sustainable tourism into work practices, along with recruitment of local personnel at all levels, improves the quality of the overall experience.
- Maintaining Diversity : maintaining and promoting natural, social and cultural diversity is essential for long-term sustainable tourism and creates a resilient base for the industry.
- Integrating Tourism into Planning : tourism development, which is integrated into a national and local strategic planning framework and which undertakes environmental efforts, increases the long-term viability of tourism and supports a healthy Earth.
- Supporting Local Economies : tourism that supports a wide range of local economic activities and which takes environmental costs and values into account, both protects those economies and avoids environmental damage.
If you are interested in planning a responsible ecotourism trip, consider looking into some of beautiful, eco-friendly destinations and green resorts featured by EnviroCitizen.org.