Eco Tourism : Promoting Nature

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Do you love to travel away from the cities in the lap of nature?Do you love being close to nature without harming it? Do you care about the environment and want to protect it in every possible way? If you love to travel close to nature and if you’re answer to any of the above questions is yes, and then eco – tourism is just for you. A relatively new category of tourism, it is now quickly picking up the pace and has become a fad with the city people, thanks to the over-industrialization of cities and unbearable pollution. Many opt for it to be away from the hustle – bustle of the city. And a part of the tourists that go for eco-tourism are the nature enthusiasts.

Now before moving any further let us try to know that what exactly is ecotourism?

Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” (TIES, 1990).

ecotourismn. … Tourism to areas of ecological interest (typically exotic and often threatened natural environments), esp. to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife; spec. Access to an endangered environment controlled so as to have the least possible adverse effect. (source: OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY).

According to The International Eco-Tourism Society (TIES), eco tourism is based on seven major principles.

SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF ECOTOURISM

Minimize impact.

Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.

Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.

Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.

Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.

Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.

forest

 GROWTH OF ECOTOURISM OVER THE YEARS

From 1990’s there has been a steep growth in eco – tourism that is about 25- 34 % per annum. By 2004, this sector of tourism was growing three times faster than any other sector in tourism.

Ther has been about 20 percent increase in eco – resorts and eco – hotels every year and if experts are to be believed then it can shoot up to 35 per cent in the upcoming few years.

Biodiversity

ECO HOLIDAYING

Eco holidays allows us to explore some of the most stunning and picturesque sites and embrace the beauty of the environment. It allows us to understand the local culture, people, and the habitat and inculcate the feeling of responsibility making us more sensitive towards environment than before without harming the environment in any way.

Knowing what to buy and what not to and how much to pay for the souvenirs can be an issue in some places. Therefore, it is always advisable to do your research about the same to make sure that you are not encouraging trade of endangered flora and fauna unknowingly and unintentionally. Some of the common souvenirs that one should refrain from purchasing are as follows:

Ivory, fur, leather, tortoise shells, corals and sea shells, reptile skin, horns of animals.

PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN

Try to curb the temptation of moving away from the designated tracks as this is not only unsafe but also, you might step on a delicate herb or contribute to the destruction of some endangered species of plant or animal unwittingly. If you are camping or living in huts or tents in the wilderness, it is always advisable to dispose of off all the waste water at least 70 m away from the nearby water body so as to not to contaminate it in any way. Also, refrain from feeding the wild animals out over there as they might become hooked up or addicted to the human food and might start liking the same instead of their natural diet products. Moreover, the animals will become less and less wary of people, and thus, the chances of run over will increase drastically over the years.

Make sure that you dispose of off all the garbage properly to avoid contamination of the surroundings especially at higher altitudes when biodegradation of materials takes much longer time than the usual. The best way to manage garbage is to carry it back with yourself or if you don’t want to carry it around with you then ask your tour guide about the same. Most of the organizations that organise such trips make proper arrangements about the same.  If you are there for a marine trip, then you may click pictures of marine life, but always make sure that you feed and handle marine life in an experts supervision. Also, make sure to not to chase or ride any animal without any permission from the consent authorities. When reef diving or snorkelling, ensure that your equipment is well secured so it won’t drag on the coral and don’t touch any coral as you might damage it by doing the same.

CRTISISM OF ECOTOURISM

While the negative impacts of ecotourism may arguably be less severe than alternative enterprises, they are not totally benign. Ecotourism will be unable to solve many of the environmental problems its proponents believe it can. It also may create problems of its own.

The environmentalists, special interest groups, and governments define ecotourism differently. Environmental organizations have insisted that ecotourism is nature-based, sustainably managed, conservation supporting, and environmentally educated. The tourist industry and governments, however, focus more on the product aspect, treating ecotourism as equivalent to any tourism based in nature. 

Scientists researching the impact of ecotourism have found that even low-impact activities such as hiking and wildlife watching had an impact on the numbers of certain carnivores in the Californian forest. The numbers of bobcats and coyotes seen living in the area dropped dramatically since ecotourism began.
Scientists researching the impact of ecotourism have found that even low-impact activities such as hiking and wildlife watching had an impact on the numbers of certain carnivores in the Californian forest. The numbers of bobcats and coyotes seen living in the area dropped dramatically since ecotourism began.

Marine diversity


Tourism poses a threat to a region’s natural and cultural resources, such as water supply, beaches, coral reefs and heritage sites, through overuse. It also causes increased pollution through traffic emissions, littering, increased sewage production and noise. It has ben observed that after the eco tourism picked up the pace in Australia there has ben a sudden decline in the quantity and quality of reefs over ther as the human presence disturb the natural balance of the reef . 
It might be better to take pictures of animals rather than shoot animals, but given the choice the animals would sooner not have people around. Policing of eco tourism is another matter. Do eco tourist outfits deliver what they promise? 

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