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Conservation Through Travel


Everyone acknowledges the two sides of conservation - ecological and cultural - but little attention is paid to the latter.
Ecoportal Wildlife Ecotours  believes it is critical that local people be made active partners in developing a local tourism industry. Money generated by tourism should stay in the community. This means hiring local guides, staying in locally owned hotels, and using the local transportation infrastructure - issues that have been at the heart of our travel philosophy from the beginning. 

Travelers can make another important contribution - information. Material benefits often slip through the hands of
the local community. Honest information from travelers from the outside world can help people make informed decisions, empowering them in their own economic development. So join us on a journey of learning and discovery, and share a bit of yourself in a land of warm smiles and open hearts.

 The most commonly accepted definition as "responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local people".

In addition to using this definition,  uses ecotourism principles to evaluate itself. The ecotourism principles used by 

Click on the links on the left to find out more information about the ecotourism principles that we use or to investigate more about ecotourism in general.

As the new millennium unfolds, we are becoming increasingly aware of the finite, interconnected and precious nature of our planet home. Likewise, tourism is becoming an increasingly popular expression of this awareness. With advances in transportation and information technology, ever more remote areas of the earth are coming within reach of the traveler. In fact, tourism is now the world's largest industry, with nature tourism the fastest growing segment.

In response to this increasing appreciation of nature experiences, a new travel ethic has arisen which is now called ecotourism. This term has become increasingly popular in both conservation and travel circles, but what exactly does it mean?

"Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples."

Most tourism in natural areas today is not ecotourism and is not therefore, sustainable. Ecotourism can be distinguished from nature tourism by its emphasis on conservation, education, traveler responsibility and active community participation. Specifically, ecotourism possesses the following characteristics:

  • Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior

  • Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity

  • Support for local conservation efforts

  • Sustainable benefits to local communities

  • Local participation in decision-making

  • Educational components for both the traveler and local communities

It is becoming evident that increased tourism to sensitive natural areas in the absence of appropriate planning and management can become a threat to the integrity of both ecosystems and local cultures. Increasing numbers of visitors to ecologically sensitive areas can lead to significant environmental degradation. Likewise, local communities and indigenous cultures can be harmed in numerous ways by an influx of foreign visitors and wealth. Additionally, fluctuations in climate, currency exchange rates, and political and social conditions can make over-dependence upon tourism a risky business.

However, this same growth creates significant opportunities for both conservation and local community benefit. Ecotourism can provide much needed revenues for the protection of national parks and other natural areas, revenues that might not be available from other sources. Additionally, ecotourism can provide a viable economic development alternative for local communities with few other income-generating options. Moreover, ecotourism can increase the level of education and activism among travelers, making them more enthusiastic and effective agents of conservation.


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