Ecotourism : Understanding Its Real Concept and Importance

Ecotourism is not just another fad for promoting budget travel tours that encourage more people to spend recreational money on visits to destinations.

Global ecotourism is an approach that aims to alter the way people travel. The concept was developed after world environmental researchers gathered facts that show how tourism throughout the world has helped in bringing about climate change.

First off, because tourism before was given much importance by nearly all nations as a means of improving their economy. It became a largely uncontrolled industry that simply worked on the principle of “the more the merrier.” There was no pause to think that the level of visitors taking on air travels, using more carbon-emitting transports, and staying in energy-intensive accommodations, all contributed to the occurrence of air, land and water pollution, habitat loss and stresses in the use of natural resources.

Ecotourism is not just about reminding tourists not to leave their litter when exploring the wilderness or to put out the embers of their bonfires. It encompasses methods and approaches that address what John Muir, “Father of the National Parks”, had foreseen more than a century ago. In being one of the early environmental philosophers who observed how tourism throughout the world was taking shape and of its potential impact to the planet, John Muir remarked:

“ The wilderness is a necessity“ — “to where legions of over-civilized people, feeling tired and nerve-shaken will head as if they are going home.”

Apparently, John Muir already foresaw “overtourism” as a potential problem that the planet, its environment and its ecosystems were about to face.

In What Ways Does Overtourism or Massive Tourism Affect the Planet

Overtourism is the onslaught of a massive number of tourists in travel destinations to a point of causing a shift in the balance of nature and of the way of life of the people. A study conducted by McKinsey & Company for The World Travel & Tourism Council presented the following as a summary of the major effects of overtourism:

  • Overload of infrastructure and the resulting increase in the demand for land and water resources that sustain a region’s ecosystems.
  • Alienation not only of indigenous people but also of local residents.
  • Increased damage to nature as a result of air, water and land pollution.
  • Emergence of threats to the heritage and culture of a place and its people.
  • Degradation of the quality of tourism experience being offered to present and future visitors.

In response to those findings, the United Nations World Tourism Organization called on travelers to be more mindful of how and where they plan to travel.

As a result of the proven effects of overtourism, local governments in many massively visited travel destinations are now capping the number of incoming tourists. Not a few countries have also implemented rules that ensure the protection of their natural resources, their workers,their culture and heritage as well as the sustainability of ecosystems on which the local people and animals depend.

After all, whatever income generated from millions of tourists, a great portion only goes to finance solutions in addressing the resulting damages of the climate change phenomenon, to which overoutism was partly responsible.