The Basics of Ecotourism: Support Sustainability and Local Economies with Your Travel Dollars by:Jamie Jefferson
Traveling is one of life's greatest pleasures, but you might not have considered whether your style of tourism could actually be a drain on your destination's resources.
The good news: today, it's easier than ever to find alternatives to traditional tourism practices. By going on an eco tour, you're helping to preserve the area that you are visiting and to minimize your environmental impact as a tourist.
Eco-tourism is different from traditional tourism in a lot of ways. It's also significantly different from nature tourism. With nature tourism, you are simply enjoying the natural areas that you are visiting. For example, a safari in Africa could be considered a form of nature tourism. But a safari that uses electric vehicles, a local guide and an environmentally-friendly hotel would be considered part of eco-tourism.
Some of the key features of eco-tourism is the respect of the natural areas of the country and an emphasis on sustainability. Eco tours seek to create a positive relationship between the visitors and the people who live in the tourist destination.
Instead of the tourist attractions draining an area of its natural vitality, eco tourism aims to boost the local economy and respects nature. Often environmentally friendly practices are part of eco-tourism, such as using natural sources of energy or using recycled materials, but the main emphasis is on preserving what is already there at the location.
Contrary to popular belief, an eco tour doesn't have to be a trek to the middle of nowhere or an exotic locale. As long as the accommodations you are staying in emphasize respecting and preserving natural resources, it can be considered an eco tour.
Eco-tourism activities run the gamut from high adventure activities, such as deep sea diving and mountain climbing, to more gentle adventures, such as horse back riding or photography. If you're ready to experience all that eco-tourism has to offer, here are some of the most popular destinations:
1. Key West, Florida: This tiny island is becoming a hot eco-tourism spot. You can take a kayaking trip around the exotic mangrove forests, view nocturnal ocean creatures and get hands on experience with local environmental scientists.
2. Alaska: Some consider this to be America's last frontier, and its thousands of acres of natural lands are being preserved with eco-tourism. Grizzlies, salmon, eagles and sea otter are just a few of the animals that you can visit in their natural habitat.
3. Belize: This country of thick jungles is a great place to stay in an ecological cabin. You can ride horses through jungle paths, view spider monkeys swinging through trees and take a dip in tranquil pools.
With some research, you can find eco-tourism popping up in many different areas around the globe. As long as you are vigilant about finding an eco-friendly option, you can find tourist destinations that don't hurt the local areas you are visiting.
About the author
Jamie Jefferson writes for http://www.susies-travel-coupons.com, where you can find Travelocity Coupons: http://www.susies-travel-coupons.com/travel.htm as well as promotions and discounts on adventure travel: http://www.susies-travel-coupons.com/adventure.htm