The Effects of Ecotourism on the Environment
Finally it is that time of year again, and you are planning your summer vacation. As we all know, finding the right vacation can be a real chore sometimes. It is easy to just book a bundled package that caters to the general tourist. The thing is though, you will sometimes find that these vacations are so boring and lack real emotion. This year why not do a bit of research on ecotourism. You will find some amazing places that are natural and untouched by humans. Ecotourism effectively is a type of tourism that focuses on visiting natural and beautiful places, far away from the mass and commercial tourism that most people are used to. These pristine environments are sites to behold and really worth visiting. Whether you are looking for the best hotels in the Algarve, or anywhere in the world for that matter, it is always a good idea to consult the ecotourism conference to see the thoughts of the members on the place that you are going.
Photo credit: IIED
What is the Ecotourism Conference?
The Ecotourism Conference or Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) is an annual event that focuses on the sustainability of the tourism industry. It is a meeting where people from all over the world can meet and discuss ideas on how we can help and change tourism for the better. An example of this is how tourism can help developing countries that have issues with poverty. The conference itself started in 2005 and was hosted in Maine in the USA. Ecotourism was at this time thought to be relevant only for exotic destinations, but as time has gone by the industry has realized that this is not the case.
The key note speaker at this first conference was Dr. Silvia Earle and she has played an amazing part in protecting some of the most incredible marine life. These include the North-western Hawaiian Islands National Marine Monument. Since this first conference, there have been 5 more. Each year it gets bigger and bigger. Since its inception, the Ecotourism Conference has been held in The United States of America. However, this year it will be hosted in Nairobi, Kenya. It will take place from the 24th to the 27th of September and promises to be quite an event. Here are some of the topics that you can expect to be covered over the 4 days:
- Inventive discussions on the sustainability of many locations around the world and how we can all play a part in helping.
- Speakers with a vast knowledge and experience on travel and tourism alike.
- Discussions on the best sustainability tools and the best types of practices that need to be followed.
- Thoughts on the different opportunities available globally.
- Inspirational stories from people who are active in trying to promote ecotourism.
The key note speakers for the 2013 conference will include Dr. Munir Virani, who has over 20 years experience in the research of birds of prey and is the Director for Africa and South Asia for the Peregrine Fund. Also attending is Mr. Costas Christ who is an award winning editor for the National Geographic Traveler. He is one of the top sustainable tourism experts and promises to give some enlightening tips on what we need to do to help sustain our environment. There is a lot more information regarding all aspects of the conference if you visit its website, www.ecotourismconference.org.
Why is ecotourism important?
At this current time, ecotourism is not as widely discussed as a lot would hope, but the ESTC is taking steps to make sure that the awareness in increased. It is an ever growing part of the global tourism sector and for good reason. It helps with not only the sustainability of our beautiful planet, but it also helps with the social and economic welfare of many countries and societies from around the world. There are so many stunning places on this planet, and ecotourism is helping to sustain them. The infrastructure of a lot of countries is not geared up for tourists, but there are many that are trying to offer incentives to locals in countries that have smaller means to keep the landscape and environment natural.
Photo credit: Yeoh Thean Kheng
As previously mentioned, it is so easy for us to go to the most popular of tourist destinations, but there are so many untapped and incredible places that you can go to and help the local economies, which in turn will help sustain the most amazing natural sites. So this year, do some research on ecotourism. Don’t just settle for the usual places. You will find that you will have the most unbelievable experiences to share for the rest of your lives. There is nothing more important than keeping this fragile and fabulous planet natural, and how it was intended to be, so do your bit to help.