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What is ecotourism?

What is ecotourism?

Are you familiar with ecotourism yet? As the world faces big issues like global warming, climate change, and natural catastrophes, this topic is becoming more and more important. On the island of Aruba, sustainability is already a major topic. As a tourist you can do your part too, and that’s where ecotourism comes in. But what is ecotourism exactly? What are examples of ecotourism? And how can ecotourism benefit the environment? Read further to get to know more. Maybe you’ll get inspired and even implement some elements of ecotourism in your next trip! 

The meaning of ecotourism

Let’s start right at the beginning and define the meaning of ecotourism, because what is ecotourism exactly? If one organisation knows, it will be the International Ecotourism Society. This non-profit organisation was launched in 1990 and is addressing the topic of ecotourism ever since. On their website, they describe ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”.

That’s the theory, but of course you might wonder what ecotourism looks like in practice. To give you a better idea, I’ll give you some ecotourism examples.   


Some ecotourism examples

So what differs ecotourism from conventional tourism? To answer this question, let’s talk about some important pillars that define ecotourism:

  • Destination

As mentioned before, ecotourists often travel to areas with a lot of nature. They prefer pristine landscapes and natural wonders over citytrips. Since their love for nature is so big, they want to do more for the environment. This brings us to the following…

  • Environmental awareness

Many tourists prefer eco-friendly tourism because it helps to maintain a balance of tourism’s impact on the environment. A lot of eco-tourists not only enjoy themselves in these pristine places, but also contribute to maintaining and protecting the regions they visit. In order to do so, education is essential. 

  • Focus on education

Another definition of an eco tourist is the focus on education. Many eco tourists are interested in nature and want to learn more about this. Especially the part about how they can support a healthy environment.

  • Support locals

Another important aspect of ecotourism is supporting local people. Ecotourism may also boost the employment and empowerment of locals. When you stay, eat or go on a tour with locals, you support them financially. This way, your money comes directly to the local people.

Why should we care about ecotourism?

Some people describe sustainable ecotourism as the answer to mass tourism. Travelers from all over the world are putting a lot of pressure on many environments and ecosystems, especially in popular destinations. Vulnerable areas in particular can often not handle the increase of all these tourists. This is exactly why we should care about ecotourism. Ecotourism is, unlike other forms of tourism, less harmful to the environment. Let’s zoom in on this topic a bit more.

Pictures depicting sustainable tourism

How can ecotourism benefit the environment?

Every place we visit as a tourist can be disrupted if we don't do this in the right way. People for example often leave garbage behind, which can create environmental degradation. Safaris and animal photography often have a negative impact on wildlife. In other words: mass tourism is not beneficial for the environment. To be aware of this, is an important part of ecotourism. The next component is to take action and make more conscious choices during travels. So how can ecotourism benefit the environment? Ecotourism aims to reduce environmental impact, and there are multiple ways to do so. When it comes to lodging, you can choose an eco accommodation for example. Eco lodges take action to be less harmful for our planet and the environment. What measures they take varies by accommodation. You can always ask the host about this before booking any accommodation. Another effort to help the environment would be the small number of tourists. Unlike mass tourism, the amount of tourists is quite small in ecotourism. This measure of ecotourism relieves the pressure on the environment.

Make ecotourism part of your next adventure

Although sustainable ecotourism might sound a bit contradictory, there are still some ways to harm the world a bit less. If you’ve decided to travel, you can still do a lot to reduce your impact at least in some aspects, and even make positive changes. So why not try ecotourism for a change?

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