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Sustainable Tourism
Q&A on Eco-Tourism

Are you an Ecotourist? Do you travel responsibly?
Environmental and social concerns are driving new concern for acting responsibly in our leisure time. In the age of responsible travel it is appropriate and timely to conserve natural resources and preserve life styles of the indigenous population. Ecotourism is predicated on these principles.

Where do you fit in?
The importance of the traveler in the eco-tourism industry cannot be underestimated. You, the traveler, have an enormous effect on the travel industry through the choices you make. Here are some tips to provide you with information that will help you to become a more responsible traveler. Acting responsibly increases your enjoyment and aids in the protection of the host country's natural and cultural environments.

Before you travel...
Educating yourself about your destination, prior to departure, is an extremely important side of good eco-tourism practice. Learning about the history, culture, language, and natural environment of your destination area aids both cultural interaction and appreciation of local ecosystems. People are more likely to socialize if you show a prior knowledge of their country and home. Prior knowledge of local ecosystems means you are more alert to different animals and plants to look for. Information is available from local libraries, your tour operator, national tourism organizations, and visitor centers on arrival.

While you travel...
The manner in which you conduct yourself on vacation determines the impact you personally will make on your chosen destination area. Essentially you can make a significant difference through maximizing your positive impact and minimizing your negative impact on the host natural and cultural environments. It is important to remember that travelers are guests in the host destination.

Travelers can help to conserve the environment by making sure that their economic impact directly benefits the local population. Question who will benefit from the choices you make. Ensuring that the money you spend goes to the local inhabitants means that they will want to conserve the natural environment that has attracted you to that destination.

After your trip...
If you observed management problems during your trip, you should inform the relevant government authorities and non-profit organizations. Be helpful. Suggest changes or areas for improvement. Acknowledge areas where you saw the successful application of ecotourism principles.

Source: The Eco-Source
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