Ecotour to…? The International Ecotourism Society (Links to an external site.) defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people” and states the following about ecotourism: Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
- Minimize impact.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.
Imagine that you have won an all-expense paid ecotour vacation to any place on earth. Where would you go and what adventures would you have? Remember, this is all-expense paid so you can go anywhere! Research your dream location and give details about the following:
- What ecosystem would you want to visit and why? Be specific – coast of the northern island of New Zealand, temperate rainforest of Olympic National Park, WA, USA, steppes of Mongolia…. “Tropical rainforest” is too broad – you wouldn’t see the same plants and animals in the rainforests of Brazil and Sri Lanka.
- What habitats, plants and animals could you see there? Describe the general habitat(s) and give details about the species that are found there. Be specific. “Fifty species of fish” is not specific. Are there any endemic species? Endangered species?
- What activities and adventures would you want participate in? Snorkeling, hiking, bird watching, zip-lining through the treetops…..
- What makes your vacation an “ecotour’ and not just a ‘regular’ vacation. There’s more to an ‘ecotour’ than going somewhere out in nature. How will you travel? Where will you stay? Where does the money you spend go – to local inhabitants or to an overseas corporation? What happens to the trash you generate, etc., etc., etc.