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Travelling as an
eco-tourist brings with it the added
responsibilities of trying at every turn to eliminate or at
very least minimize impacts on the local environment, cultures and
economies that would have a negative impact on the area you plan to
- Your choice of tour
operators should be based on their
philosophy on eco-guidelines and practices.
- Before leaving on your
trip take the time to do a little
research about the eco-destination you are interested in travelling to.
Local libraries are an invaluable resource in terms of guidebooks to
get you started.
- Research local
customs, culture and history before leaving
on your eco-trip. Even if you only learn enough of the local language
to be polite, local people will appreciate the effort you have taken
and your effort will go a long way to making your eco-trip more
- Many times when
vacationing tourists like to bring gifts to
distribute to the local communities. Resist the urge to bring candy
when thinking of what to pack to bring as gifts. Practical gifts such
as pencils or pens are a much better choice if you are insistent on
packing gifts. When possible have your guide or tour operator
distribute these offerings to the local elders. This will discourage
children of the community from begging.
- Gain as much knowledge
as you can about the all important
ecosystem wherever you travel to minimize your impact on the local
- Keep in mind the
carbon footprint you create when utilizing
air travel to arrive at your eco-destination. Many times you have the
opportunity to offset your carbon emissions by using companies that
specialize in Carbon offsetting.
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- Awareness of what
local people consider acceptable clothing
is very important when travelling. Do not assume that it is ok to
photograph local people. Always ask first before snapping your photos.
Common sense can go a long way in enjoying your trip. Take the time to
- As you are a visitor
to wherever you are travelling it is
imperative that you remember that what you deem as culturally
acceptable may not and in most cases is not acceptable to the locals.
Examples of this include: perceptions of time, what is acceptable in
terms of personal space as well as having different forms of
communication. Bear in mind that these differences are neither wrong
nor of any less value, just that they are different from your
perceptions. By keeping an open mind to new ideas and experiences you
will enrich your holiday.
- Your examples of
responsible behaviour will go a long way
in showing others in your group that you appreciate local customs and
- When ever possible
promote local economies by patronizing
transportation,restaurants hotels and markets that are locally owned
- Many times bad
feelings can be generated by you without you
even being aware of what is happening. Many people in developing
eco-economies do not appreciate tourists who openly display their
wealth, i.e. high end camcorders, jewellery etc. A little
sensitivity on your part will go a long way in ensuring your enjoyment
of your trip.
Eco-tour guides and eco-tour operators
will indicate to you what their plans and guidelines are in
respect to what tourism impact will have on their local environment.
Many times these guidelines involve staying on only clearly marked
trails when hiking. Another example of guidelines involve establishing
minimum distances you can use to approach local wildlife.These
guidelines are put in place to minimize your impact on local flora and
- if approached during
your vacation, never buy any animal
products while travelling. It is also essential that you do not remove
any objects, plants or animal products from nature. By doing so you can
devastate a local ecosystem.
- Make an effort to
conserve local resources. As ecotourism
continues to grow in popularity ,pressure will only increase on
resources such as food and water.
- Don't allow your guide
to hunt endangered or threatened
species or harvest rare plants for your consumption.
- Make every effort to
conserve the environment, including
the use of renewable resources in a sustainable manner and the
conservation of non-renewable resources.