Ecotourism

Recently, the concept of ecotourism in the travel industry has grabbed the attention of many nature lovers, socialists and environmentalists. It has given a completely new dimension to tourism. Ecotourism can be understood as a sustained or eco-friendly tourism that involves conserving travel to natural and pristine places in order to appreciate the social, cultural and historical value of the environment, without intruding the integrity of the ecosystem, while generating economic openings that make conservation and security of environment advantageous to the local people.

Ecotourism has been loosely interpreted by many people and it should not be confused with standard commercial form of tourism. While commercialised form of tourism is degrading the biosphere of this eco paradise and upsetting the ecosystem, ecotourism is striving to prevent it from being mortified by the vast influx of tourists. Many tourist destinations get extensively damaged due to extreme pressure of tourism and disturb the entire ecosystem. Tourism department has witnessed remarkable growth in past few years and has quite significantly contributed towards nation’s economy. So, people realised the need of endorsing a kind of tourism which helps generate revenue as well as protects the subtle ecosystem in a region.

In a country like India which is embraced by one of the richest biodiversity in the world, there was undoubtedly a direst need of implementing such concept. Hence, the Indian government is focusing upon promoting the idea of ecotourism as much as possible so as to protect the serenity of the exotic Himalayas, thick forests, rich coastlines and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. Different types of ecotourism prevalent in India that lure tourists from all over the world are: Wildlife tourism, Agro tourism, Village tourism and Religious tourism.

The International Ecotourism Society has defined Ecotourism as: “responsible travel to natural area that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Ecotourism primarily functions on the lines of the principles laid down by International Ecotourism Society:

  • Curtail impact
  • Spread environmental and cultural consciousness and respect
  • Give optimistic experiences for both visitors and hosts
  • Offer direct financial profits for conservation
  • Empower local people by providing them financial benefits
  • Nurture sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental and social climate

Ecotourism is predominantly aimed at enlightening the tourists and travellers, to generate funds for maintaining ecological balance, to directly profit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, to inculcate respect for different types of cultures and human rights. Volunteering, environmental sustainability, personal growth and Ecotourism go hand in hand with each other.

Ecotourism generally implicates travel to places where you have a vast diversity of flora and fauna or a cultural heritage. But it would not fall under the category of ecotourism as long as the tourists do not understand the impact of conventional tourism on the elusive environment and do not feel the urge to protect and appreciate the virginity of the natural habitats untouched by human beings.

Various researches on ecotourism have quoted many failure stories and reports that the concept of ecotourism is not yet completely understood by the people in a correct way. Though it is supposed to enrich, support and preserve the local cultures; reports show contrary results. Thus, we can say that the huge investments in ecotourism are being misplaced to some extent. Hence, more research, education and information is required for the tourists in order to project and position this concept in the right direction. It is an amazing concept and its successful implementation can produce incredible positive change in our environment and culture.

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About Shalini Pal

Shalini Pal is a 19 year old girl who is a freelancing fanatic and is currently pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (UG). Presently, she is an amateur writer who is working hard and striving to become a skilled professional. She was born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh but did her schooling from one of the top cities of India, i.e. Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She loves reading novels, writing, cooking and sketching. Listening to music is one of her favourite pass times. She aspires to become a media professional, preferably a journalist in future. She wants to bring about a revolution in the society with the power of media, to make it a better place to live in.

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