Ecotourism is the act of visiting a location and leaving very little impact. Conservation of an area’s resources, such as energy and water, and preservation of the land and wildlife are important aspects of ecotourism. While natural ecosystems such as forests, waterways and deserts are often focuses when discussing ecotourism, the concept extends to all of an area’s environment, including cities and area attractions. The resources that were available to the locals when you entered the location should still be available in exactly the same condition they were when you leave.

Local Customs

Sustainable tourism focuses on respect for an area’s cultures and customs. The concept is not to hide your own culture, but to try to absorb and understand the local way of life. According to the tenets of sustainable tourism, sharing your own culture with the locals and trying to promote tolerance between your culture and the local culture during your visit are encouraged.

Economic Sustainability

Through awareness of the environment and the local culture, you leave behind the resources and customs that keep the local economy going strong. By purchasing local products and using local services, you help to enhance the local economy. These are the main ideas of economic sustainability. Sustainable tourism also strives to involve the locals in the tourism industry, so that financial gain from visiting tourists stays within the community.

Social Sustainability

The social aspect of sustainable tourism pays special attention to human rights and increasing the opportunities for all members of a society. While economic sustainability promotes the idea that tourism profits be kept within the local community, social sustainability deals with the distribution of these profits. The emphasis is on preventing the exploitation of one group of a society for the financial gain of another.

Focus on Tourists

While the majority of sustainable tourism’s aspects are focused on local sustainability, they should not overshadow the concept of tourist satisfaction. Many locations rely heavily on the tourism industry, so providing tourists with a rewarding experience is essential to economic success. As long as guests visit with the intention of leaving natural resources and local customs intact, the location is left with the resources to provide future tourists with the same enjoyable experience.

by Jamie Lisse

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