E-Days Away: Ecotourism Fad or Fact?
Ecotourism is a trend we can’t afford to ignore, and one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry, but just how bona fide are the eco-credentials of some of the larger tourist attractions?
It’s not easy being green. Ecotourism Fad or Fact?
What is Ecotourism? In simple terms, Ecotourism is a knowledgeable awareness when visiting natural regions, and travelling with an aim not to disturb or alter the integrity of the fragile ecosystem. Ecotourism offers the opportunity to travel to diverse and remote locations rarely visited previously.
The perception of ecotourism for many large tourist operations is to preserve natural regions, while at the same time profiting from them. Venturing forth into protected areas requires infrastructure, transport facilities, hotels and resorts, this so-called preservation can, in fact, be extremely damaging.
Deceitful assertions and the overhyping of sustainable travel makes the whole idea of being green positively bilious. Is the concept, “help us to reduce waste “just a ploy to make us feel self-righteous? The most destructive thing to the ecosystem is people, we drain resources and contribute to vast amounts of waste, if we really wanted to be green, we wouldn’t fly at all! So many environmentally sensitive claims are insincere, how can interacting with any animal held in captivity been seen to be environmentally friendly?
On the other hand, green tourism can bring much-needed resources to struggling economies, employing local staff and giving back to the indigenous population. Smaller operations are more suited to support sustainable tourism. Gayana Marine Resort in collaboration with Bungaraya Island Resort, Kota Kinabalu Malaysia, are involved in giant clam propagation, while the Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa in Queensland, Australia was listed as one of the top 100 “Green Hotels” in the world.
It’s just not enough anymore to re-use the towels or throw them in the tub. How many of us make a conscious effort when travelling to use less toilet paper and conserve water? Have you, been subjected to the growing practice of “Eco Bullying?” While in a restaurant in Samui Thailand, I visited the toilet where I found an offensive smelling basket, the sign above the door encouraged the occupant to “re-use the paper or use once and discard into the basket”. Recycled toilet paper, you must be kidding! A hotel in Australia had an aggressive sign in the bathroom, informing the guests, “Any heavily soiled or stained towels would be subject to a hefty surcharge”. What do people do in these hotels?
So, Ecotourism, fad or fact? I have always had a green conscience, I also like the idea of luxury with a conscience, either way, I’m determined to tread lightly and reduce my carbon footprint whilst showing a genuine commitment and concern to the environment and the communities I visit. How about you?