It’s 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live.
It has forced us to prioritise health and safety over the joy of travel and discovery, and social distancing over summer vacations. After almost a year of self-isolation, lockdowns, and working from home, we’re slowly and cautiously starting to consider travel plans with news of the vaccine being confirmed around the world. We’ve also had the time to reflect on how to travel responsibly, without causing further harm to the environment. That’s where ecotourism destinations come in.
According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), ecotourism can be defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” Also known as sustainable tourism, it is a part of the conservation of our environment, as well as learning about the different ways to preserve it. As an eco-tourist, not only can you enjoy and immerse yourself in these pristine locations, but also contribute to maintaining and protecting the regions. Ecotourism also boosts the employment and empowerment of locals and encourages conservation by providing financial relief. It allows economies to thrive without exploiting the local wildlife.
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Go swimming with sharks, adventure caving, snorkelling, and witness the great migration — there’s no missing out on the fun while being eco-conscious. You can do all of this while reducing the negative effect of travelling on the environment and without harming animals or ecosystems in the process. These experiences are carefully curated for eco-travellers to experience the lesser-seen, non-touristy and untapped versions of the environment, while also giving them an opportunity to leave it better than they found it.
From Malaysia and Philippines to Sweden and Iceland, here is a round-up of some of the best ecotourism destinations around the world. Can you pick a favourite?
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