Going green: what is ecotourism?

With concerns increasing about the impact of the tourism industry on our environment, ecotourism is becoming an increasingly popular holiday option, both within Australia and internationally.

But what is ecotourism, and should you consider taking a ‘green holiday’ the next time you travel? We look at some of the facts.

What is ecotourism?

Ecotourism Australia adopts the following definition of ecotourism: "Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation." In a nutshell, an eco-friendly holiday is one which seeks to leave a positive, rather than a negative impact on the destination’s natural environment and  local community. Eco-friendly holidays are based on low-impact access to natural attractions, often in remote areas, and ordinarily make use of accommodation that is designed and operated with environmental considerations in mind. In addition to providing access to remote and remarkable landscapes, many ecotourism operators also provide travellers with options for engaging in activities which contribute to animal and other environmental conservation efforts.

Why has ecotourism become so popular?

The rise in popularity of eco-friendly holidays can be attributed to a range of factors. Awareness of the impact human beings are having on our environment is at an all-time high. The push for a change in the way the environment is managed and protected is prevalent, as is our individual desire to participate in that change. Ecotourism also offers the opportunity for holiday makers to connect with nature and experience stunning natural attractions often not  easily accessible for those of us who live in large cities or towns.   

Is ecotourism for me and how to I get started?

If you’re a lover of the great outdoors and you’re keen make a positive contribution to the environment the next time you travel, consider an eco-friendly holiday. There are plenty of ways to become involved in the ‘green holiday’ movement. Check in to an eco-friendly accommodation option, research providers of holiday tours and activities to understand how they interact with and improve local communities and manage their environmental impact or book a package with a tour operator that specialises in ecotourism. Small changes over time can have a significant impact, so if you're keen to make a difference,  consider an eco-friendly holiday the next time you travel.

Fly Carbon Neutral

In 2007, Virgin Australia created the world’s first government certified airline Carbon Offset scheme, Fly Carbon Neutral. For a small charge, customers can offset the carbon omissions attributable to their seat when they make a booking.  Check out this great article on the Virgin Australia travel blog for some interesting facts about our Carbon Offset program  or head to our website for the program’s terms and conditions.  

Words by Rebecca Walker. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland - Published 19 June 2019
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