Perfect Ecotourism probably doesn’t exist, but everyone can play their part by following these simple guidelines during your stay, so you can help us preserve our natural and cultural heritage for many years.
Before Your Trip
- Plan your route to minimize carbon emissions- travel by train or public transportation whenever possible.
- Ask your tour operator about their responsible tourism policy. Be sure to get information on how to minimize environmental impacts and support the local economy.
- Read about the local culture and learn a few words of the local language- travel with respect and you will earn respect.
- Remove your excess baggage- waste disposal is difficult in remote areas and especially in developing countries.
- Seek specific advice to local people to ensure responsible travel to your destination.
- Ask the ecolodges manager if there are useful gifts that you can leave for the staff, local residents or school.
While on Holiday
- Choose tours and services that demonstrate social, cultural and environmental sensitivity.
- Remember that low prices mean low salaries for employees and poor service quality.
- Buy local produce in preference to imported goods.
- Try to put money into local peoples hands; drink local beer or fruit juice rather than imported brands and stay in locally owned accommodation wherever possible.
- Hire a local guide You will discover more about local culture and the local way of life.
- Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods, skin, bones, feathers or ancient artifacts.
- Respect local culture, traditions and holy places Remember that local people have different ways of thinking and concepts of time. Cultivate the habit of asking questions (rather than the habit of knowing the answers).
- Don’t treat people as part of the landscape; they may not want their picture taken. Ask them first and respect their wishes.
- Learn the local language and be mindful of local customs and norms. It can enhance your travel experience and you’ll earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people.
- Use public transport Hire a bike or walk when convenient- it’s a great way to meet local people on their terms.
- Use water sparingly It’s very precious in many countries and tourists tend to use far more than local people.
- Follow protected area regulations that prohibit taking any kind of weapons, including machete. Hunting and logging is strictly forbidden in all tourism areas.
- Protect wildlife and flora. Do not touch, harass nor feed wild animals. You may transmit human diseases to them.
- Think about what happens to your rubbish. Take biodegradable products and a water bottle filter. Be sensitive to limited recourses like water, fuel and electricity.
When you Get Back
- Write to your Tour Operator or Ecolodge with any comments or feedback about your holiday, and especially include any suggestions on reducing environmental impacts and increasing benefits to local communities.
- Finally, if you’ve promised to send pictures or gifts to local people remember to do so. Many are promised and not all arrive.