Ecotourism is a type of tourism to conserve and improve natural, rural areas. So this is quite different from a typical tour to a place. Instead, this type of tourism includes a keen focus on learning and developing that area and the people residing there.

Around 1980, the concept of ecotourism took place officially in the Oxford Dictionary. The word ecotour was included in 1973. However, there’s still confusion about the classification of the proper ecotourists. Generally, it’s based on the sustainability and economic contribution of the place while maintaining its basic identity and natural properties.

This article will discuss Ecotourism in the context of the IAS Exam.

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How ecotourism is different from regular tourism?

  • Entertainment vs Education: Conventional tourism focuses more on travellers and their purposes. On the other hand, ecotourism is concerned about a particular place, its well-being, and its development.
  • Exploration vs Observation: Normal tourism is planned to explore a place, its local features, and culture. Ecotourism is based on observing the nature and people of the place with a vision to develop the condition.
  • Relaxation vs Sustainability: Travelling is intended to relax and take a break from a regular schedule. But ecotourism has a certain aim to visit rural natural areas with sustainable means.
  • Travelling vs contribution to nature: The key difference between conventional travelling and ecotour is the contribution to nature. As the name suggests, there is room for economic development through travelling in ecotour, unlike regular travelling.

Importance of Ecotourism

  • Through ecotourism, it’s easier to reach out to the rural settlements and observe their conditions from close quarters. The significance of ecotourism lies in the interaction with the people, understanding their culture, and helping them develop their overall living conditions.
  • Conserving the environment is another important application of ecotourism. Various sensitive natural areas require particular attention and effective management. Without the right observation and analysis, it is not possible to initiate the required operation.
  • Similarly, for the well-being of the residents in the natural areas, it’s crucial to understand their community culture and lifestyle. That’s how systematic development can be done in all such areas.
  • Also, ecotourism encourages a better understanding of the environment and the importance of its conservation.

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How popular is ecotourism?

  • Ecotourism has been gaining potential popularity in recent years, and every year, 10% of ecotourists are increasing. Mainly, there are two reasons for this popularity.
  • Firstly, people want to go to a natural place and explore its typical life in the hectic modern city life.
  • Secondly, with the anxiety of destroying natural resources, people want to conserve them as much as possible out of awareness and concern.
  • As ecotourism fulfils the fundamental demand to visit a new place along with a positive aim to make sustained contributions, the idea is gaining more popularity.

Ecotourism examples in India

India has been widely supporting the concept of ecotourism. A few spots in the country include:

  • Honey Hills- Thenmala Eco-tourism, Kerala
  • Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
  • Sunderbans National Park, West Bengal
  • Tribal excursion in Chhattisgarh

Impact on society

  • Ecotourism is spreading a positive impact on society with the notion to observe natural places to develop their overall condition, maintaining their natural essence. Here, travellers are getting an opportunity to know more about sensitive places while travelling. Places like Nepal, Madagascar, and Ecuador are some of the beautiful natural places in improvised countries.
  • Even after so many positive sides of ecotourism, there is some negative effect on the environment. The environmentalists want to promote ecotourism to upgrade the rural community and conserve nature. On the contrary, the tourism industry uses ecotourism as a business model to attract tourists.
  • As a result, the rural places are getting congested, and the natural beauty is compromised gradually. So, instead of solely developing the area and community culture, it’s becoming a general tourist spot.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Ecotourism

What is ecotourism in simple words?

Ecotourism is travelling where the main goal is to explore understated places to develop their economic standards. It is quite different from travelling in a forest, as many people consider it with the word ‘eco’.

Is ecotourism adopted in foreign countries?

Yes, foreign countries have adapted ecotourism very integrally. Costa Rica, Madagascar, Kenya, and Ecuador are a few such countries.

How ecotourism is helping the environment?

Ecotourism is focused on conserving and developing natural places. With proper observation, the ecotourists find a way to develop the well-being of the residents and the area.

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