Friday, 12 December 2014 04:20




Ecotourism is "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

It is a form of tourism visiting fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas. Its purpose may be to educate the traveller, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights.

Principles of Ecotourism:

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:

• Minimize impact.

• Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.

• Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.

• Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.

• Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.

• Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate.

Benefits of Ecotourism

Ecotourism, being one of the best forms of travel, conceals many of the benefits touching directly to tourists and local community. The benefits of ecotourism are transmitted not only to tourists taking the tour, but also to local community and the whole ecosystem.

• The very first thing that tourists can benefit from their eco tour is to enjoy plenty of excursions. Recreational eco activities like wild animals spotting, birding, angling, trekking, rock-climbing, mountain-biking, river rafting, para-gliding, hills and lakes viewing, boating, nature walk, etc. are worth making one's getaway full of unforgettable fun.

• During the tour, there is an immense possibility to learn from the local culture and historical significance of the places. Exchange of cultural, historical and geographical information is quite enriching during one's eco tour.

• Increase of eco travellers brings funds to resources/places where one is visiting, which definitely helps making the condition of resources (wildlife places, beaches, forests, and other eco places) better.

• The innate intention of ecotourism is to involve the local business in itself. Involvement of local business provides employment to local people, which ultimately lead to improving the nation's economy.

• Ecotourism helps motivating the conservation policy of government and local bodies. Better fund due to more eco traveller will tend to make government and local bodies understand the true value of resources, which, consequently, will demand better protection and strong conservation policy helping resources to live long.

Since ages, nature worship and the conservation ethics have been an inseparable part of the Indian thought and traditions. Traces go back to ancient civilizations of India, when people used to nurture the philosophy of the oneness of life. The Indian tradition has always taught that, humankind is a part of nature and one should look upon all creation with the eyes of love and respect.

It is tragic that since last few decades, the mad quest for the material end and economical progress in India and abroad has become identical with the exploitation of nature in all its appearances. Today, the entire world is facing a deep crisis. The rich forest areas and biological diversities have been relentlessly divested to erect concrete walls. The continuous denuding of forest reserves has led to Global Warming and Greenhouse Effects.

Whereas, recent USAID evaluation has identified ecotourism as an enterprise contributing to the conservation of endangered biological resources. Contributions of ecotourism include raising local awareness about the value of biological resources, increasing local participation in the benefits of biodiversity conservation (through new sources of jobs and incomes), and generating revenues toward conservation of biologically rich areas.

According to the report, Wildlife and its habitats in developing countries are becoming increasingly popular attractions for international tourism. Large number of eco-tourists are flocking to the mountains of Nepal and Madagascar, the tropical forests of Costa Rica and Thailand, and the beaches of Belize and Sri Lanka.   Nature tourists bring with them money to spend, money that creates jobs and incomes for households and communities in and around national parks and other protected areas. Ecotourism enterprises tour agencies and guide services, lodges and private reserves as well as such satellite activities as crafts industries and transportation and food services, also generate revenues and foreign exchange. Governments can use this income in operating and protecting natural habitats.

By recognizing the importance of protecting biological diversity, ecotourism is raising appreciation for biological resources and leading to better conservation practices by developing country population. It must of course be properly regulated and managed to protect against adverse environmental and cultural effects that can come with overbuilding of tourist facilities and influx of population around fragile ecosystems. Assuming such oversight, nature tourism can benefit both the environment and economic development.