What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a term that has gained a lot of popularity. But, what does it really mean? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ecotourism is a noun that is defined as, “Tourism to areas of ecological interest (typically exotic and often threatened natural environments), to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife; enabling controlled access to an endangered environment so as to have the least possible adverse effect.”
There are many operators that claim to form part of ecotourism when, in reality, they do not. Many companies simply take people to natural environments (aka partake in Jungle tourism). We acknowledge that you might have come across this type of marketing. We ask you not judge all travel companies...we are not all created equal. In fact, there are many of us who actively protect the environment and its people.
Ecotourism & the Local Community
We know the feeling, you’re preparing to go on the vacation of a lifetime and you can’t help but feel elated. You imagine trekking through ancient paths, meeting new and exciting animals. Maybe you see yourself learning about different cultures, or picking up a new word or two. (See our ‘Chatting Corner’ in our country pages for some key phrases in local languages that you can use during your travels). Or, maybe you envision yourself doing all of this while hiking through jungles and giving back to Nature. These scenarios are what ecotourism and, luckily, we are all about.
Wildthentic caters to ecotourists who are interested in learning about their environmental impact. Ecotourists care about the ecosystems, traditions and cultures of their destination. We believe they should have that without having to forfeit adventure, thrill, and relaxation.
Now, it is important to keep in mind that tourism, when done right, is not only good for the wildlife but also for the local communities. Ecotourism allows local populations to remain employed without having to work for large corporations, and/or depend upon the land and its natural materials. It is no secret that the wealth of lesser developed countries is usually connected to drilling, digging up, logging, and destruction of natural resources (forests and minerals). Even activities such as poaching threaten wildlife species. Highly sought after goods include tiger skins, and elephant or rhino horns, among many others. These are practices we avoid and oppose.
We wholeheartedly believe that tourism should never be at the expense of the local community.
We work with locals and sort through authentic experiences they provide within their region. These efforts are done in order to avoid unscrupulous companies that take advantage of the community. Instead, we empower those that uplift the community. Whether it's visiting an Inuit family in Greenland or trekking through Petra with the Bedouins, we make sure that each and every individual is taken care of. This also ensures that the experience remain authentic. When people are treated fairly, there is no need for show and/or staged adaptations of 'exotic' life.
How Ecotourism addresses Travel and Wildlife Conservation
The great thing about ecotourism is that it's a win-win for everyone. As stated before, this form of travel allows for local communities to thrive without having to harm the environment. Whilst enabling visitors to learn how to treat the land and visit animals in the wild, without disturbing their surroundings. Due to our refusal to work with companies that exploit both the people and/or the land, we are able to protect, support and raise awareness about the beautiful wildlife habitats you will find within Wildthentic’s catalogue.
Luckily, there are people like you out there in the world who take an interest in responsible travel and look for ways to visit exotic destinations while helping conserve endangered species. There is more to seeing whales than just getting on a boat and finding them. There are practices that are put in place in order to ensure that animal welfare is taken seriously and that the experience is more about sharing nature's magnificence than it is about generating profits. This is the difference between a responsible tour and an irresponsible one!
Can Ecotourism help conserve Endangered Wildlife?
Yes! In order for a habitat, and its animals, to be conserved people must
1. change their mindset
2. change their actions.
Let's face it, animals are often overlooked, they are these cool far off creatures that modern day society manages to forget and make a spectacle out of. What responsible wildlife travel does is bring back the appreciation of seeing these creatures in their natural habitat. Instead of forcing the animals to adapt to our circumstances by capturing these magnificent creatures and putting them in cages or hunting them for trophies, travellers are welcomed into the natural habitat of the animal and pushed to adapt to their environment. This might seem like a small detail but, to wildlife, this is the difference between survival and extinction. This way, animals become more valuable alive than dead. This forces governments protect the land and ward off poachers. The money generated from ecotourism protects wildlife on a national, but most importantly, international level.
In each of our Activity Pages, you will find a section that reads X Activity & Natural Environment. This section not only discusses how each of our activities creates the perfect connection with nature but in some cases, as is with Dogsledding, we will feature a section that discusses animal welfare. This is a topic we also touch upon within the description of our Experiences.
Wildthentic provides ecotourism, cultural immersion, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in incredible destinations.
Our experiences are handpicked and work to place you, the traveller, in the most incredible locations. It is our job to provide breath-taking environments that allow for out-of-this-world wildlife encounters. For example; seeing humpback whales breach from a kayak, swimming next to wild dolphins, tracking pumas or creating the opportunity to bond with sled dogs, local alpacas or goats.
We would also like to mention that we only work with certified, well trained, and responsible guides, drivers and operation managers. We are aware that our company exists because of Nature and all her bountiful gifts. Therefore, it is our mission to protect the land and those who reside on it, as well as, keep your experiences both Wild and Authentic.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s article. Let us know about your experiences with travel and wildlife conservation. This is a topic we will continue to write about and further discuss in the future. Have a beautiful week, and remember, ecotourism is the way to go!