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Go Green for Eco Travel
Eco Tourism, or Ecotravel is quite a flexible term that is still trying to find a strong foothold in our economy and our culture. With almost two decades in the making, no one seems to be completely sure of what Eco tourism means and many companies have jumped on this bandwagon as soon as they realized that adding that little Eco prefix meant a boost to their business (just open the travel section of your news paper and you will find plenty of ads offering things like
What does it mean?
Discover the path to nature's hidden secrets.
Eco Tourism (at its best) means sustainable development. It means a sort of tourism that is supported from both an Ecological and an ethical standpoint with the goal of maximizing the benefits for the local communities and minimizing the Ecological impact of travel for the environment. The purer or true Eco tourism operations are known to insist on high standards across the board: the best guides, Eco-friendly transportation and waste disposal, low impact energy generation and great integration with the local communities. All of these areas are kept under heavy scrutiny to ensure a true sustainable operation with a low impact on the land and people.
But it wasn't long ago that these types of considerations were mostly absent from mainstream tourism (sans activities like bird watching, hiking, safaris and other nature oriented outings.) The fact that Ecological has become a selling point has a lot to owe to the Earth Summit on Sustainable Development that was held in Rio de Janeiro almost two decades ago (1992.) Since then society has slowly become more aware to the real and dangerous impact that we have on our environment and the idea that we need to act now to protect our natural resources, endangered species and habitats is now stronger than it ever was before.
It was also at that summit that the United Nations identified tourism as a vital factor for economic development. They were right with their predictions. There are more travel and tourism oriented offers today than ever before and there are even activities not usually related to tourism that are finding a niche related to travel and discovery. Think about immersion courses: the combination of a learning experience like going to learn English in Australia with the attraction of discovering new places and meeting new cultures has certainly paid off and is a booming industry. But tourism needs to be directed with great care if the objective is not a mere immediate gain but sustainable benefits. We must avoid the bad old sudden boom and bust euphoria that has terrible effects on natural environments and local population alike.
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