Benefits of Ecotourism
Ecotourism is growing in popularity with 35% of holidaymakers now likely to book an eco-friendly vacation, Global Data reports. Ecotourists travel to beautiful locations with unspoiled natural resources to see wildlife in their natural setting and learn about the ecosystems, traditions, and cultures of the local community. Sightseeing certain species generates money which can be used in conservation efforts to protect the survival of those species. Ecotourism also benefits the local community as it provides employment and revenue without harming the local environment.
Protects wildlife and environment
To keep wild animals thriving in their original habitats, it’s important to support — and not harm — those habitats. Ecotourism was recently found to provide the critical difference between survival and extinction for endangered animals in a study from Australia’s Griffith University. Ecotourism encourages private reserves, habitat restoration, reduction with habit damage, removal of feral predators, and anti-poaching measures. It also allows poor countries to boost their economies without harming the environment. Natural resources (forests, minerals, and land) often generate income in poor countries, which also, unfortunately, results in changing or completely destroying wildlife habitats and natural landscapes. Alternatively, ecotourism protects the local environment and wildlife, so locals and ecotourists can enjoy untouched destinations.
Ecotourists make a positive impact on local communities by providing income for ecotourism site staff and also supporting local businesses (such as, locally-owned hotels). Extra income also allows workers to in turn buy local goods and services or start their own businesses. Additionally, ecotourism companies offer employees training in useful skills. Equipped with new skills, locals then have the freedom to move into other types of employment — potentially earning a higher wage. To make sure you’re supporting the local community, it’s important to check your hotel or lodge employs local people.
Eco-friendly travel benefits the environment, wildlife, and the local community, but it also has personal advantages for the individual. You’ll see amazing wildlife, strengthen your understanding of other cultures, and learn how to protect the environment — a responsibility each one of us shares. Being an ecotourist can give you a newfound sense of responsibility which empowers you to live more sustainably at home. Additionally, travelers learn more efficient ways of supporting local communities by buying local produce, services, and goods (instead of handing out free gifts like toys, games, and stationery). Moreover, you’ll also be motivated to increase awareness of the importance of ecotourism when your back home by spreading the message to your friends, relatives, and colleagues.
Ecotourism is a life-changing experience which offers widespread benefits. It’s vital, however, to go through a trustworthy organizer to ensure a high standard of ethical and conservational practice. Through visiting locations of breathtaking natural beauty, seeing beautiful animals in their native habitats, and spending time with members of local communities, ecotourists can learn about the importance of conserving the environment and minimizing waste. Once you experience ecotourism for yourself, it’ll spark a passion within you for conservation and sustainable living.
Looking for more? Read about these 5 popular volunteer vacations that protect wildlife.