The term Eco Tourism is often misunderstood. Owing to the prefix ‘ECO’ it is automatically assumed it refers to travel and recreational activities related to nature. While the above might be true, it is not the exhaustive definition of Eco Tourism.
Eco tourism is manner of travel and tourism that focuses on accommodating and entertaining tourists in ways that are minimally intrusive and destructive towards not only the natural habitats of the destination but also the native cultures.
Eco Tourism works towards supporting the diversity of local economies, which may or may not be traditionally dependent on tourism-related incomes. The purpose is not to impose functional but standardized systems in the tourism industry but to tie-in indigenous and traditional forms of livelihood into the tourism industry.
In the current crisis scenario of global warming and climate change, it is necessary for the tourism industry to work towards the preservation of natural treasures. Eco Tourism encourages both tourists and hospitality service providers to minimize adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment through the promotion of recycling, energy efficient, water reuse and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities.
Eco Tourism is the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, according to the World Tourism Organization with an annual growth rate of 5% worldwide and cannot be taken lightly. A country like India, with its diverse ecosystem and cultures, has great potential for Eco Tourism. There already exist many destinations in the country which promote Eco Tourism. Some of them are:
Namdapha National Park
Daman and Diu
Jammu and Kashmir
The Floating Islands
Lava and Lolaygaon