Hi guys! Today I’m going to talk about ecotourism. While ecotourism can be good for the environment, there are some downfalls that we might not notice when on a fun vacation.

What is ecotourism?

According to Oxford Languages, ecotourism is “tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.”

This can include things like going on safaris, riding camels, playing with dolphins, etc. It is a really fun way to enjoy our world.

The pros

Ecotourism can be great, because it helps the economy for a certain area, and allows more people to get jobs. It also creates awareness and appreciation for certain areas of the world.

Ecotourism provides an alternative to practices that might be hurting the local wildlife (poaching when forced to, etc. )

The cons

You might be thinking, how on earth can ecotourism be a bad thing.

Well here’s the truth, sometimes people can use ecotourism and the fact that people are interested in getting up close and personal with wildlife against its cause.

For example, sometimes people will keep animals that are not happy there just to get money from people who want to get pictures with them.

In Thailand, this is an extremely big problem. Elephants used to be used for logging and other trades, and that has long since been banned. People who had domesticated elephants then went into the ecotourism trade. When this happened, thousands of elephants were forced into camps where they were put into cramped quarters all for the people who would come and see them doing tricks.

While their owners might not want them to be unhappy and cramped, they have to support their families. Often times, they have to obey the camp owners, and are forced to hurt the animals.

Thankfully, this does not happen in all of the camps, and these are extreme examples. They are trying to make camps where the owners can give information about their conservation. Ones where they are allowed to roam wider and are not forced to do tricks they don’t like. This is a slow process, but they are trying to create change.

More resources

This post was inspired by National Geographic’s episode The Hidden Cost of the Perfect Selfie. Be sure to check it out for more information.

My post Daphne Sheldrick, the Elephant Rescuer also discusses a particular ecotourism project.

I hope you enjoyed learning about ecotourism. What are some fun places that you’ve gone to with sustainable ecotourism? Let me know in the comments!

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