With pressing issues such as climate change, plastic pollution and endangered wildlife species on the rise, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their impacts on the planet and what they can do to help limit the damage. One of the many concepts bred out of this growing concern for the environment is ecotourism, a notion that many travellers are choosing to adopt. But what exactly is ecotourism, and how does it work? Below, we give you a rundown of the concept as well as advice on how to become a more sustainable holidaymaker:
What is the Definition of Ecotourism?
Ecotourism – also known as sustainable tourism, green tourism or ethical tourism – is a concept based on the idea of travelling responsibly to ensure that the impact you have on the environment whilst holidaying is as minimal as possible. This not only includes the protection of the destination to which you are travelling, but also the cultural heritage of that location, as well as the local communities within it.
Is Ecotourism a New Concept?
While the notion itself has been around for some time originating in the 1980s, the popularity of ecotourism has risen in recent years as the result of travellers becoming more aware of the negative impacts mass tourism has on the environment. Consequently, many are now adopting more sustainable modes of travel, with industry experts approximating that ecotourism now represents around 11.4% of all consumer spending.
What are the Chief Principles of Ecotourism?
As we have briefly touched upon, ecotourism is a concept that encompasses several aspects of ecological conservation with regard to both the destination itself and the indigenous cultures and communities that flourish there. As such, whether you are a traveller looking to get on board with the concept or a professional trying to market ecotourism, there are several chief principles you should always adhere to:
- Limit physical, social and behavioural impacts as much as possible.
- Respect, support and promote environmental and cultural awareness.
- Deliver positive experiences for both travellers and locals equally.
- Provide direct financial support for all forms of conservation.
- Generate financial gains for both private and local interests.
- Offer travellers interpretative experiences that encourage awareness of environmental, social and political issues.
- Design, build and operate facilities with minimal impact.
- Acknowledge and respect the rights and beliefs of indigenous communities and work alongside them to educate others.
How Can You Become an Ecotourist?
If you are one of the UK holidaymakers who believe sustainable travel should be a priority, there are several things you can do to limit your personal impacts on the environment whilst travelling and become an ecotourist:
Enjoy a Staycation
Staying at home instead of opting for a holiday abroad is one of the best and simplest ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but also gives you the chance to explore fantastic locations just beyond your doorstep! If you do still have to make a long journey to your staycation, coach or train are both quick and easy forms of transport that are more environmentally-friendly options than taking your own car.
Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
While the lure of luxury hotels or plush apartments is often appealing, many of these establishments don’t tend to be as eco-friendly as they could be. As such, booking with an accommodation provider with certified eco credentials like us here at Quality Unearthed is a sure way to limit your environmental impacts while holidaying in some fantastic and unique places. From eco pods and safari tents to treehouses and yurts, we have a wide range of abodes to suit the needs of ecotourists!
Support the Local Community
Whether you’ve opted for glamping in Devon or have ventured up north to the Peak District, be sure you support the local community within your chosen location as much as possible. You can do this by visiting traditional markets, purchasing from artisan traders and dining in independent food establishments, all of which will help to keep the community going while providing you with a memorable experience during your stay.
Pick Your Food Carefully
While trying the local delicacy is all part and parcel of the holiday experience, it is important to pick your food carefully as you could be eating an endangered species without your knowledge. Consequently, it is best to carry out a little research before you go to see what wildlife in the local area are under threat as well as opting for establishments that use locally sourced produce too!
While these are just some of the things you can do to show your support the concept of ecotourism, there are plenty more options to ensure you travel as greenly as possible! If you’re in search of eco-friendly accommodation, why not give our team a call to find your dream abode? Alternatively, browse our stunning glamping properties on our website today and check out our blog for more information on going green in 2019.