Tourism as a whole is a 7.61 trillion-dollar industry, and ecotourism is a rapidly growing category under it. The year 2017 was designated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, promoting different trends and movements centered on sustainability across the industry.
As the growing effects of global warming threatens the world’s most pristine travel destinations, the international travel community has realized the urgency to make their move especially after Sustainable Travel International revealed that the industry is responsible for the 5% of the global carbon emissions.
Sustainable tourism, now termed as “ecotourism,” doesn’t have a clear definition but it focuses on an important aspect: advocating transformative and responsible travel. In addition, it can’t be categorized as just one type of travel, but it’s a form of tourism that enables participants to not only explore natural destinations but to help protect these environments.
The movement has transformed many travel companies as they shift to what is called as “experiential tourism,” which highlights experiences that help travelers understand the environment including the ecosystem that live in it.
Guided by the measures set by the industry, many ecotourism companies and organizations have reached several milestones in reverting the effects of irresponsible tourism. The results of the early years of this growing movement have brought positive impact to the several travel destinations, with activities that help preserve the environment through education. Accommodations range from eco-friendly resorts, glamping, to all-out backpack camp out adventure.
Some experts believe that the immediate rise of ecotourism can be credited to the digital revolution and how it inspired millions of people around the world to help make a change not only as enthusiastic travelers but as environmentally-responsible human beings.