Ecotourism (also known as
ecological tourism) is travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (often) small scale. It helps educate the traveler; provides funds for
conservation; directly benefits the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and fosters respect for different cultures and for human rights. As defined by the
co-founder of the Center for Responsible Travel, Martha Honey, Ph.D., in her book Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, Second Edition: Who Owns Paradise?. Most serious studies of
ecotourism including several university programs now use this as the working definition.
Ecotourism appeals to ecologically and socially conscious individuals. Generally speaking, it focuses on volunteering,
personal growth and learning new ways to live on the planet. It typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Ecotourism is
a conceptual experience, enriching those who delve into researching and understanding the environment around them. It gives us insight into our impacts as human beings and also a greater
appreciation of our own natural habitats.
Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and
enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy
efficiency, water conservation and creation of economic opportunities for the local communities. >>more...