As humans, we are a nomadic species; driven by a need for recreation, connection and experiencing other cultures, we are constantly on the go. Travel and tourism are the largest industries in the world, but often this comes at an environmental cost, with an enormous and unsustainable impact on energy, water, land and food use.
Tourism has the potential to alleviate poverty, hunger, gender inequality and environmental degradation in the world’s most vulnerable regions. However, that takes vision, collaboration and a collective set of strategies, so that all of the parties involved—including government ministries, businesses, community leaders and tourists—have a defined course towards change.
In recent years, we have become more conscious of the effect that we have on the world around us, in terms of single use plastics, sustainable fashion, climate change, the consumption of fuel and our carbon footprint.
Another emerging sustainable practice which is gaining popularity is eco-tourism. Through eco-tourism, governments, companies, NGOs and local communities can unite and use tourism to achieve a satisfactory balance between economic development and protection of their natural and cultural assets.
Ecotourism is defined by the International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” It focuses on bringing together conservation, local communities and sustainable travel, as well as adhering to certain rules.
But how can people travel in an eco-friendly way? Is there such a thing as travel which has little to no impact on the environment? The answer to these questions is no, but eco tourism does help to reduce the harm done to the environment when travelling. But what is ecotourism?
Remembering the following guidelines can help when practicing ecotourism:
Eco tourism does not have to mean making drastic changes to your travel plans; even starting with one or two small positive changes to make your holiday more sustainability oriented can make a huge difference. The practice of ecotourism is rapidly gaining popularity across all age groups, genders and backgrounds, as it does less damage to the environment, and could potentially help to improve the cultural, social and economic conditions of communities worldwide.
This year at Holiday World Show, ask our knowledgeable industry experts about the many ways that you can start to practice ecotourism while travelling, and incorporate it into your holiday plans for years to come.