Thanks to social media and various other image sharing platforms the word ‘wanderlust’ has been used abundantly making us all yearn for the picture perfect travel itinerary. What we tend to forget is travel comes with the added responsibility of traveling to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education as defined by the TIES (The International Ecotourism Society, 2015).
Ecotourism in India may not be something we have heard of, that often, but those that care about saving the green planet need to do their bit to conserve the country’s natural heritage, albeit with small steps at a time. Starting from being conscious of small changes, promoting the lesser developed, offbeat areas and endorse the traditions and culture of the place as a traveler. The advantages are numerous; we as explorers get to live experiences, and nature as a whole, gets to live. Ecotourists should continue small-scale and low impact trips to maintain a low carbon footprint.
Here are some of the ways you can contribute to ecotourism in small yet useful ways:
1) Learn about the flora and fauna of the place that you would be visiting. This can guide you to plan sightseeing without intruding into their natural habitat. It also brings you a step closer to the heritage,the culture of that particular place and understand the way of living. Ecotourists experience pristine and relatively undisturbed areas of the world and have the opportunity to interact with biotic components of the natural environment.
2) Reduce your carbon footprint by taking direct flights, as having several layovers in your trip. Consider the most carbon efficient forms of transport, carpool where possible. Reducing the use of one-time use products and plastics can have a larger impact than you can imagine.
3) Switch to resorts, hotels that promote the use of local products and generate employment for the local community. A regular income for the livelihood of the local communities ensures the Wildlife and the habitat they live in are protected and preserved.
4) Empower and Support local tribes with business opportunities. Consider buying organic and recyclable products from local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Support small scale businesses such as shops, cafes, restaurants.
5) Visit offbeat and lesser crowded areas at off-seasons while exploring. This not only makes your travel stress free but gives you numerous advantages such as discount rates, more lodging amenities, more privacy and downtime.
Wildlife tourism has emerged as an important sector of Tourism globally. The multitudes of economic and employment benefits provided by offering tourism opportunities in and around wildlife or nature reserves are recognized. However, the negative ecological impacts on nature and on wildlife are widely debated. As nature-based tourism continues to grow, it is crucial we understand these trends and enact policies to sustain growth and mitigate negative impacts.
Your Dream destination is also somebody else’s HOME!
People like you and me live in these places and just like anybody, you would want the visitors to leave your home in a decent condition. You wish that they would have cleaned up after themselves while taking back memorable experiences and not a piece of your place. This does not mean you have to give up on your luxuries and comfort but rather redirect the sources to enable a sustainable tourism.