Ecotourism, this word is often spoken by some people. Unfortunately, not many people know in detail the meaning and why people should care about it. Therefore, here we explain the meaning, history, and benefits of ecotourism.
Based on the Oxford dictionary, the word “ecotourism” has been recorded since 1982. Previously, the word “ecotour” was first recorded in 1973. In the dictionary, it is mentioned that ecotourism is tourism to ecological areas (generally the natural environment exotic and often endangered), in particular, to support conservation and monitoring of wildlife. Broadly speaking, this activity is an access to control the environment that is threatened with extinction.
Ecotourism is often called sustainable tourism, can be interpreted as one type of traveling activity. The best understanding of this type of traveling is spelled out in 1990 by Megan Epler Wood, founder of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and author of the six most influential books on the subject.
Megan Epler Wood, the woman who now serves as director of the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative, describes ecotourism as a responsible tour of nature to safeguard the environment and improve local welfare. Thus, to be called environmentally friendly, it must have a positive impact on ecology and economy as a means of tourism.
This activity is part of the conservation of the environment and understands what is needed by the people around so that the tourists can help improve their quality of life.
Many people misunderstand this environmentally friendly tourism. They assume that the activity as a whole is related to nature conservation and wildlife in all forms of need. Whereas if a tourism business uses a strategy that does not generate concrete financial benefits actively for the local population, then it can not be said as sustainable tourism.
Similar definitions of ecotourism are also given by The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) that the type of traveling is a natural journey that is responsible for the conservation of the environment, the social welfare, and the economy of the local population. It is also able to create knowledge and understanding through interpretation and education to involve all of them, including staff, visitors, and community residents.
This type of eco-friendly tourism first appeared in 1901, beginning with the Sierra Club outing program. The program is an annual expedition that takes climbers into the interior of the Sierra Nevada to show the natural charm of its members. They hope to raise awareness of the climbers and all who participate in the importance of protecting the forest.
Furthermore, modern movements based on environmental activism began to emerge in the 1970s. Some sources say that the term ecotourism was first created by a Mexican architect who turned into an environmentalist, Hèctor Ceballos-Lascuràin. He uses the term to describe tourism activities without disturbing the environment in order to enjoy their natural beauty and culture.
There are many benefits of this ecotourism. When traveling, the tourists do not just simply travel to enjoy the beautiful places. Walking can also give us an insight into the culture and lifestyle of other people.
Ecotourism is very beneficial for humans and the earth. As an eco-tourist, the benefits are not only limited to personal satisfaction. While walking, we can also help the earth by preserving nature where we travel. Residents around the sights can also improve the quality of their lives from tourists who appreciate their area while seeking additional revenue.
Another benefit is to stabilize the economy of local people in the tourist areas. The tourists who visit will be more sensitive to environmental conservation. Most people have tourist experience without considering the impact on the earth and the welfare of the local community.
There are many other benefits derived from ecotourism, one of which is reducing carbon emissions. Most ecological attractions also pay attention to transportation during the trip. To avoid excessive carbon emissions, they usually provide eco-friendly means of transportation, such as hybrid buses. Thus, undergoing a hobby while providing benefits to the environment and the people around can be done at the same time through ecotourism.