Eco-tourism, also known as ecotourism or green tourism, is a form of sustainable travel that supports the local environment instead of increasing pressure and overusing natural resources.
Ecotourism is a complex concept that grows in importance every year, and if you care about protecting nature and want to have a positive impact on it, you must make sure that your travels are sustainable.
There are several definitions for eco-tourism. One of them, which is used more often than others, was formulated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN):
An environmentally responsible journey into natural areas to enjoy and appreciate nature (and related cultural features, both past and present), which promotes the conservation of the environment, has a low visitor impact and provides a beneficial active social and economic participation of the local population.
Another, simpler definition is given by the International Society for Ecotourism (TIES), and refers to ecotourism as visiting natural areas that preserve the environment and improve the well-being of the local population. In practice, this definition covers several aspects.
First, it means the level of awareness from the tourist. The tourist must understand that he is affecting the local environment and the local population, and try to, within reasonable limits, reduce his influence. In addition, the tourist should try not only to minimize damage to nature, but also, if possible, support the local community. Of course, this approach to travel does not mean that the entire experience becomes less enjoyable - on the contrary. Respect for the environment often makes it even more enjoyable to visit natural sites.
Looking at things from a longer perspective, it's safe to say that green tourism cannot be massive. Ecotourism should be carried out in small and medium-sized groups. The educational component related to eco-tourism also plays an important role (although not necessarily), and general themes in this context are waste management, responsible water and energy consumption, and cycling or walking instead of a car.
According to the Air Transport Initiative Group (ATAG), the world's airlines carried over 4 billion passengers in 2017, a figure that is growing steadily every year. Oxford Economics expects that by 2030 this figure will be 5.9 billion passengers per year. All of these people not only contribute (indirectly) to huge emissions of carbon dioxide, but also put a lot of pressure on many habitats.
Tourists also require additional infrastructure, such as treatment facilities, sewerage, and housing. Often, local communities are not able to offer all the necessary conditions on a sustainable basis and the result can be devastating. In many parts of Africa, for example, large-scale tourism has resulted in improper wastewater disposal. This, in turn, contributed to the pollution of nearby rivers, which serve as a source of water for people, livestock, wild flora and fauna. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Since the 80s of the last century, a new branch of the tourism industry has been rapidly developing - ecological tourism. It is gaining momentum not only in Russia, but also in the post-Soviet space (Kazakhstan, Belarus). But this is not just one type of outdoor activity. This direction is intended to play an important role in the implementation of the concept of rational use of the country's natural and cultural resources. The implementation of the idea will avoid the devastating consequences of mass tourism. At the same time, it is expected that the economic prospects of the local community will improve, jobs will be created in remote areas, and the unique cultural and religious traditions of indigenous peoples will be preserved.
This term implies the organization of a trip to untouched natural areas. It should help protect them and improve the well-being of the local population. And also to combine the study of flora and fauna objects with a careful attitude towards them. Ecotourism has its own characteristics:
Every year, as a result of uncontrolled tourism, water bodies are polluted, rare plants and animals disappear. Tourists should understand the degree of their impact on the surrounding nature and try to minimize it.
The geography of ecological tourism has some peculiarities. Traditional tourist flows are directed to countries with developed recreation infrastructure. Ecotourists, on the other hand, prefer to go to developing exotic countries and regions where there are still nooks of nature untouched by civilization. Popular destinations include Kenya, Nepal, Costa Rica.
Consequently, interest in Russia in terms of ecological tourism is growing. There are many places in the country with high ecotourism potential. Among them:
There are different types of ecotourism:
For many years there has been an international eco-tourism project “World Opportunities on Organic Farms”. Within its framework, programs are implemented that combine recreation with work on the farm. The tourist is provided with accommodation with meals, and after work he has time to get acquainted with the local life.
Ecological tourism is practically a new direction in cultural tourism, still waiting for its interesting projects. But, on the other hand, this direction is a modern development of natural routes. Eco-tourism aims to create economic incentives to preserve the environment.
Russia is regarded by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) as the first of the most promising areas for the development of ecological tourism. The growth of ecotourism is 30% per year according to the Encyclopedia of the World Around the World.
Ecological tourism in the future should develop in three main areas, such as:
1) natural cognitive (obtaining information while communicating with nature by conducting botanical, geological, geographical, zoological, ichthyological, ornithological and other similar expeditions);
2) rehabilitation (measures that can improve the condition of natural areas, involve volunteers and environmental specialists in the work);
3) Recreational - recreation in the wilderness, culturally organized picnics and hikes.
Ecological tours in no way should damage the natural and cultural environment, on the contrary, you should pay special attention to the development of ecological projects, which will include environmental protection problems. It is for this reason that ecological tourism requires a high professional level from all organizers of tours in this direction.
One of these projects, related to the rehabilitation direction, is dedicated to garbage collection on Elbrus and is called “Keep the mountains clean”. Participants of the ecological action annually take out more than 40 tons of garbage from the top and even invented a special oven for its disposal on site. To change the existing attitude of tourists to nature, the participants of the action laid the first ecological trail in the Elbrus region, 20 km long, following which tourists can get acquainted with the history and natural pearls of this region, see unique geological formations, change the climatic zones of the highlands, see what animals live there. what plants are growing.
The Altai Forestry Department has developed a program “Plant your own forest for life”. Russian President V. Putin personally made a financial contribution to the implementation of this rehabilitation program as well. As a result of the project, 271 hectares of forest were planted.
In the Yekaterinburg region, a target program was adopted for the use, development and protection of several unique springs, wells and wells with the purest underground water. The tourist rehabilitation program is called “Springs”. It invites everyone who wants to travel to the land of springs, admire the beauty of the Ural nature and at the same time take part in the improvement of underground wells. Among the travel participants, a competition for the best arrangement of water sources is even periodically held. Local schoolchildren, students and simply residents of the surrounding villages collected legends, bit by bit searched for the facts of the history of their small homeland, which later became the basis of ecological and historical excursions conducted here.
Krasnodar Territory offers ecological tours "Western Caucasus" to the mountains of the Western Caucasus, to the snow-covered Lago-Naki plateau, to the Rufabgo waterfall, to the Azim cave, to mineral springs with a tour of unique archaeological monuments - dolmens.
Kamchatka tour operators have many offers for unpretentious wildlife lovers. It's just a paradise for ecotourists: natural monuments are not only perfect in beauty, but also untouched by civilization. For those tourists who agree to spend the night in tents, observation of wildlife, dog sledding are offered.
This relatively new direction is rapidly gaining momentum. For several years now, the inhabitants of civilized Europe have been storming untouched corners of nature in Africa, Asia, South America ... What are they looking for there?
Recently, the geography of travel is expanding, tourists are becoming more selective and demanding. Sometimes it's not so easy to surprise them with something. There is a funny paradox in the world: the benefits of civilization are in abundance, and people are increasingly trying to abandon them in favor of pristine nature ...
A striking example is ecological tourism. The trend, which has already become very popular, involves the rejection of luxury hotels, all-inclusive systems, comfortable vehicles and other developments of mankind in favor of naturalness, naturalness and unity with nature.
Would you like to change busy trails with mountain bike trails, stuffy rooms of night clubs with walks under the starry sky, hotel pools with babbling mountain streams? Then you will be interested to learn about the types of ecotourism and the best places on the planet for this type of vacation.
Modern ecological tourism can pursue different goals, which is why it is divided into several areas:
Ecological tourism is a separate direction, which has its own rather specific features that distinguish it from other types of travel. Its concept implies:
The best objects of ecological tourism are considered to be untouched natural spaces. There are a lot of such corners on the planet.
Endless mountain plateaus, noisy rivers, rice plantations, thickets of bamboo ... Elephants and leopards stroll slowly in these places, and the air is filled with the smell of freedom. Laos has developed many hiking routes of varying difficulty. They take into account the level of training of travelers and create an optimal workload for both beginners and experienced ecotourists. One of the main sites is the Namkha Nature Reserve. It receives over 250 thousand fans of ecological tours per year.
There are many types of tourism: from cultural to industrial, but the most popular and new one is considered to be "green". In the Moscow region and the regions of the central region, ecological travel accounts for about 25% of all trips, and in European countries - about 47%.
Eco travel and tourism is wildlife research that:
It is based on a complete rejection of mechanical labor and the latest technology.
Ecological travel meets all the requirements of tourism as a separate type, that is, they have:
Ecotourism in the Moscow region, Siberia or Europe is becoming more and more in demand every year, the importance of developing this type of recreation is associated with several problems.
The large-scale interest in ecotourism is due to 3 reasons:
In total, there are 4 main types of "green" travel, which are classified according to the purpose of travel.