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Before we delve straight into a blog-worthy definition of ecotourism, let’s put ourselves in a position to understand why you should be concerned about it, as a ‘ #wanderlust’ struck traveler! Imagine renting out your home to a bunch of strangers. I don’t mean a hostel or a guest house you’ve specifically constructed for tourists, but leasing a part of what you call ‘home’.

Understood that you have invested painstakingly in all possible ways; economically, emotionally, physically and mentally into setting up the best possible architectural comfort, both for the tourists and you. Now, imagine finding that rented portion of your home, vehemently damaged each time a traveler visits and uses your facility. You’d probably consider shutting the place down.

Freedom_Trail_Las_Piñas-Parañaque_Critical_Habitat_and_Ecotourism_Area_LPPCHEA

Well, that is exactly what the fauna and flora of pristine locations feel when we, the human beings, go around forests, valleys, and mountains, leaving behind tons of our human wastes without even giving it a second thought.

The duration of causing the damage? Probably not even more than a week. But the consequences that last? For billions of years. And that’s why Eco-Tourism. That’s why, it is the need of the hour that eco-tourism should be practised with complete awareness and be highlighted through all possible channels, to influence the otherwise technologically able people into not leaving harmful wastes in untouched locations.

What is Ecotourism?

blue lake

Ecotourism is the tourism practice which involves visiting places that are part of the ‘ecosystem’. Most prominently, tourists do not visit these locations frequently. It could be an off-beat location you discovered through some social media platform or a location that was found by you during your random wanderings off the map. But the definition does not just end with a ‘discovery’ of new locations.

Eco-tourism also means to visit those places with an intention to conserve its wildlife, environment and also gather as much knowledge as possible, sufficient to create awareness about the location. These are the most important characteristics of ecotourism and helps conserve a particular area and its indigenous species so that its environmental aspects remain intact and that in turn boosts ecotourism in India.

That being said, using environmental-friendly products in daily life will also endorse Eco-Tourism. This will ensure the development and promotion of sustainable ecology.

What is the Need for it?

ice_glaciers

Yesterday we witnessed the devastating forest-fires of the Amazon, the damage of which is beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Today, we woke up to the news of the Aarey Forest coming under the ax with orders for over 2000 trees to be chopped off. Need we say more?

But we will continue with our rant because the gravity of the situation needs to be understood. In very simple terms, in the name of development, they are taking environmentally destructive decisions. Sure enough, if this kind of massacre towards the environment continues, it won’t be long before the day arrives when Imagine Dragons will be proved right and we will be breathing in, exclusively and with all surety, chemicals instead of oxygen.

eco-tourism thatched house

There’s natural scarcity everywhere; groundwater, fossil fuels, potable water, you name it, we’ll assure you that it is scarce. Some Ice-bergs are rapidly melting and coral reefs dying as you read this. Random, unpredictable natural disasters and calamities occurring and none in favor of the Earth or favor of You.  Climate change is a very real thing. This calls for the entire non-political community to stand up and start voicing the need for very drastic measures.

Eco-tourism is a solution to most of the above problems. To save the environment, we need the proper implementation of the laws. This, in turn, will boost eco-tourism which will not only help the environment but ensure a healthy way of life for future generations.

How to Practice it?

You asked and we have the answer! Below we’ve highlighted five principles of ecotourism and the essential steps to grant yourself the badge of an eco-tourist. Also, we assure you, it’s the most precious badge you’d achieve!

  1. say no to plasticNo to Plastic: By all means, plastic NEEDS to be banned from the Universe! But on a personal level, this is the most important step to encourage eco-tourism. Plastics are choking the soil, the seas, the plants, the fishes and the humans. Replace plastics with glass, steel for bottles and jute or any other cloth material for bags.
  2. Yes to Environment Safe Products: Once the plastic is removed, other harmful elements are made from chemicals that pollute the land and water bodies. Instead use environment-grade products that you can use on multiple occasions, especially while traveling. For example, instead of using sanitary napkins, use a menstrual cup. That way, your visits will be free from biological wastes.
  3. blue waterfallNo to Human Waste: Everyday, there are hundreds of locals from the tourist-heavy areas whose only job is to clean the wastes that you leave behind. Here’s where the introduction to this piece comes handy. What if they did the same to your Home? Don’t leave wastes lying around here and there and if possible, don’t leave behind wastes at all. Carry your discarded items with you while you travel and dispose them of in proper locations. The same applies to forests and trails that have not been explored much.                   We understand the excitement, but if you want to leave a mark behind, do so with your kind deeds not with non-biodegradable wastes.
  4. Yes to Knowledge: The best gift that you can give yourself and to the environment in knowledge. Learn and read about the places before you visit them. Take some time out to find out about the environmental conditions. Ensure that anything you or others around you do, do not disturb the local habitat and the sanctity of the location.

Now that we’ve armed you with the knowledge and importance of eco-tourism, it’s your turn to do the needful and pass on the knowledge. Let’s just take an oath to be friendly to the environment and ensure that others are doing the same. Also, don’t forget to share your views on eco-tourism with us!

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By Abhishek Saraswat

Abhishek (@himalayan_gypsy) is a travel photographer and blogger known as Himalayan Gypsy over the internet. Academically from an engineering background and born the Himalayan valley of Dehradun, he found himself in love with nature and ever since he has been on a journey to travel India and showcase the beauty of the country through his pictures, motivating and encouraging people on the go to feel the same and also take responsibilities to conserve our rich heritage, culture and environment. He is a Certified Digital Marketer and a Travel Influencer who is efficient to create visually appealing content for Travel Brands, Property Owners, Cafes and other Product Shoots. He also specializes in running Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns for Brand Awareness, Brand Promotion and Online Reputation Management.

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