It sounds like the true nature lover’s dream – to visit a corner of the earth that is untouched by human hands. It’s where you can enjoy pristine nature in its true, original form. Ecotourism is a name given to the tourism industry that desires to visit pristine, fragile and undisturbed areas. This is as far different from mass tourism as you can get.
Promoting ecotourism brings several potential benefits to the area being visited:
Tourism is a rapidly growing industry, and for some countries, including developing countries, ecotourism is a viable income source. Countries such as Africa with vast, open territory, huge plains and fierce wandering rivers, are popular ecotourism destinations.
Canada, being one of the world’s largest countries is also home to settlements of indigenous peoples and holds a huge potential for ecotourism. There are many untouched beautiful ecotourism destinations in Canada. With its vast landscapes and low population density, abundant natural resources and a variety of eco-activities, Canada is growing in popularity among ecotourists.
For developing countries, ecotourism offers empowerment to local communities and a way for them to fight poverty. The combination between biodiversity and indigenous cultures is appealing to many who want to get out of the big cities and go see something in nature that they have never experienced before.
During an ecotourism adventure, low impact on nature is emphasized. After all, if the ecotourism had a big impact on the pristine location, it would no longer be untouched and lose its usefulness as a destination. Tourism itself leaves an environmental footprint. A major part of the education of tourists visiting prime natural habitats is to educate them towards environmental conservation. Therefore, mass tourism to these natural habitats is not permitted.
The term ecotourism was made popular in 1983 by a man named Hector Ceballos-Lascurain. Other synonyms to the term include jungle tourism, responsible tourism and sustainable development. Hector was a conservationist who was very influential and took part in lobbying for wetland conservation in relation to the flamingo.
Currently there is no standard accepted globally for regulating the ecotourism industry. Many see this as a disadvantage, because small groups claiming a big eco adventure have the potential to scam the unwary tourist from some big payments. They sign up thinking they are getting the adventure of a life time but because of the lack of accreditation and regulations; they don’t end up getting what they signed up for.