Have you encountered terms like green tourism, eco-tourism, or sustainable tourism? It is for the travelers who take responsible measures to safeguard the ecosystem as they travel along the inaccessible areas to people. During the COVID period, though it had a tragic impact on human beings worldwide, Earth found its way back; there was less pollution, and the pandemic had a positive effect by reducing pollution. These have accelerated travelers to find a mode for responsible travel and protecting nature, making it eco-friendly. Here is the complete guide to eco-travel; learn about its importance and measures to make your next trip eco-friendly.
What is Eco travel? An overview
Eco-tourism or Eco-travel is defined as responsible travel for conserving the environment, sustaining the atmosphere of local people, and protecting it. It is about getting into the world of nature and traveling worldwide. The impact of pollution is minimalized in this form of traveling, where you get to keep the environment pristine.
Another way of understanding eco-travel is that when you travel to places where flora and fauna become the main attraction, it is your responsibility to conserve and reduce the human impact around these areas. We have to retain the natural habitat of local people, making it convenient for them to have a healthy environment.
So, we have understood the outline of eco-travel/eco-tourism, but how do we apply it? Here are a few examples to help you understand the crux of the principle of eco-travel:
- Staying with the local community
- Volunteering for wildlife conservation
- Assisting the local farmers and educating them
- Bringing reusable containers
- Avoiding Plastics
- Boarding a train or bus
- Buying food from the local market
- Taking a ride on the bicycle
- Sign up for an eco-tour cruise
Just replacing your plastic water bottle with a reusable container does not make you an eco traveler; you have to minimize the negative impact on the destination, e.g., removing plastics from the shore.
Why is eco-traveling so important?
Eco-tourism motivates the thought of conscious travelling while interacting with nature. It is a sustainable practice that is widespread and fast-growing among the people. The main objective is to encourage responsible travelling by focusing on protecting the environment, keeping the environment healthy for the local community, and educating other visitors to minimize the impact of tourism. This is a holistic approach to reducing the adverse effects of travelling. It requires educational efforts, motivation, and preaching to take a step ahead for eco-friendly travel. It is not just an individual approach but a collective approach to conserving natural resources. The eco-travel balances to retain and protect the bio-diversity and also slows down the damages made to the environment.
So why is eco-traveling important for the present and future? Here are the reasons
- It protects the environment
- It creates social awareness for future travellers
- It conserves the indigenous culture
- It preserves the biodiversity
- It creates local job opportunities for travelers exploring that place
- It empowers the local community
- It reduces pollution
- It reduces waste production
- It creates awareness for keeping the planet clean
- It promotes traditional tourism
- Ultimately, they benefit safeguarding the ecosystem
- It minimizes the impact of tourism
- It encourages the visitors to make a positive impact
How does eco-travel help?
Learn how eco-travel helps the environment, travelers, and the local community.
- Reduces the impact on the environment
Every activity during the trip has an impact on the environment. It is about where you choose to stay, what activities you do, and what you eat. All these factors impact eco-travel.
Always consider eating from a local business; it lets you explore the local cuisine and makes an impact. Whereas imported food is not economical and not environment friendly. Also, make travel eco-friendly by boarding a train, bus, or any other public transport as it helps to reduce carbon emissions.
It is essential to preserve wildlife as a traveler. At the same time, some animals attract tourists but are not treated well. Being a responsible eco-traveler means not buying tickets for places that have the animal captivated for entertainment purposes. Not encouraging and entertaining any sort of direct interaction with wild animals. An eco-traveler must improve its relationship with the natural world. You must take sufficient measures to prevent animal captivation for entertainment purposes. It is the responsibility of eco-travelers to enrich the wildlife environment. Visiting nature should be an experience for a lifetime, so let us ensure to protect the habitat for animals.
- Keeping the environment clean
The traveler must keep the environment clean when traveling to different places. But once the traveler decides to rest, keeping the environment clean becomes unsubstantial. It leads to excessive waste and plastic pollution in and around the area. Eco travel changes this view, ensuring that the place you are accommodated in has banned single-use plastic such as shampoo bottles, conditioners for hair, bathing gel, etc. Look for alternative materials to pack your food in the hotel; if not, bring this to the notice of hotel management and alert them to make the necessary changes. Check how the hotel manages waste, using refillable containers, reusing bedsheets and towels, and whether they conserve energy. Opt for a suitable stay that overcomes these negative impacts.
- Supporting local communities
Get yourself immersed in the local community. This is a unique option to discover a new culture. Stay in local guest houses or homestays so it feels light for the pocket and allows you to meet the locals. This helps you pick the regional cuisines; you shall overcome overpriced restaurants that are inauthentic with the food choices. These local restaurants give you exposure to healthy, fresh food. Also, while you shop, ensure to buy it from local shops as you will encourage local artisans.
- Preserving cultural heritage
Tourism teaches you many insightful things. Traveling is an educational experience—a trip to explore the cultural heritage of that place. Suppose you stay for a long time in an area and learn the traditional crafts from local artisans. Travel lets you experience the rich culture of the places you visit. It is worth preserving the learnings; this turns into sustainable travel.
- It makes you a conscious traveler.
Eco travel brings responsibility. It makes the traveler conscious of their choices. An eco traveler opts for public transportation, carrying refillable products, staying in eco-accommodation, and serving the purpose of becoming a sustainable traveler. Eco-travel has to gain more popularity to make travelers more conscious of their choices during the trip because this is for an environmental cause.
Top 5 eco-travel destinations in India
India is highly diversified, the culture, climate, food, and language vary from place to place. Be it the wetland in the Himalayan region or the backwaters of Kerala, our land glorifies through its beauty. It is a treasure pourer for eco-travelers seeking to witness the natural panorama. The following places give a pleasant experience for visitors; these breathtaking destinations are India's top 5 eco-travel destinations.
- Honey Hills - Thenmala eco, Kerala
It is located about 72 km from Thiruvananthapuram. The place has a stock of resources on the slope of western ghats. It is one of the fastest developing eco-tourists in Kerala. Honey Hills is a UNESCO Heritage site. The Palaruvi waterfalls are a treat for visitors as you enjoy nature trails and thrilling mountain biking. The waterfalls here are the deer rehabilitation center, which provides an exciting experience to watch them move in their natural habitat. Get to experience the place through boating. There is a theater, musical fountain, sculpture garden, etc. The eco-tourism gives inspiring moments here.
- Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
Karnataka has the second-largest tiger population in the country. This national park protects several of the endangered species. There is a wide range of trees, including flora and fauna. It has flowers and shrubs like golden shower trees, indigo berries, gooseberries, etc. The endangered species include tigers, elephants, Indian pythons, antelopes, jackals, etc. It is about 80 km from Mysore. You can travel to Bandipur by taking a train to Mysore and then take a bus or travel by road to Bandipur.
- Mawlynnong Village, Meghalaya
Mawlynnong Village was awarded as the cleanest village, located in East Khasi Hills, about 90 km from Shillong. Plastic is banned entirely and wholly. Rules about littering are strict here because they are collected through bamboo dustbins and directed towards the pit for manure production, and anyone who doesn’t follow them, is charged with a fine. Monsoon is the best time to visit Mawlynnong village, as you get a step closer to the world of green.
The Khasi Tribe inhabits Mawlynnong village; they are well known for their hospitality. The living root bridges, the silence of the jungle, the sound of the waterfall, and the church of Epiphany are the highlights of visiting this place.
It is a hill station located in Almora, Uttarakhand. This place is popular for its scenic view. It is famous for trekking, located near Ranikhet. It is an easy to moderate-level trek, making it convenient for beginners. Sitlakhet is best known for its relaxed atmosphere. For those stuck in the hustling city, the Sitlakhet visit would change the game. The activities would make it a soulful vacation.
There is a glimpse of paradise here as the villages take you through a cool breeze with the mild scent of rhododendrons that helps to relax the mind. It is a peaceful getaway from city life.
Majuli is 347 km from the state capital, Guwahati. It is known as the largest river island on the Brahmaputra, which is just 20 km away from Majuli. It attracts tourists from all over the world because of its cultural significance for the past 500 years. They have still preserved the weapons, utensils, and jewelry used in the past as treasure. This place has a unique biodiversity, has many migrant birds, and is home to exotic birds. One can reach the island only through a ferry. People here are friendly and yet particular about safeguarding their cultural sanctity.
Things to carry on an Eco-friendly trip
It is a simple task, just turning the trip into eco-friendly travel. Switching to these products reduces the carbon footprint and also helps to save money. Here is the list of things to be carried on an eco-friendly trip:
Eco travel/Ecotourism comes with a set of responsibilities due to the changing condition of the planet. As a part of nature, we must contribute to nature by keeping the environment accessible for all the living beings on Earth. Eco-traveling is a conscious movement for making the world a better place to live.
- Who is the father of eco-tourism?
Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin is the father of eco-tourism, who claims to conserve the planet.
- Which country is more eco-friendly?
Switzerland is considered an eco-friendly country, supporting renewable energy and recycling.
- Which city is eco-friendly in India?
Mysore is an eco-friendly city in India. The city has an efficient sewage and drainage system and has more lined streets, city gardens, lakes, etc,