The need to seek out new places, experience exotic environments, and encounter interestingly different peoples is fundamental to the human psyche. It's no wonder ecotourism is now the fastest growing sector in the tourism industry, worth well over $300 billion a year.
Eco-tourism is travel that treads lightly on its destinations, involves travelers in the personal lives of the people they visit, and tries to offer locals other ways of making money that don't involve exploiting their mineral or biological resources.
The increase in eco-tourism parallels the rising global consciousness and the desire to generally preserve earth’s resources. It grew out of inexpensive travel packages that drew millions of visitors to preserves and locales with historic or fragile ecologies. The transfer of wealth encouraged by eco-tourism has helped many national economies starving for cash.
Madagascar, India, Nepal, Thailand, Australia, Brazil and Poland all have plentiful destinations for the aspiring eco tourist. One classic example of eco-tourism is the Safari, which for the most part, operates on a strictly "leave only footprints, take only photos" approach. Another eco-tour would be trekking through the dense jungles of India on an elephant. Some people like the idea of working on dive boats and surveying coral reefs, or hiking along the Himalayas.
Many tourists prefer this immersive travel approach. Living like a "local" can be both entertaining and unforgettable. Instead of telling their friends they simply lounged around a pool all day, they can come back with a "Survivor's" tale of rich experiences.
For an added perspective, check out this video:
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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.