What is ecological tourism?

The formal definition of ecotourism is limited to those recreation activities that are framed in a context of Nature. To the ecological tourism It could be called alternative, since in general, it is opposed in its principles to mass tourism of type conventional.

It must be carried out in a responsible with the environment, based on the ethical conscience of the principles of sustainable development. It is an activity related to areas under different protection regimes, such as National Parks Y Natural monuments.

Origins of Nature tourism

The industrial revolution, and its derived economic development, generated a progressive increase of pleasure trips in the first decades of the 20th century. Then, the massification and diversification of means of transport after World War II induced a new wave of tourism. In both cases, their conception developed towards a mass tourism, that responded to the new economic boom what was being done more and more globalized.

After the Hippie movement, many of his followers retired to live off naturally in rural places. The decade of the 70s of the last century advanced, and with it, the echo of naturism in an environment of accelerated technological development.

These same people who had manifested a critical conscience with the society of their environment, stimulated the creation of a global movement for the protection of Nature. In this way, a decade later, the first essays of rural tourism, or ecological tourism, a movement that has been gaining followers over time.

The first formal definition of ecological tourism It was that of the Mexican architect Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, specialist, consultant in environmental architecture and ecological planning. In 1983, and under the term “ecotourism”, Laid the foundations for a worldwide development of this sector.

With the redefinition of the concept of tourism in ecotourism, a new gap was opened in the conception of Pleasure trips from the 1980s.

Pioneer countries

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several countries began to increase their offer of tourism from Low impact and of small groups. These initiatives grew in number, until they managed to attract the attention of local and national governments.

Costa Rica

Among the countries that have developed a national policy of support for, protection Y motivation to ecological tourism, it is Costa Rica. The importance of ecotourism there is such that it constitutes the largest contribution to the national budget for more than two decades. Among others, Madagascar, Kenya, Nepal and the Galapagos Islands of EcuadorThey were also pioneers in creating this type of tourist development.

Organization principles

Today, the movement has gone global and diversifies with original ideas of local initiative in all corners of the planet. The tourist activity with ecological sense is governed and grouped since 1990 by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES).

This organization defines ecotourism as “a responsible trip to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of the local population”. As well dictates the guidelines that guarantee that this type of activity is consistent with the environment Y sustainable in the time. It is made up of active members from 190 countries.

Ecotourism fundamentals

According to TIES, ecotourism is governed by a series of seven fundamentals, under which the activity must take place. These are:

  1. Minimize the impact of tourism on the environment where the recreational activity takes place in physical, social, psychological and behavioral aspects, and everything that derives from it.
  2. Encourage awareness on the natural environment, cultural roots and respect for the sites visited.
  3. Provide enriching experiences, both visitors and local hosts.
  4. Generate profit destinated to to finance conservation initiatives.
  5. Develop an interpretive memory of experiences in visiting tourists that contribute to sensitize them in relation to political, social and environmental environment from host countries.
  6. Promote and encourage the development of low impact tourism infrastructure.
  7. Recognize, respect Y assess the Rights Y spiritual beliefs of the indigenous communities associated with ecotourism developments and work together for their social empowerment.

What does ecotourism currently offer?

Diversification in touristic offergreen”Increases day by day thanks to the human creativity and the diversity that Nature offers. This offer covers three large areas of recreational activities in the natural environment:

Calm, contemplation and relaxation tourism

Being the first type of ecotourism offer that originated, this modality continues to have followers of all ages and cultures. It simply consists of the offer of accommodation and services for people seeking rest Y distraction
under the tranquility offered by Nature, no more.

Currently, on a frequent basis, this type of tourist offer can also be related to Health services Y beauty, of the kind spa Y temporary nursing homes.

A variant of the contemplation tourism
is represented by the movements of pilgrimage
towards places of great significance in terms spiritual. Among the most important and popular in this regard are pilgrimage to tibet and the
Santiago’s road.

Adventure tourism and extreme sports

In this case, the tourist offer is related to the practice of some sport with different levels of difficulty, developed in contact with the environment. These activities range from a simple hike through rural trails, even raids representing challenges of different levels of risk. Among the latter, the canyoning, the zip line, the diving and the climbing, among others.

Rural cultural tourism

As its name indicates, it implies the visit and lodging in environments that offer the traveler knowledge enrichment Y particular cultural experiences. It is frequent in places with historical significance or with particular ethnic representations.

No matter the variant you choose to enjoy, this activity should provide well-being to the visitor while ensuring the terms of conservation of the environment.

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