The term Ecotourism was coined by Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin in the year 1983, the term Ecotourism is defined by “The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)” as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of local people, and involves interpretation and education. Education is meant to be inclusive of both staff and guests”.
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The term Ecotourism is interchangeably used with Eco-Friendly tourism and the readers should keep one thing in mind that Ecotourism is not only bound to conserve the environment, but it also incorporates the idea of creating economic opportunities for the local community instead of a big corporate organization.
Also, the key as a tourist is to assimilate you in the shoes of indigenous lifestyle.The idea behind is to explore the unexplored i.e. traveling to tranquil undisturbed and undiscovered destinations and not to the so called natural places pumped up with large infrastructure setups.
Rise of Ecotourism
Though we can witness recently that the share of Ecotourism in the tourism industry is increasing year over year, the seeds for this revolution was sown way back in Sierra Club’s Outing program. Launched in 1901 the program was about an annual expedition encouraged within the members for the forests in Sierra Nevada’s back-country.
With the touch of globalization the Ecotourism industry flourishing and therefore we can witness an increase in the number of tourists. Also, there is proportional increase in Air Travel, Heaters, Air Conditioners, restaurants, bar etc.
There is so much focus on accommodation that the local culture is molded in such a way that it’s sole purpose is to please the tourists.Without much proper planning regarding good environmental practices we witnessed a steep increase in plastic footprint in the industry.
Also, there was too much of a toll on the popular destination that it changed the way a place used to live. It didn’t take long to see the harm it was causing and hence the rise of Ecotourism. With the Ecotourism policies like helping the local market, adapting to the local culture and exploring the unexplored it saved the world.
As a result of such positive effect Ecotourism became the need of the hour. At present the scenario is such that even the governments of respective countries are making policies to make themselves an Eco-Friendly hotspot.
Top 5 Ecotourism destinations in the world
Ecotourism is the future of tourism and therefore it is now a a key focus are of development by many countries in the world. Not only the people of the country, even the governments have started making Eco-Friendly policies.
The commitment is so serious that such policies have changed the countries for their good. For example Costa Rica is soon to become the world’s first carbon neutral country.
Then we have Bhutan the only carbon negative country and Rwanda who is close to achieving its promise of 30% forest cover. Here is a list of a few Eco-Friendly countries and why they should be in your travel list.
Soon to be the world’s first carbon neutral country, the nation stands in the forefront of the Ecotourism movement. More than 90% of its electricity comes from renewable energy resources. Also, with 5% of the world’s biodiversity and widespread national park and biological reserves, this country should be on must-visit list.
Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world. Also, as mandated in its constitution, Bhutan preserves (at all times) 60 percent of its land under forest cover. Steps like these made this hidden gem a true definition of an Eco-friendly country.
The Buddhist Kingdom located in the Himalayas with around 70% forest cover measures its prosperity based on GNH (Gross National Happiness).
Voted as the European Green Capital for 2016 and for three consecutive years the country needs to be explored. Electricity is generated from dams and the buses run in natural gas. So swim with the turtles and do some mountain hiking with your friends.
The southernmost South American region has its border with Argentina and Chile. This naturally gifted country offers you glaciers, volcanoes, snow-capped mountains and not to forget the incredible wildlife. Also, the Patagonia Azul Biosphere Reserve with about 1680 permanent residents is worth a visit.
The land of thousand hills banned the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags and packaging materials back in the year 2008. With the goal of achieving 30% forest cover by the year 2020, the government and the people of the country have painted the country green.
“Umuganda” , a practice which means self-help and cooperation, is a national holiday on the last Saturday of every month and the purpose is to clean up the country. Such efforts show how committed is the country to become an Eco-friendly nation.
5 Best Ecotourism companies in the world
With passage of time the world has seen a sharp increase in the number of ecotourism companies. Ecotourism would not have attained its current position if not for these companies.
This small list targets the various segments, ranging from Safari to River rafting. All these companies have over the years maintained their positions in the Ecotourism world with the help of strong commitment. Here is the list of few companies for your Ecotourism trip:
Right Travel is an England based first of its kind company founded in the year 2001. This giant connects you with 400 holiday providers around the world.
The key feature is the stringent screening process they have which takes in consideration points like compliance with environmental, social and economic criteria with an emphasis on grass root initiatives and local providers.
So sit back and relax as they are doing all the research for you.
Visit them at: https://www.responsibletravel.com/
The name itself is pretty self-explanatory in what this place is all about. It’s a farmhouse located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains of Andalucía, which specializes in Mountain Biking.
Apart from the ultimate Mountain Biking experience you will fall in love with exceptional customer service and warmth coming from this farmhouse. Those fantastic trails come with plenty of good food (made from locally sourced ingredients), wine, dogs and cats.
Visit them at: https://www.puremountains.com/
Cheli and Peacock:
Located in Kenya and Tanzania this up-market organization has been in service since 1985. They hold expertise in providing seamless Safari jaunt across the country. Apart from their Eco-Friendly measures, for every guest they donate $1 as charity to the Land & Life Foundation.
With so many positive reviews available on Trip Advisor this Safari is worth a visit.
Visit them at : https://chelipeacock.com/
Small World Journeys:
Founded in the year 2008, this Australia based Edu-Tour company is one of its kind. The services they provide range from SCUBA diving to exploring the Aboriginal culture.
They offer specially curated services for educational groups like community service projects, cultural interactions so that one can connect with the roots of the country. So if someone is trying to take it up a notch and wants to dive into the educational part of the Ecotourism, this is the right place.
Visit them at: https://www.smallworldjourneys.com.au/
Arizona River Runners:
With 50 years in service they have been rafting the Grand Canyon Rivers since 1970. Apart from the mesmerizing rafting experience, the country cuisine will stay with you for lifetime.
Their association with National Park Service and Leave No Trace: Center for Outdoor acts as a hallmark to their strong commitment towards Ecotourism. What tourists will find attractive apart from the scenery would be the affordable prices.
Visit them at: https://raftarizona.com/
Ecotourism is the future and it has huge potential to positively impact the economy of the country. Hence we can see separate policies to make the country Eco-Friendly. So pack your bags and start a journey to heaven on earth.
Also, your journey to a Eco-Friendly need not stop here. Try to implement the lesson learned in your journey into your daily lifestyle. For example here is a blog to replace plastic with Eco-friendly products from your daily life.