Every year, millions of tourists around the world flock to popular destinations like London, Paris, Tokyo and Las Vegas to enjoy their vacation. If you want to experience a different kind of holiday, you may want to consider ecotourism. Ecotourism focuses on the conservation of the environment and culture of a rural area and supporting local products and services.
You may have limited access to modern amenities like five star hotels and restaurants, but you’ll be able to truly experience and understand other people’s culture. If this is your first time to try this type of tourism, here are some tips that you should remember to make the most out of the experience.
Do Your Research
Find possible places that you can go to by doing a search on sites that focuses on ecotourism. You may also search for travel agencies that specialize in this type of tours. Getting the help of a travel agency would be more convenient since they can arrange your travel to your destination, your accommodation, as well as the activities to try and sights to see to make your stay truly memorable. It’s also important to learn more about the place to determine if it’s the right one for you.
Respect the People and Their Culture
Their norms may be different from yours. Search and learn in advance about their customs and rules. This is to avoid doing things that may not be acceptable for them. You’re a visitor in their place so you must learn how to adjust to their way of living.
For instance, from where you came from, it might be fine to shake someone’s hand when meeting them for the first time, but this may not be proper for other people. You may need to bow your head or give a nod instead. It’s important to learn about their culture so you’ll know the things that you can and cannot do to prevent unintentionally disrespecting them. The locals will be nice to you if you show them your respect and this can make your trip even more fun.
Support Local Businesses
This is one of the main factors of ecotourism. Places that offer ecotourism prevent the rise of big hotels and other commercial structures. This is because they aim to improve the livelihood of the locals. You may find nearby commercial businesses in the area, but choose to get the products and services offered by the locals to show your support.
There are locals offering places where you can stay during your vacation. Again, they may not have the same modern amenities as the ones that you would see on five star hotels, but this is a great way to experience how to be one of them. Eat on local diners or restaurants as well. As they say, the best way to learn about the place is to try their local cuisine.
Most tourists purchase souvenirs in order to have something to bring home, which will remind them of their trip. Locals usually sell these items, so you wouldn’t have problems getting authentic products made by the natives. You may also purchase some to give your friends and family back home.
Learn More About the People and Their Traditions
Living with the locals and experiencing their culture and traditions would help you understand them better. While research can give you a heads up on these, you’ll have a better understanding if you experience it first-hand. You’ll be able to appreciate someone’s culture better when you become part of it.
Get to know the local activities that you can participate in. You may ask the locals themselves about these events. If you booked a trip with a travel agency, you may check in advance on what are the activities that you can join in.
Conserve the Environment
Another important focus in ecotourism is the conservation of the environment. These places are usually untouched so you must do your part in order to preserve their beauty. Take photographs if you want to keep the memories of your vacation, but don’t take or pick anything in the surroundings like the flowers and plants. Don’t litter anywhere, but throw your garbage on the right disposal. This is a basic knowledge that all tourists must do, but unfortunately, a lot of people forget about it.
Follow these tips and you’ll have a memorable and meaningful eco tour.
Featured and 1st image by Sze Ning from Malaysia (Flickr – image description page) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
2nd image by mwanasimba from La Réunion [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons