Ecotourism Holidays – What does it mean to you?
As it is Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee year, maybe she can set us all an example.
Anyone for a horse drawn carriage, vacation – if only?
Oxyman [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons
First, to get you in the holiday mood a short movie from the Emerald Isles - Here you can discover what its like to feel the authentic ‘green’ Ireland.
Lovely scenery as well as a huge variety of activities plus information on the – European Eco Label – The EU Flower… please sit back relax and enjoy.
So, what do ecotourism holidays mean to you?
Ecotourism is the practice of bringing together sustainable travel practices that promote the conservation of protected natural areas while also benefiting local economies. Ecotourism as a concept began in the 1970s as a part of the larger environmental movement (see References 2). It has now grown into a significant sector of the tourism industry. People planning an eco-vacation can anticipate not only visiting beautiful landscapes but also being educated on the role of protecting biologically diverse areas and supporting local cultures and economies.
Ecotourism holidays offers a unique opportunity for tourists to contribute to the conservation of protected habitats, wildlife refuges and parks. The money spent by tourists to visit protected natural areas helps raise funds to continue to protect those areas for future generations.
Impact on Local Economies
Local economies benefit from ecotourism when tourist-related industries build up in support of these activities. For example, tour agencies, local craft markets, hotels and restaurants all benefit from a thriving tourist economy.
According to the International Ecotourism Society, “By increasing capacity building opportunities, ecotourism holidays are also an effective vehicle for empowering local communities around the world to fight against poverty and to achieve sustainable development.”
(See References 2)
Social and Cultural Awareness
One of the main goals of ecotourism is to increase the awareness tourists have about the social conditions surrounding a travel destination. Such conditions as poverty are often hidden from tourists. Ecotourism aims to expose tourists to the realities of social and economic climates in an area. The International Ecotourism Society describes one of the main principles of ecotourism as building cultural awareness and respect for local people and customs.
(see References 1).
Ecotourism works to combine travel with educational opportunities on sustainability and conversation. Ecotourism educates travelers on the value of protecting natural areas and resources and introduces travelers to concepts of sustainability within local communities and economies. Tourists are not the only ones who are educated by participating in ecotourism. Local people are also educated about sustainability and conservation practices that will benefit their community.
(see References 3).References
- The International Ecotourism Society: What Is Ecotourism?
- The International Ecotourism Society: Frequently Asked Questions
- U.S. Agency for International Development: Win-Win Approaches to Development and the Environment; July 1996
What Are the Aims of Ecotourism?
I think it’s time we started to give more thought to our holiday and travel activities and how it impacts on our environment.
Ecotourism holidays are definately going to be a growth business for the future and hopefully for all our futures.