According to the International Ecotourism Society, the definition of ecotourism is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” The principals of ecotourism include:
– Minimizing the environmental impact of tourism
– Building awareness and respect for the environment and local cultures
– Providing positive experiences for visitors and hosts
– Financially benefitting conservation efforts
– Financially benefitting local peoples
– Raising sensitivity about the host country’s political, environmental, and social climate
There are critics of ecotourism who claim that poorly planned ecotourism does more harm than good for both the environment and indigenous peoples. Therefore it is important to consider a number of factors when deciding to be an ecotourist, including which, if any, organizations to travel with, and the potential environmental, cultural, and economic impact your trip will have on your desired destination.
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