Ecotourism is about responsible travel. The latter is about an attitude and a set of behaviour that bring about a win-win situation for the tourist, the destination, the community and the environment. Answer the following questions and find out if you have what it takes to leave a site in a better state than when you first set foot on it.
DO YOU: 1. Seek places with compelling natural attractions? You are more magnetised to natural places instead of man-made attractions. You are even willing to go to remote destinations just to experience something that few people have discovered. You are willing to see and experience new things because you believe that they will be part of your growth. 2.Prefer to be with nature and learn its mystery and secrets? You know that nature can teach you many things and that their mystery fascinates you endlessly. When you are with nature you are like a sponge that is constantly absorbing knowledge and information, and you seek interesting interpretations and stories of the places you visit.
3. Appreciate culture and heritage? When you travel you also seek to deepen your understanding of the culture of the people as seen and felt in the tangible and intangible aspects of their heritage. You find meaning in the way human culture and nature are interwoven and connected. You appreciate local food (no matter how strange, weird and different they may appear to be), dances, songs, rituals, practices and beliefs. You are constantly in awe of how people's lives are deeply connected to nature.
4. Follow rules and regulations and understand the reasons for them? You understand that tourists can de destructive and can leave negative impacts in the places they visit. You appreciate and understand that rules are important in making sure that people behave responsibly in order to minimise these impacts.
5. Willingly pay a premium for life changing experiences? You understand that community members who are engaged in tourism are just like you, making a living in order to provide for their families. You appreciate that they are working hard to provide you with best service that they can given their limitations in resources, training and knowledge. You know that every cent that you spend while on the site will provide an economic incentive for the local residents to conserve the natural environment. You fully understand the concept of inclusive growth such that you are even willing to pay more for a life-changing experience.
6. Behave responsibly especially in protected areas? You do not collect wildlife for souvenirs, leave graffiti behind, do not create bonfires if it is not allowed, hire guides if it is required, practice "Garbage in-garbage out" and makes sure that you do not leave your trash behind. You also understand that it is better not to use disposable containers for packed lunches and food when you travel because this practice adds to the garbage problem.
7. Value the places you visit? You feel proud to have visited the site and wish others to experience it too but with a sense of responsibility and care. You know that the place is valuable not only as an attraction that is pleasing to the senses, but it is also valuable ecologically and economically, especially for the community that is engaged in ecotourism enterprises. You now have a sense of stewardship and appreciates the reason why community-based tourism is being implemented on site. You feel that you are now a partner towards the cause and you are willing to promote the same principles to other people.
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