The Three Main Benefits of Ecotourism and How to Promote It
Although traveling to new places and experiencing new adventures is a great way to see the world, it is no secret that there are negative environmental effects of mass tourism. As you begin to think about your next vacation, perhaps look into a lower-impact alternative to mass tourism, which is ecotourism.
Ecotourism is a carefully curated way to see fragile, undisturbed natural areas of nature. By partaking in ecotourism and helping to conserve parts of nature and wildlife, you have the opportunity to witness magnificent, once in a lifetime nature scenes up close and personal.
In efforts to push a safer, more eco-friendly mode of tourism, here are some of the benefits of seeing unique, and oftentimes threatened, natural environments through ecotourism.
One of the great perks of taking an ecotourism-focused adventure is that you are exposed to new, less popular aspects of nature. Although traveling to incredibly popular sight-seeing destinations and visiting highly-visible attractions or monuments is exciting, there is so much else to see and explore.
Through ecotourism, you have the chance to see some of the most unique environments and view nature closer than ever. These types of excursions are much more exciting than viewing animals at your local zoo.
You may be able to see wildlife up close and within their wild, natural habitat, which isn’t something you are able to experience every day. Ecotourism takes you along vast seascapes, wildlife habitats, and more, to view nature through an environmentally low-impact medium. With that being said, not only do you get to see nature from a new lens, but you also help to conserve many of the animals and habitats that are threatened or unprotected.
One example of ecotourism that aims to expose travelers to an abundance of magic is by experiencing bioluminescence. During the warmer months on the east coast of the U.S., there are many opportunities to see majestic sea life. On the shores of Florida, bioluminescent sea life lights up the dark water, exposing you to a once in a lifetime view of a glowing ocean.
Bioluminescence is a chemical process that permits living sea life to create light within their bodies. When the water is obstructed through wave creation or splashing from humans, the seawater begins to glow bright neon blue. This type of interactive experience exposes you to a side of nature that you may not otherwise get to witness.
As you partake in ecotourism excursions, you can also receive an abundance of information educating you on topics pertaining to that area’s wildlife and natural environments. For instance, you will see nature as it currently stands, as well as learn vital information on how to properly interact with wildlife and preserve these ecosystems.
Observing animals within a zoo environment does not always provide accurate insight into an animal’s daily life. Much of the animal culture within zoos are artificial. For instance, arctic penguin exhibits are usually not in climate-controlled areas where you can see them play on glaciers. Although zoos do a heap of good by protecting endangered animals, many animals endure stress from not being in the wild or having ample social interactions with other members of their species.
This takes away from witnessing authentic animal behavior within nature. By partaking in ecotourism, you can view animals that haven’t been displaced and also gather greater insight on how various species have become endangered, as well as how you can help.
As you travel, there is nothing like witnessing animals within their own wild environments where they are fully immersed in their own culture. Through these eco-tourism excursions, you are invited to submerge yourself within an animal’s environment and experience a small part of their daily lives.
By interacting with a natural environment through an ecotourism lens, you have the opportunity to leave it better than you found it. As a viewer and wildlife lover, ecotourism provides you with an outlet to minimize the negative impacts of tourism on these natural environments and protect what is left.
For example, you can transition from merely observing to positively interacting with these environments through participatory cleanup.
Alongside the provided education about how to conserve these environments, participatory cleanup is a great way to interact with nature on a personal level, all while ensuring that this environment and its wildlife can thrive. This can be demonstrated by cleaning up trash off the beaches and out of the ocean in efforts to prevent wildlife from dying as a result of human impact.
This acts as a way to protect species who oftentimes cannot differentiate between what is food and what is a plastic straw. By witnessing the impacts of humans on the environment while being in a proper wildlife setting, you can gather a comprehensive perspective and push to protect these habitats with proper knowledge and understanding.
Through exposure and education, we can work to protect wildlife spaces and ensure a better future for wildlife and their respective environments.
Human impact plays a large role in the longevity of the lifespans of wild animals and with your help, you can decrease the negative impacts and allow for a higher quality of life for these animals. As you begin to plan your next excursion, perhaps consider these benefits to ecotourism and push to protect the wildlife of that area. Take this opportunity to educate yourself, and your loved ones, on the many ways that animal harm can be prevented and how we can best conserve these natural areas.
Josh Myers is the owner of Florida Adventurer , a bioluminescence kayaking company. Josh is extremely passionate about ecotourism and the wildlife he interacts with on a daily basis. In order to further educate tourists around ecotourism, Josh ensures that each individual on his tours understands why and how to protect the indigenous animals that they encounter and how to conserve the natural area where he operates.