Xavi Basora, an expert in the field, we dedicated an interesting post on the clarification of the concept of ecotourism. Xavi gives us his version, his position on the different forms of green tourism and its definitions and differences. Passionate about green tourism that explains step by step what they have learned in manuals and academic texts
What: tourism observation of nature
If we start by the end of the definition (nature observation), the first approach would be the motivation (what). Indeed, the main motivation or interest of tourists when they move to a place is a way to distinguish different types of tourism
In the case of ecotourism, motivation is clear: to observe and learn about nature in a certain place, although the intensity of this desire (and, therefore, the willingness to spend more or less days, to take more or less physical effort to pay more or less, etc.) depend on each person, of course. And that arise in different profiles ecotourists.
The how: a responsible and sustainable tourism
The other perspective of the definition (responsible tourism) has more to do with attitude, with commitment. From whom? Tourists, but also the companies that sell and ecotourism activities of public authorities that regulate and control. In this sense, ecotourism should be, by definition, a form of responsible tourism (and sustainable). In practice, this can materialize in many ways
Confusion ecotourism sustainable tourism
That ecotourism is a form of responsible and sustainable tourism also makes confuse these terms. In fact, the prefix eco- further fueled this confusion because associated eco- sustainable, so many people who first heard of ecotourism immediately think that is the same as sustainable tourism. And no.
Ecotourism is a form of tourism, while the sustainable and responsible tourism is a set of principles, among which include those who have just reviewed, but others outside it desirable that apply to all tourist modalities. If so, we may speak of sun and beach tourism sustainable tourism and sustainable rural tourism and any other type. In ecotourism, the application of these principles is inherent in the definition.
Nature tourism, a concept more understandable?
Nature tourism is the term preferred by some experts (and several government) to refer to ecotourism or, at least, the observation of nature tourism (note that I have not included the “responsible” ). Although the concept may seem clearer to also generates confusion. And, strictly speaking, nature tourism is one whose motivation to observe and learn about nature, but one that is practiced in nature. It may look the same, but it is not.
The name does not do the thing
Possibly many of the concerns associated with ecotourism vanish if ever spoke of “responsible tourism observation of nature.” One name, however, too long to be released and marketed within the canons of tourism marketing. The short name, one you sound better: ecotourism, nature tourism, ecotourism or other.
And as the name does not make it the most important, in my view, is to understand what principles behind it, which are none other than promoting economic activity (based on leisure, in this case) encouraging contact with natural spaces and contributes to preserve them, to know them and respect them, and to encourage people who live there. I just do not understand these principles, but above all promote them and have them very present, either as tourists or as business tourism administrations.
Xavi Basora (Barcelona, 1978) is journalist and environmentalist. His passion is to discover areas, near and far, and share their experiences with words and images. Work Space to three works with certain media, as discovered. Believes that our country offers a fascinating natural and seductive worthy of being known, respected and preserved.