Ecotourism has become extremely popular in a lot of countries, mostly in developing countries. Ecotourism is a great way to preserve the environment while providing the local people with economic profit. According to Martha Honey book, Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who owns Paradise? There are new tourists that want a different experience from the resort world. People are starting to get into tourism that involves nature. These types of activities might include hiking, sight-seeing, zip lining, climbing, and other recreational activities. Since this boom of ecotourism has arisen, many countries have taken initiative to conserve more forests and wildlife. This also gives the opportunity to the local people to start their own small sustainable businesses. Martha Honey mentioned in her book the seven key characteristics of ecotourism are: It
- Travel to natural destinations
- Minimizes environmental impact
- Builds environmental awareness
- Provides direct money to conservation
- Provides money and empowerment to local people
- Respects local culture
- Supports human rights and democratic movements
A great example of this is Costa Rica, which have broken a record this year for having 2.6 million tourists visits in the year 2015. That is fantastic that so many people around the world want to visit Costa Rica to explore its natural wonders. In Monteverde, Costa Rica is located the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which allows the visitors access to see only 2% of the forest. The rest of the forest is protected and the visitors of the forest help contribute to the protection of the forest: some of the money for the ticket goes toward persevering the forest. The visitors also bring in revenue for the local people instead of the big corporations that are not involved in the environmental movement.
The community of Monteverde knows how popular ecotourism has become and has created small businesses that provide people with different experiences. Tourism has also become a popular career choice for students. Tour guides go into the field, and mostly work in national parks to eventually have their own business one day. Another popular attraction in Costa Rica, is in the Osa Peninsula where the Corcovado National Park is located. This national park holds 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity. It is a major attraction for people and economic source for the country. This makes the government more willing to protect the forests of Costa Rica, at the same time creating environmental awareness for people.
Ecotourism is helping combat climate change because since the forests are being reserved, there are more trees and biodiversity. The forests are acting as carbon sinks and absorbing more CO2 in the atmosphere. If the forests will use this CO2 and store it in biomass. There will be less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which will cause less harmful impacts to the environment. If there is less CO2 in then it will reduce the greenhouse effect and climate change.
If ecotourism is done the right way then more forests and natural land are going to be conserve which is going to help with climate change. If more forests are being protected instead of being deforested by people, then they will act as carbon sinks and decrease the amount of CO2 occurring in the environment. Ecotourism provides a lot of benefits, and the biggest one is protecting the environment. I am hopeful that a lot of forests and wildlife will be protected in the long term because of ecotourism.
Honey, Martha (2008) Ecotourism and Sustainable Development:Who Owns Paradise? 2nd Edition. Washington, DC: Island Press.