Tourism has historically been a very dirty industry. People with enough money to travel have taken gas guzzling air planes to far away countries to enjoy resorts that have been places where they could easily see beautiful sites that should not be exposed to much human interference. This was fine for quite sometime but the new more environmentally aware traveler would like to see the world without harming it in the process. This has created the new breed of Eco tourist. He or she demands more from travel and as a result an industry has sprung up to cater to their additional demands for environmentally responsible travel. Here are some of the Eco tourism industry’s results.
Raising awareness of the environment
By taking visitors to places where they get to interact with nature whether through hikes or nature trails, more people gain an understanding of what is at stake when we engage in destructive practices like pollution. There are also specific tours which allow people to interact with wild animals some of whom may even be endangered. This may encourage them to make a special effort to protect these species so that they can be brought back from the brink.
Some countries are heavily reliant on environmentally destructive industries for the majority of their income. These include the sale of old trees in their forests for lumber, the extraction of petro chemicals or even the trawling for fish in damaging ways. By engaging in Eco tourism instead, these nations can earn without putting there habitats at risk.
Greater volunteer opportunities
This one has both a good and bad side. The recent upsurge in ‘voluntourists’ has made many people from wealthy countries feel better about visiting and ‘helping’ but the cost of their trips is often enough to pay a local professional to do the work that they did instead and for a longer period of time. Good intentions do not always get the job done.
Destroying Sensitive habitats
Sometimes by opening up areas to people to visit the unfortunate side effect is that the area becomes negatively affected. Wild-life may become too frightened to mate when they should or too accustomed to being fed by humans so that they learn not to hunt. Worse yet, hunters may lure them more easily to their deaths.
No industry is without its issues. Perhaps in time this one will show itself to be worthwhile or not.