Monday, December 13, 2021

So.... What is Ecotourism anyways?

What is Ecotourism?

Ecotourism is a word which we all hear in our everyday lives, although no one truly understands exactly what it means. To define Ecotourism in one sentence, it is "responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strive to be low impact and (often) small scale (as an alternative to mass tourism). Its purpose is to educate the traveler; provide funds for ecological conservation; directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights." (Wikipedia)

However as i discovered first hand, Ecotourism is all of this and more. As i traveled through Guatemala, i soon discovered that Ecotourism is first understanding people, and their culture; and through understanding developing and sharing the care which those native people have for their own country. Through observation of simple things, such as what people eat, how they conduct their daily lives, and what they value, i was able to slowly form a definition of the word "Ecotourism". Ecotourism is an incredibly complex word, with associations to sustainability, environment, economy and a host of other complicated topics. However in my opinion, when taken at its simplest form, Ecotourism is discovering about  the local people, sharing their passion for a certain way of living and finding the inspiration to build a greater future together.

In understanding what Ecotourism is, it has shifted my mentality about how i travel. Responsible travel has a deep impact on the people whom i choose to visit, and this can create sustainable benefits including reduction of poverty, greater environmental awareness and an increased standard of living. We must first become aware of the world if we are to change it.
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