Ecotourism is a means many countries use to grow and diversify their sources of cash flow while enforcing sustainable and environmental initiatives. Ultimately, the monetary gain becomes a source to improve and protect wildlife habitats.
What Is Ecotourism?
Today, ecotourism is defined as the responsible travel to natural sites that preserve the environment, support the local people’s well-being, and include interpretation and education. Education should include staff and visitors in national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, eco-lodges, and more.
To know why ecotourism spots in your area are deserving of support, here’s why.
Why Ecotourism Is Worth Supporting
There are many reasons ecotourism is worth supporting. Here are some reasons that stand out the most.
Tourists and visitors can be educated by raising their awareness about wildlife conservation. This can promote learning and correcting misconceptions and behaviors that will benefit wildlife and their habitats. Furthermore, this will help them become more responsible towards the environment, advocates of wildlife conservation, satisfied customers that will spread the word about the conservation site, potentially bringing in more customers.
One of the practical advantages of ecotourism is getting the funding needed to sustain and preserve wildlife habitats. The costs of restoring and improving conditions for animals are primarily from guest fees or donations. Having the resources to maintain the livelihood of others who take care of the site and ensure its safety is a significant contribution on its own. That’s what showing up can do to make a difference in a community. To add, it makes a difference in the safety of the wildlife too.
Reserved for Conservation Use
Many efforts were put into measuring the economic benefits of ecotourism. But what many didn’t realize right away was that the economic benefits could aid in management interventions and initiatives to protect wildlife and their habitats. The funds sustain and protect these areas from exploitation and harmful land use.
Additionally, it can deter poachers from killing the animals, especially those that are endangered. These animals are left alone in their habitats, hopefully, to reproduce. However, some conservation establishments make it one of their activities to breed these endangered species.
Contributes to the Local Economy
Ecotourism doesn’t just help sustain these animals; it helps the locals too. Local communities benefit economically from tourists that want to have a look at animals in their natural habitat. It helps the local economy and provides jobs to the people in the community too.
What Not to Forget
It’s normal to get excited about seeing animals in their natural habitats. However, it’s important for tourists to keep themselves in check. Here are some things that shouldn’t be done to ensure the safety of the animals.
Don’t Bring Anything Home with You
Unless the establishment offers activities such as saltwater fishing trips, removing and collecting plants, rocks, sand, and more are highly discouraged. Nothing should be taken out from these sites to protect their habitats and ecosystems. The same goes for damaging other artificial installations by the facility, such as signs and structures. Signs are to guide visitors and tourists accordingly, while structures are installed for the betterment of the animals. Respect the space and watch everything flourish instead.
Don’t Disturb Feeding Patterns
One common way of disturbing feeding patterns is by feeding animals bread, chips, and other snacks tourists might have in their bags. It might seem like a well-deserved treat, but in reality, it does more harm than good. When done often, disturbing their diet can alter their feeding habits, ultimately affecting their health, ability to hunt, and ability to breed. This is why many eco-parks, eco-lodges, and the like enforce the rule ‘don’t feed the animals.’
Don’t Touch the Animals
There are many ways diseases can be transmitted between people and animals. But the one sure way to do it is through direct contact. The health of humans and wildlife animals are closely associated, as evidenced by past epidemics and outbreaks in the past. It’s important that we instill and maintain existing ecosystems in these conservation areas to reduce the development of some illnesses between people and wildlife. Moreover, it’s probably safer to keep your hands to yourself anyway. Animals can get defensive if they feel threatened.
There are many ways to show up for a community and the environment. By visiting your local ecotourist spots and sites, you’re doing just that. You’re contributing to the local economy and preservation of local wildlife. Going is also a form of promoting education and awareness about nature and why it’s crucial to protect these spaces.