travelers can enjoy and learn through ecotourism

by Eric Slarkowski

Nature will be the major beneficiary as ecotourism grows as an industry, because those who take an ecotourism holiday will be helping to preserve the environment as they enjoy themselves. In fact, proponents of this relatively new field know that ecotourism education focuses on how travelers can conserve rather than exploit during their vacation trips.

The idea of environmentally friendly travel has been around for years, but the industry itself is quite new. Over the past 20 or 30 years, ecotourism’s role in elevating social and ecological issues has increased. To put it simply, ecotourism is catching on, with printed information more widely available and organizations forming around the globe.

Early information has focused on plant life and animal life in regions of the world where travelers pursue ecotourism. While much of this information has remained in the hands of a small sector of the population, the ecotourism philosophy is catching on in the general population as well.

As more and more people come to understand the importance of conserving nature rather than exploiting it, the damages to the environment are being avoided and repaired. A large percentage of the general population is now aware of the global warming issue as well as the animal and plant extinction problems worldwide.

In addition, the public is exposed to an increasing amount of information as ecotourism is marketed as an industry. Advertisements and travel seminars spread the word about remote regions of the world that are becoming ecotourism destinations. While these locations will not offer luxury accommodations, golf courses or amusement rides for the children, they will provide relaxation and education, along with the chance to make a difference with this important social issue.

Of course, the local populations of these areas will benefit economically, instead of suffering exploitation of the natural resources. In addition, the unique cultural aspects of local populations will be celebrated instead of marketed as a tourist spectacle. For example, the way Africa’s natural beauty is enjoyed will alter, to become an ideal focus for ecotourism.

Such environmentally and socially friendly holidays will take travelers to an area of the world where the natural world is quite different from any other place. But the emphasis will be on living and moving in this world, leaving it undisturbed, rather than taking pieces of it home or changing it. As many socially conscious travelers know, it is best to take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.

One of the key factors in making ecotourism work is the reduction in number of man-made structures found in these remote and beautiful locations. Fewer buildings and more undisturbed plant and animal life are two goals of ecotourism. Proponents of this philosophy firmly believe that these goals can be reached while providing the local population sufficient revenue for their needs.

As more people learn about the possibilities of ecotourism, these wonderful parts of the world will become more popular as holiday destinations. If pursued sincerely, as a new type of vacation travel, ecotourism can be beneficial to all involved. The local population can thrive while traditions and customs survive. Travelers can relax and enjoy, while learning about, rather than exploiting, the local resources. Most important of all, the environment remains intact, preserved for future generations.

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