Environmental tourism was born out of necessity — today’s travelers are looking for more meaningful experiences and are increasingly conscious of the effects their thirst for adventure has on the environment. But the term comes with some degree of confusion. Read on to discover what exactly environmental tourism is and how it can shape the future of travel.
Environmental tourism is, at its core, any form of travel with a focus on the environment, particularly efforts to protect, preserve and heal the Earth. With overtourism causing many famous sites to either limit visitation or close completely, conscious tourists look for other ways to experience the world. Many do so by visiting locations that have historically gotten little attention, leaving them virtually untouched with raw, natural beauty. Environmental tourism focuses on these locations with an emphasis on maintaining these pristine environments through limited visitation and eco-friendly practices.
There are many forms of environmental tourism, such as voluntourism, in which individuals visit a location for the purpose of helping to protect and preserve a location’s beauty, wildlife and resources. One example of voluntourism would be a trip to the coast of Greece to do volunteer work with a company that works to protect sea turtles or a trip to Indonesia to help clean up the plastic pollution in its waters and on its shores.
Eco-tourism, another form of environmental tourism, involves travel to a delicate location while being highly sensitive to the carbon footprint tourists leave behind. Many eco-tourism destinations place a high emphasis on educating visitors on green practices and the particular dangers facing specific locations and their natural resources.
While eco-tourism is not a new phenomenon, it is gaining increasing popularity. This heightened focus on protecting delicate ecosystems will hopefully shape the future of travel so our fragile planet will not succumb to the dangerous impact that pollution and over-tourism are having on our world.
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