Llano del Muerto waterfall in El Salvador

Ecotourism is a form of tourism marketed as "responsible" travel (using what proponents say is sustainable transport) to natural areas, conserving the environment, and improving the well-being of the local people.[1] The stated purpose may be to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and human rights.

Since the 1980s, ecotourism has been considered a critical endeavor by environmentalists, who say they want future generations to experience destinations relatively untouched by human intervention.[2]: 33  Ecotourism may focus on educating travelers on local environments and natural surroundings with an eye to ecological conservation. Some include in the definition of ecotourism the effort to produce economic opportunities that make the conservation of natural resources financially possible.[3]

Generally, ecotourism deals with interaction with biotic components of the natural environments.[4] Ecotourism focuses on what advocates define as socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Ecotourism is intended to offer tourists an insight into the impact of human beings on the environment and to foster a greater appreciation of our natural habitats. Ecotourism aims at minimal environmental impact on the areas visited. Besides fostering respect towards the natural environment, ecotourism endeavors to create socio-economic benefits for the area's communities.

Responsible ecotourism programs include those that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities.[5] For these reasons, ecotourism often appeals to advocates of environmental and social responsibility.

Many consider the term "ecotourism", like "sustainable tourism" (which is a related concept but broader), an oxymoron. Like most long-distance travel, ecotourism often depends on air transportation, which contributes to climate change. Additionally, "the overall effect of sustainable tourism is negative where like ecotourism philanthropic aspirations mask hard-nosed immediate self-interest."[attribution needed][6]

  1. ^ "What is (not) Ecotourism? | Global Ecotourism Network (GEN)". Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  2. ^ Honey, Martha (2008). Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Second ed.). Washington, DC: Island Press. ISBN 978-1-59726-125-8.
  3. ^ "Ecotourism vs Sustainable Tourism". Integra: developing impact from opportunity. September 1, 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-09-01.
  4. ^ *Ṣadrī, Bahrām Nikūʼī (2010). مبانى زمين‌گردشگرى با تأکيد بر ايران [Fundamentals of Geotourism With a Special Emphasis on Iran] (in Persian). Tehran: SAMT. ISBN 978-964-530-415-5. OCLC 889667013. Introduction available in English at Sadry, Bahram N. "Introduction to Fundamentals of Geotourism With a Special Emphasis on Iran". OpenEdition Journals. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  5. ^ Randall, A. (1987). Resource economics (Second ed.). New York, USA: John Wiley & Sons.
  6. ^ Stabler, M. J. (eds.) (1997, page 45) Tourism and Sustainability: Principles to Practice. CAB International: Wallingford.

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