"I'm an ecotourist," a tourist says with a packet of branded potato chips in hand. Ecotourism, sustainable tourism and responsible tourism are some of the many words thrown at travellers by tourism departments and tourist resorts alike.
How authentic is the ecotourism package offered to the guy with potato chips? Let's find out!
There need not be any hard and fast rules to be a good ecotourist. However, it is better if one has a sense of the common grounds that ecotourism thrives under.
1. Be an inquisitive traveller. Ask the right questions. Is the package authorised? Do local communities benefit from the resort you stay at?
2. Interact with the locals.
3. Don't be an intruder. Whether you're in forest lands or villages, be a good observer.
4. Hire authentic local guides to get a better picture of nature and culture.
5. Support conservation programs.
6. Do not litter the place you visit.
7. Eat healthy. Avoid aerated or alcoholic drinks.
8. Make your campsite eco-friendly. Avoid using wood to light fire.
9. Avoid soaps, detergents and other chemical products to bathe or wash clothes.
10. Do not try to take a piece of wildlife or nature along. Seeds and rocks are part of the bio-system there.
11. Encourage local communities by buying their products if any.
12. Be an informed traveller. Awareness is the key to ecotourism.
Ecotourism is the answer for growing depletion of natural and cultural heritage of the planet. It not only enriches an individual's travel experience but also adds to the economic empowerment of local communities. The awareness and understanding of nature and culture increases two-fold when one decides on an ecotour.
Photos Courtesy: Kerala Tourism