The Definition of Eco-Tourism
When the United Nations declared 2002 the “International Year of Eco-tourism,” the notion of “Eco-tourism” came into its own. Eco-tourism is defined by the International Eco-tourism Society as “responsible travel to natural places that conserves the environment and enhances the well-being of local people.”
Local cultures, outdoor experiences, volunteering, cultural and individual growth, and learning new and better ways to survive in our environment are all highlighted in eco-tourism. It is traditionally characterised as travel to locations where the principal attractions are nature, animals, and cultural heritage. Responsible eco-tourism comprises efforts that reduce the negative impacts of conventional tourism on the natural environment while also enhancing local people’s cultural uprightness. In addition to assessing environmental and cultural considerations, hospitality companies are promoting recycling, energy efficiency, water re-use, and the creation of economic possibilities for local communities. All of these elements are essential to eco-tourism.
What are Eco-Tourism Vacations?
In a nutshell: a holiday that does not contribute to environmental degradation and does not endanger existing species! People in many communities have grown aware of the negative impact of tourism over time and have put systems in place to guarantee that their landscape is preserved. If you want to help a community while still having a wonderful holiday… Look for eco-tourism signposts, which are accommodations made with natural, locally sourced materials and staffed by locals. The hotel or resort should have energy and water-saving practises that are ecologically friendly. Holidays should assist to protect the environment and encourage and sustain traditional cultures, rather than contributing to their demise.
There are some excellent, instructive eco-tourism vacations available where you can enjoy a unique trip while also contributing to the surrounding community. Here are a few examples:
Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland deltas and one of Africa’s most stunning and distinctive wetlands, home to a plethora of exotic creatures. The lion is the single most popular attraction for safari-goers in Africa as a whole, and in the Delta in particular. Lions, being predators at the top of the food chain, are an important component of the Okavango ecosystem and must be properly controlled.
Christiaan and Hanlie Winterbach, two experienced wildlife biologists, began building a scientifically sound, long-term ecological monitoring programme and lion research project in a Wildlife Management Area in the Delta’s south-western corner in 1997, giving visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to track and study lions in the wild! The Delta is also home to a plethora of diverse species and fauna.
Since their beginning in 1995, Christiaan and Hanlie Winterbach have set up and coordinated the lion surveys under the cover of Tau Consultants (already members of the World Conservation Union), in collaboration with the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Christiaan, a biologist who has worked and researched in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa, is able to provide first-hand knowledge on lion behavioural patterns, while Hanlie, a botanist, shows visitors to a world of developing flora that lives in this magnificent Delta. A significant portion of the money paid for this trip goes directly to the camp, allowing them to continue their important job.
Tsitsikamma Forest Nature Reserve, South Africa
The Garden Route, located on the East Coast of Southern Africa, is one of the most beautiful regions of South Africa, with lush indigenous vegetation and woodlands flanked by towering mountain ranges on one side and the Indian Ocean with its immaculate white beaches on the other.
This is a fantastic eco-tourism vacation, with lodging accessible in the Tsitsikamma private nature reserve, which is located on the outskirts of the Tsitsikamma indigenous forest. The adjacent valleys and the Tsitsikamma Mountains are visible from the hotel. Cape Nature Conservation has designated the 14-acre site as a private nature reserve.
In addition, a newly constructed path to Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary allows guests to view numerous indigenous species such as Stinkwood and Yellowwood trees, as well as a variety of Fynbos and wildlife such as Bush Pig, Bush Buck, Lynx, Otters, Baboons, Monkeys, and prolific bird life such as the Knysna Loerie, while taking an hour long walk beginning at the lodge.
Nature hikes, bungy jumping, boats, a woodland adventure, horseback riding, golf, canoeing, sandy beaches, boat-based whale and dolphin watching activities, and even an overhead view are accessible in the vicinity (flights are available…)