Ecotourism or ecological tourism is the tourist activity that takes place without altering the balance of the environment and avoiding damage to nature. This is a trend that seeks to reconcile the tourism industry with ecology.
Ecotourism is linked to a sense of ethics since, beyond the enjoyment of the traveler, it tries to promote the well-being of local communities (tourism recipients) and the preservation of the natural environment. Ecotourism also seeks to encourage sustainable development (that is, current growth that does not harm future possibilities).
Ecotourism aims to minimize the environmental impact of tourism activity.
The growth of ecotourism
The boom in recent years of ecotourism has been due to several causes, among them, fundamentally the fact that it is cheaper than any other type of tourism. This is an element that has led many people, taking into account the situation of global economic crisis that is being experienced, to bet on it to enjoy a vacation without having to make a significant monetary outlay.
But it is not the only advantage of that, there are also others such as the following:
– It allows you to discover natural and rural corners of great value and beauty.
– It gives the opportunity to live in full contact with Nature and, therefore, get away from the hustle and bustle and pollution of big cities.
– It is ideal to relax and rest.
– It allows tourists who bet on it to carry out endless outdoor activities such as hiking trails, horseback riding, climbing…
And all this without forgetting either that ecotourism gives the possibility for small rural towns to boost their economy and earn money to support themselves and take care of their environment, both environmental and architectural and ethnographic.
Ethics is the pillar of ecotourism. According to Abbreviationfinder, IYE stands for International Year of Ecotourism.
Respect for nature and the human being
The principles of ecotourism suppose respect for the culture of the host country, the minimization of the negative impact caused by the tourist activity and the support of human rights. An ecotourist, for example, should not buy a product that was obtained through the use of child labor.
In this sense, we could establish that in many towns that have developed ecotourism as a way to stimulate their economy, curious proposals are offered for the visitor who arrives willing to enjoy it. Specifically, for example, he is made a participant in traditions in terms of agriculture and livestock, hence he is taught how to carry out tasks such as cultivating, plowing the land, milking a cow or taking the different cattle to graze.
Despite the boom in ecotourism, there is no clear regulation in this regard. There are those who include in ecotourism any tourist activity that involves contact with nature, something that is wrong since many of these excursions cause serious damage to the ecosystem.
Mass tourism is harmful almost in its very essence, since it involves traveling on airplanes that pollute, the use of hotels that are usually built in natural places (facing the sea, for example) and the generation of a large mass of waste that are not always treated correctly, among other problems. That is why many specialists consider that true ecotourism should be a minority, which does not imply that a more responsible tourism industry can be developed.