Ecotourism is an essential element in the development of the tourism sector, it holds important promises for the conservation of the environment, biodiversity and the local communities living in the surrounding area. This type of tourism maintains the objective of allowing tourists to enjoy an adventurous experience while minimizing the risk of environmental degradation.
The principle of ecotourism is based on travel within a natural environment influenced by past and present cultures to promote its conservation, reduce the impact of visitors and provide socio-economic benefits to local populations. This tourism also promotes activities based on interaction with nature, which strengthens public opinion and understanding of the natural and cultural values present.
The United Nations declared in 2017 that engaging in ecotourism and becoming an eco-tourist is the best way to explore new horizons through visiting natural sites while learning about the history of these environments and associated traditions. However, the majority of current destinations chosen by tourists remain influenced by the omnipresence of hotels managed by international companies, favouring profits over local development. By opting for ecotourism, tourists can contribute to the maintenance of environmental practices using renewable energies (solar, wind, etc.), recycling biodegradable products and allowing the creation of wildlife sanctuaries governed by local laws.
Air travel over long distances represents a significant consumption of fossil fuels and is responsible for carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The association of the latter with the production of non-biodegradable products and behaviours that are not conservation-oriented during tourists’ stay amplify the consequences on the global aspect of the planet, which further encourages ecotourism practices.
The various air transport and tourism companies can also work together to reduce emissions and ensure conservation measures while enhancing the quality of travellers’ tourist stays. Choosing a destination that offers ecotourism remains in itself a significant step towards sustainable development.
Examples of ecotourism
Ecotourism in its various forms is diverse, but its most successful manifestations are generally characterized by carbon-neutral hotels or eco-hotels. If tourists wish to observe wild animals, they can go on a safari. Tourists want to enjoy the full benefits of a protected natural environment, so they have the opportunity to visit a national park.