Environmental tourism concentrates on local cultures, wilderness excursions, volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on our fragile planet. It is typically understood as travel to places where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the main attractions. Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the damaging effects of standard tourism on the natural environment, and improve the cultural integrity of the local people. Thus, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, initiatives by hospitality providers to promote recycling, energy efficiency, water recycling, and the instigation of economic opportunities for local indigenous communities are a vital part of environmental tourism.
Ecotourism is recognised as the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, as the World Tourism Organization state with an annual growth rate of just over 5% worldwide and representing 6% of the world gross domestic product, 11.3% of all consumer spending – Therefore it is not a market to be taken lightly at all!
Around the World, eco-tourism is swiftly becoming one of the most popular forms of holidaying.
In an age of increased perception on environmental consciousness and accessibility to exotic areas, countries are fast promoting their natural resources as fodder for tourists. The balancing act with ecotourism is to maintain the natural resources while also promoting them and being able to accommodate large volumes of tourists.
Businesses are building camps and eco-lodges, and resource managers are designing trails and tours. Most of the popular eco-travel destinations have tenous eco-systems, however, so it is crucial to keep a steady balance between preserving and promoting- “sustainable development” — to ensure the long-term buoyancy of both the eco-systems and the economy yields that tourism brings.