Travel n Tour

Ecotourism is about getting close to nature with a purpose

Ecotourism is about getting close to nature with a purpose 1

One of the biggest trends in conservation support and expansion is utilizing something that has only sometimes been seen as a positive force: tourists.

There is no denying that in some global locations, the environment has been altered and negatively impacted by the drive to attract day trippers and vacationers. However, environmental projects have seized on the natural curiosity of humans and growing awareness of ‘green issues’ to create vital income streams.

Ecotourism also serves other important purposes. It can generate volunteers for hands-on work in areas of need. It can also be educational and raise awareness or public consciousness. Additionally, there are times when it creates revenue for indigenous people, so they don’t destroy their landscape or wildlife to survive economically.

Going back to basics vs ecotourism

It is essential to distinguish between ecotourism and vacationers searching for breaks in remote, peaceful, and ‘unspoiled’ locations. One global vacation giant reports that 55% of tourists are planning an ‘off-grid’ vacation experience for their next trip.

This is distinctly different from visiting one of the top ecotourism destinations. Rather than simply staying in gorgeous natural locations, authentic ecotourism involves ‘rolling your sleeves up’ and becoming part of the solution. It can include everything from plant cultivation in protected areas and national parks to lending skills to wildlife reserves.

Naturally, this is something leading conservationists like Virginia Chipurnoi applaud. The New York-based animal rights leader (also president of an award-winning nonprofit – the Humane Society of New York) believes fostering “a harmonious coexistence between humans and animals” should be part of conservation strategies.

This article will explore some leading examples of ecotourism destinations that engage and entertain travelers.

The Amazon Rainforest

Spanning eight countries and an incredible 6.7 million square kilometers, the Amazon is home to 47 million people and is vital in controlling climate change. So, it is unsurprising that it is also one of the top ecotourism destinations.

Attracting tourists to Amazonian settlements in countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela is part of the education process to halt deforestation. It also brings revenue to the indigenous people and conservation initiatives.

The volunteering options cover various tasks, from wildlife rescue and tree planting to the nitty-gritty of repairing or expanding eco-project buildings.


Many wildlife conservation projects in Africa secure the necessary revenue from tourism. However, some also immerse visitors in daily tasks as part of the experience, such as raising awareness and providing volunteer support.

Vivid examples can be found in Kenya, with its 54 national parks attracting more than a million tourists annually. They offer many volunteering opportunities that draw on a wide range of talents that travelers possess.

Costa Rica

This is another famous eco-destination, as Costa Rica is blessed with abundant national parks and forests that need more human support if they are to thrive. Animal conservation projects – such as those preserving turtles – are also keen to attract visitors whose money and active involvement make a difference.


Tourists don’t have to travel to remote or tropical locations to engage in authentic ecotourism. Countries like Norway and Iceland offer opportunities to experience dramatic fjords, glacier lakes, snow-capped mountains, and expansive coasts, as well as to contribute to their preservation.

Sweden holds the ecotourism quality certification, “Nature’s Best,” and it is considered by some to be one of the world’s best destinations for green travelers. Tourism organizations there are also tasked by the government to find as many ways as possible to support local economies through visitors.

Galápagos Islands

These famous islands off the coast of Ecuador are superbly biodiverse and an ecological treasure chest. Again, eco-tourists can volunteer to observe wildlife, measure it, and even nurture it. Still, they can also get hands-on with projects to help lower-income local people prosper.

Even travelers who want to view the natural beauty from a safe distance are urged by Galápagos Conservancy to only use accredited tour providers with a solid commitment to conservation.

All travelers can be more ‘green’

There are many other examples of great ecotourism opportunities and ways to practice sustainable travel.

Of course, one of the best ways for tourists to limit their carbon footprint as travelers anywhere in the world is to explore as much as possible on foot. This could mean learning the fundamentals of hiking and getting up close to nature as they immerse themselves in the great outdoors.

Also, tourists should leave the natural world as undisturbed as possible wherever they go and spend as much in local economies as possible. Volunteering for a single park litter pick-up or looking for eco-conscious accommodation can significantly contribute to environmental sustainability.

Jeffery D. Silvers
Love and share my articles, I will be happy to react on it ! Spent 2002-2009 promoting weed whackers in Edison, NJ. Earned praise for importing junk food for fun and profit. Spent 2001-2006 exporting teddy bears in Atlantic City, NJ. Had some great experience investing in tattoos in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Spent 2002-2007 selling action figures in the aftermarket. Enthusiastic about working on basketballs on the black market.