Magazine: Ecotourism

Nowadays, many of us try to live in a way that will damage the environment as little as possible. And we want to take these attitudes on holiday with us. Ecotourism is becoming more popular.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercise.

Imagine the scene. You're sitting in the hot sunshine beside the swimming pool of your international luxury hotel, drinking your imported gin and tonic. In front of you is the beach, reserved for hotel guests, with motor boats for hire. Behind you is an 18-hole golf course, which was cleared from the native forest and is kept green by hundreds of water sprinklers. Around the hotel are familiar international restaurant chains and the same shops that you have at home. You've seen some local people – some of them sell local handicrafts outside the hotel. You bought a small wooden statue and after arguing for half an hour you only paid a quarter of what the man was asking. Really cheap!

Is this your idea of heaven or would you prefer something different?

Nowadays, many of us try to live in a way that will damage the environment as little as possible. We recycle our newspapers and bottles, we take public transport to get to work, we try to buy locally produced fruit and vegetables and we stopped using aerosol sprays years ago. And we want to take these attitudes on holiday with us. This is why alternative forms of tourism are becoming more popular all over the world.

But what is ecotourism?

There are lots of new forms of tourism: responsible tourism, alternative tourism, sustainable tourism, nature tourism, adventure tourism, educational tourism and more. Ecotourism probably involves a little of all of them. Everyone has a different definition, but most people agree that ecotourism must:

  1. conserve the wildlife and culture of the area
  2. benefit the local people and involve the local community
  3. be sustainable, that is, make a profit without destroying natural resources
  4. provide an experience that tourists want to pay for.

So, for example, in a true ecotourism project, a nature reserve allows a small number of tourists to visit its rare animals and uses the money that is generated to continue with important conservation work. The local people have jobs in the nature reserve as guides and wardens, but also have a voice in how the project develops. Tourists stay in local houses with local people, not in specially built hotels. This way they experience the local culture and do not take precious energy and water away from the local population. They travel on foot, by boat, bicycle or elephant so that there is no pollution. And they have a special experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

This type of tourism can only involve small numbers of people, so it can be expensive. But you can apply the principles of ecotourism wherever you go for your holiday. Just remember these basic rules:

  • Be prepared. Learn about the place that you're going to visit. Find out about its culture and history. Learn a little of the native language, at least basics like 'please', 'thank you', and 'Good morning'. Think of your holiday as an opportunity to learn something.
  • Have respect for the local culture. Wear clothes that will not offend people. Always ask permission before you take a photograph. Remember that you are a visitor.
  • Don't waste resources. If the area doesn't have much water, don't take two showers every day.
  • Remember the phrase 'Leave nothing behind except your footprints and take nothing away except photographs.' Take as much care of the places that you visit as you take of your own home. Don't buy souvenirs made from endangered animals or plants.
  • Walk or use other non-polluting forms of transport whenever you can.
  • Be flexible and keep a sense of humour when things go wrong.
  • Stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants.
  • Buy local products whenever possible and pay a fair price for what you buy.

Choose your holiday carefully. Don't be afraid to ask the holiday company about what they do that is 'eco'. Remember that 'eco' is very fashionable today and a lot of holidays that are advertised as ecotourism are not much better than traditional tourism.

But before you get too enthusiastic, think about how you are going to get to your dream 'eco' paradise. Flying is one of the biggest man-made sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Friends of the Earth says that one return flight from London to Miami puts as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the average British car driver produces in a year. So don't forget that you don't have to fly to exotic locations for your 'eco' holiday. There are probably places of natural beauty and interest in your own country that you've never visited.

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In my opinion this is only a fashion. Here in Spain, specifically where I go on holidays anyone do ecotourism. The fact is that they only think for themselves and don´t help to improve the ecosystem. In this sense they have to be more concerned about the world to keep it in good conditions. The governments could support to improve the ecotourism too.

It is very important to take care of nature, and I am agree with the idea of ecotourism. But like LucienneM says being eco-friendly is not always an option, however we can try our best even if we cannot be totally eco-friendly. At the beginning you may feel overwhelmed because of all the things you have to change to care nature, but if we try this slowly, like start changing little bad habits i´m sure we will create a better enviroment. The situatuion at this point is really bad, we need to work together.

Hello!
I'm from Brazil and ecotourism is strong here. But it's only a word fashionable. Recently, i travelled to Fernando de Noronha, Porto de Galinhas e Porto Seguro, and all of them are famous because the nature and preservation. However, do not have the control of numbers of people or hotels and restaurant. These establishment are built uncontrolled and the government make believe because the money is the most important for it. Many ecosystems are destroyed, animals die or lose their habitat. Besides that, large quantities of trash are dumped in the nature. It's too sad, because those places are wonderful, specially Fernando de Noronha!
A exception in my travels was Bonito, situated in state of Mato Grosso do Sul. All attraction (tracks, waterfall...) is controled, you need guide e reservation, and the groups are limited to nine people with 30 minutes of interval between groups.
We can change the world! I believe it!

In fact, the article shows the positive ideas about it, but I think the writer must to show the negative ideas. Ideas like the tourism pressure about the location or ignorance about the local tradition. However, the idea of living in a traditional cabin can be a bad experience for a kind of people.

In addition, we must to think about the native people is only a worker or a bussines owner...

I think encouraging ecotourism is a good way to protect the environment and increase our love of the nature . Moreover , travelling helps us broaden our horizon . We can know more about the nature and the local culture as well . In addition , taking an eco- holiday can be exciting and gives us memorable experience .

This is my first time reading about ecotourism , I do not know about this kind of tourism before this time. So when I think to visite historical places , which what I most love to visit, I will consider all what I have read in this article ...thanks a lot

now, i have deeper understanding of ecotourism. As a concern citizen of my country (Philippines), I would love to share this very important information to my family members and relatives and if possible, also to my friends specially those who love to travel.

The article was interesting , I learned new things , I must go first to my local area , respect the others culture and save recourses

hi friends!!This artikel was very good!!I`ve already learnt about it at mine universitat.
I had a experience about living whit the local people.I and my friends have remained a few hours in the home of a shepherd and we have drunk whit him a glass of tea in a cold weather!!it was very good!!

After reading this article I thought about Ecotourism and I see it as very good and important idea for our world. Our world and a nature is in horrible condition now and this type of tourism can help to give better condition. I know that it´s not always possible because when we want go abroad over ocean, so it is better take a plane in my opinion. What do you say on it? I think Ecotourism helps more to enjoy a trip, for example when we take bikes or by foot.

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