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Are you an ecotourist?

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Ecotourism is all about your responsibility towards nature and its conservation. It’s about leaving behind your footprints not carbon footprints. Right from the moment you start your journey and board a flight,you are contributing to massive air pollution in the environment in which we all live. This leads to global warming which is the prime reason behind many natural calamities like flood, typhoons, drought, wildfires etc. Recent studies have shown that occurrences of these disasters have increased 5 folds since 1970 which has made life on earth 5 times more dangerous than in 1970. All this is thanks to global warming and its effects on the planet.

All of us tourists are in some form or another contributing to this mayhem on our beloved planet leading us towards a warmer earth. While you cannot do much about travelling to far off destinations without flying but there is still a lot you can do as a responsible tourist to protect the environment of the place you are visiting and also provide economic profit to conserve nature.

Ecotourism is about protecting the precious flora and fauna and the culture of the location you are visiting or going to visit. It’s about caring for the well being of the local community. It’s about prioritising your travel to be about contributing towards leaving the sensitive and exotic locations as good as humanly possible while enjoying your vacation, so that our future generations would also enjoy and experience nature in it’s purest form .

Ecotourism also helps in sustaining the lives of the indigenous people so that they do not have to live in poverty . They are trained to develop skills that help them earn their livelihood while protecting and preserving nature. The governments in many countries train the indigenous people for such skills to live life out of poverty and at the same time provide for the preservation of the environment . The people there are taught to become interpreters, guides, cooks and office staff ,who while doing their duty also help in conserving nature and also culture of the place by educating tourists about local sensitivities.

PRINCIPLES OF ECOTOURISM

1)Keep the impact of your visit on environment, nature, wild life, heritage sites to bare minimum.

2)Respect and try to nurture the local culture and sensitivities.

3)Bring awareness about the environment and culture among fellow travellers.

4)Provide financial benefits for the community and for the better conservation of the flora and fauna

HOW CAN I PROMOTE ECOTOURISM?

1)Ask the tour operator for an ecotourism package for the place of your visit but be careful because some of them cheat in the name of ecotourism . Eco is a fashionable term used widely in the travel industry but much of what is marketed as ‘eco’ may just be conventional tourism. Try and understand the intricacies of ecotourism – what features in the package separate it from others that makes it nature friendly.

2)Opt for tourism companies which support local communities/tribes by providing them financial aids and are sensitive towards local requirements.

3)By travelling in a small group you can keep the impact on the flora and fauna to a minimum.

4)Don’t make noise when you are visiting a rare species. Making noise may disturb and affect the natural habitat of the animals.

5)Never buy products made from protected or endangered species.

6)Hire local guides. Live in locally owned hotels and lodges. This will help the local people earn their living.

7)Pay a fair price for handicrafts you buy from the local people.

8)Spread awareness about the art and culture, the flora and fauna, the sensitivity of the place and the importance of ecotourism to people in your home country and to as many people as you can.

9)Do not spread litter in and around the place. Dispose it off in a dustbin or carry it with you and get rid of it once you reach your accommodation .

10)Eat local food and use public transport as much as possible. This will not only give you an insight into the lives of the local people but will also help them earn a few bucks while giving you a fun way of experiencing a new culture and cuisine.

Responsibility towards nature starts with you. If you take the initiative, it will make a world of difference in preserving nature for generations to come…

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