Our Understanding of 'Ecotourism'

Our Understanding of 'Ecotourism'With an increased awareness around the world of conservation and the environment, a new type of tourism has developed. These tourists prefer to travel to areas of natural and cultural interest in a style with minimal impact on the local environment. They are interested in visiting local cultures, meeting the people, discovering nature and are keen to share experiences. This type of tourism is termed “Ecotourism”.

Ecotourism provides an opportunity to exchange knowledge and understanding between the visitors and the community. This in turn helps to create a sustainable culture and to preserve the natural environment. The people have full participation in the management of the conservation of their environment and culture and in the management of tourism in their community. It provides encouragement and empowerment for the community and creates awareness in all people of the need to live in harmony with each other and nature as well as an acceptance of the differences between people and culture. 

Villages which are participating in community-based tourism (CBT) are now displaying an increased pride and interest in their culture and traditions. Youth in the community have started to wear their traditional clothes more often. They come and listen to the elders when they explain their culture and tell folk stories around the fire to the tourists.
An ideal location for tourism such as this can be found
in the mountainous areas of northern Thailand, where a number of different Hill Tribes reside. Each group has its own different culture, wisdom and way of life. This has created a place of interest for people both in Thailand
and throughout the world. Your stay in the village will provide encouragement to the villagers in the conservation of their culture and environment. The villagers enjoy learning about your own culture and feel that they can travel throughout the world without leaving their village. Through your stay, the villagers stop being outsiders, and become part of the world community.
The term 'Ecotourism' is becoming very fashionable in tourism circles nowadays. Many tours and tour agencies use this word because it can attract more customers, not because they are actually trying to use an ecological approach. To read about what a typical tour in Northern Thailand is like nowadays- an example of what 'ecotourism' is NOT like click here. To read a Lisu man's views on the effects of globalization and mass tourism in his village click here.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 20 April 2010 21:16)

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