WHAT IS ECO-TOURISM?

Eco-tourism is a growing trend in the global traveling and tourism industry. Initially the idea of eco-tourism was limited to behaving responsibly with the natural environment. Now, it is understood that respect for local culture and communities is also an aspect of being a responsible host and a responsible tourist. The word “eco” in “Eco-tourism” means “Ecology”, which means the total environment of a place including people, culture, customs, air, nature, infrastructure and wildlife.

 

Eco-tourism is a growing trend in the global traveling and tourism industry. Initially the idea of eco-tourism was limited to behaving responsibly with the natural environment. Now, it is understood that respect for local culture and communities is also an aspect of being a responsible host and a responsible tourist. The word “eco” in “Eco-tourism” means “Ecology”, which means the total environment of a place including people, culture, customs, air, nature, infrastructure and wildlife.

STAKEHOLDERS

The responsibility of ecology-friendly tourism lies both with the host community and the traveler or tourist. While the community as a whole must gain an understanding of eco-friendly tourism, so that they know their rights and duties, it is the tour operators and owners of home stays, hotels, restaurants and guest houses who are the front face of the community to the guest, and must therefore be especially educated and aware about responsible tourism. It is both their right and their duty to communicate correctly with the guest, traveler or tourist.

 

COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF ECOTOURISTS

An eco-tourist:

–will stress on clean and safe environmental practices. They are also sometimes comfortable with more “natural” but not unhygienic eating, sleeping and sanitation practices.

–would like to visit natural or wild places; may seek solitude (alone time).

–prefer silence over noise; do not like disturbance, but do like to engage.

–would try to eat organic or natural food. Will prefer local food over outsider cuisine. They try to buy directly from households or community. This is not a threat to community; according to most developed understanding, buying directly from members of community and buying from multiple sellers keeps the community healthy and active. This is why eco-tourists do such buying as a responsible practice. It is the right and responsibility of the community to determine fair prices.

–may try to buy at sensible “fair” price rather than high or artificial “tourist” price. In general, fair trade means buying directly from the locals and artisans such that the artisan benefits most and directly from the income made on sales. However, the eco-tourist does not like to buy on artificial high prices because it discourages further buying, and long-term business-building. The eco-tourist may try to bargain for fair prices. In some cases, they will pay MORE than the asked price if they think that is fair!

–tends to like to engage with the community, and see REAL lifestyle and practices, rather than ARTIFICIAL or COSMETIC appearances. Eco-tourists are trying to learn and help and engage and be respectful; they are not being rude and they are not spies. Eco-tourists also sometimes teach. They are the ambassadors of the outsider world to the local community.

–try to look for natural or local medicine

–are interested in plant and animal life, and appreciate correct information rather than folklores or stories.

Have a safe travel with peace & happiness

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