Ecotourism

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) defines ecotourism as: "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."

When executed correctly, ecotourism can generate multiple benefits such as securing funds for conservation, providing sustainable means for economic development of local communities, or fostering environmental awareness in travelers from their experiences.

Ecotourism strives to have minimal impact on the environment, cultivate an understanding and appreciation of local cultures and biodiversity, generate social, economic and environmental benefits, and include locals in decision-making processes. Yet, when tourism to natural areas does not comply with ecotourism criteria, the impacts can be far from beneficial. No limit on the number of tourists, no restrictions on activities or too much development can cause the demise of a once pristine natural environment and therefore its value as  natural asset.

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