Getting away to the Greens

An article on "EcoTourism Agency"

By S. Gupta


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Join The Global Guide to Green Travel! The International Ecotourism Society has defined Ecotourism as a "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

Ideally, Ecotourism is a form of tourism that involves visiting natural locations. However, it's more than just that. In a broader sense, Ecotourism is a learning process that involves adventuring into the wild, understanding the culture of the local people and experiencing how these people are living in their natural habitat. One goal of Ecotourism is to foster a sustainable development that can fill the socio-ecomic needs of a region without harming the environment.

Ecotourism is thus a unique blend of environment, society and travel. It may help raise funds for ecological conservation of a region and benefit the economic development of inhabitants - all at the expense of the traveller who in turn gets educated and entertained by the pristine natural beauty of the region. All these have made Ecotourism a lucrative niche of the Tourism industry and thereby a huge opportunity for ecopreneurs.

Ecotourism attempts to minimize the negative impact of conventional tourism on the environment. An Ecotourism agency has to ensure that the activities of the travellers do not in any way disturb the natural setting or meddle with the local culture of a tourist destination. It not only helps in building environmental awareness amongst the tourists but also helps provide funds for environmental conservation through protection of the region's ecosystem. The local people of the tourist spots get financial benefits - and in some cases gainful employment - by willingly and enthusiastically participating in the management of ecotourism activities.

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Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna and cultural heritage of the native people are main attractions and need to be preserved. While providing insight into the impact of human beings on the environment, Ecotourism brings about an increased appreciation for natural habitats. Ecotourism activities involve studying flora and fauna, trekking in natural parks, bird-watching in sanctuaries and boating in rivers and seas.

Anyone willing to embark on an Ecotourism business, should have adequate experience in tourism and knowledge of environmental issues. The next step involves looking for picturesque locales in the heart of nature that are accessible, traversable and otherwise eligible for tourism. Besides the entrepreneur must know the routes, the local problems and the laws - pertaining to tourists - of his chosen destinations. The ones without any background in tourism, should ideally start small and conduct such tours through established travel agencies or Ecotourism associations.

For the adventurous type, an outgoing Ecotourism agency can arrange for a remote destination with pristine and natural surroundings, devoid of human settlement and modern amenities! Staying in such a place even for a brief period can give one a feel of what it means to live in harmony with nature.

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