Ecotourism

In recent years it has become difficult to distinguish ecotourism from nature tourism, sustainable tourism, wildlife tourism, adventure tourism and how it relates to other forms of tourism. In nature tourism the attraction and the enjoyment comes from nature and the natural environment. Ecotourism is a sub-segment of nature based tourism along with adventure tourism and wildlife tourism. What distinguishes ecotourism is the inclusion of an educational aspect or sustainable management.

Ecotourism is a more strict form of nature tourism where education and sustainability are used as components to create an ethical experience for the consumer. Ecotourism can be described as a more sustainable form of nature based tourism that primarily focuses on experiencing and learning about nature. It is managed to be low impact, non-consumptive and locally orientated. It typically takes place in natural areas and should contribute to the conservation and preservation of those areas.

Lapland, Finland

Lapland, Finland

It can be predicted that ecotourism will see continued strong growth as it is seen as self-reinforcing, as people experience something new, exciting or scary they might create an interest to explore more powerful experiences. Ecotourism is generally small scale which helps to reduce the negative environmental and cultural impacts, this also guarantees unique experiences. As activities have little impact on the environment and are largely unproblematic from a cultural perspective a large share of nature tourism fulfills the criteria for ecotourism.  Now, we can notice a growing trend in ecotourism as it is increasingly offered in a wide variety of locations and creates new products strategically marketed to create new markets.

Generally there is a greater awareness of the environment and its issues that include pollution, deforestation and global warming. Governments and environmental organisations are taking these issues seriously at both a national and international level. People’s interest in these issues has changed accordingly and they want to engage in nature or ecotourism and partake in activities that have a benefit to the local environment.

Due to this increased awareness it has become easier to manage protected areas as people understand the need for this action. To promote eco-friendly tourism it is important that there is a development in partnerships between tourism, environmental and community interests. These partnerships need to have a shared understanding in the processes and the benefits in producing eco-friendly tourism.

When you travel is preserving the environment and local surroundings important to you? What experiences have you had as an ecotourist?

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