Globally, the eco-tourism market is expanding rapidly, growing by over 8% since 2022 to reach a value of $200.8 billion this year.
This type of travel comprises a wide range of activities to suit every kind of traveler. This explains its rapid growth in these times of growing environmental awareness.
If you’re interested in activities you can enjoy with a clear conscience, keep reading to find out more about the best ways to have fun responsibly.
What Is Eco-Tourism?
Eco-tourism includes many hands-on nature-based travel activities in diverse land and ocean environments. The basic principles of eco-tourism mean designing travel pastimes that take the following into account:
These small-group tours and independently-led activities rarely result in any carbon emissions. They also leave very little to no impact on their surroundings.
In the process, eco-tourism encourages travelers to:
- Minimize waste
- Practice cultural sensitivity
- Learn more about the natural world
At the same time, eco-travel offers activities that are full of excitement, discovery, and good, clean fun.
Hiking, Trekking, and Mountain Biking
You don’t get more carbon neutral than traveling under your own steam. These activities stand out as an excellent way to immerse yourself in nature at your own pace.
These outings cater to enthusiasts of all fitness levels. You can opt for short walks, lengthy mountainside strolls, or multiple-day treks anywhere in the world.
You can pause to admire the flora, approach animals without disturbing them, and even stop to chat with some of the locals along the way.
Deserts, canyons, jungles, mountains, and the African bush are your playgrounds when you join in these activities.
Some of the best hikes and treks include:
- The Great Ocean Walk, Australia
- Wales Coast Path, UK
- Jordan Trail, Jordan
- Waitukubuli National Trail, Dominica
- Kalalau Trail, USA
- Whale Trail, South Africa
If you’d rather spend your time in the saddle, put these bike trails on your wishlist:
- Porcupine Rim, USA
- Blue Tier Trail, Australia
- Rossland’s Seven Summits Trail, Canada
- The Timberland Network, Philippines
- Welschtobel Valley Route, Switzerland
Diving and Snorkeling
The world’s coral reefs are in danger of disappearing, and education is one way to ensure we conserve what’s left of them.
Modern-day diving tours take great care to ensure their guests have little impact on these fragile environments. From reef-safe sunscreen to environmentally friendly boat provisions, they go all out to conserve these lovely ecosystems.
Passionate divers are excellent and outspoken ambassadors for unseen marine worlds.
If you’re new to eco-friendly diving, be sure to follow these guidelines the next time you dive in:
- Choose an eco-friendly dive operator
- Respect marine life
- Get involved with the locals
- Support marine conservation initiatives
- Educate yourself
Whale and Dolphin Tours
Dolphin and whale watching tours are fascinating activities, made more so by the curious nature of these creatures.
Although strict rules govern these activities, marine mammals often approach close to the boats to get a better look. This allows you to enjoy spending time with them at close quarters.
It might seem like invading these animals’ territory is an imposition, but whale watching has helped to save the whales. That’s because these income-spinning activities promote whale conservation in local communities.
Some of the most rewarding wildlife viewing activities include gorilla trekking, birding, and guided safaris. These exciting excursions take place alongside experienced game guides who will enthrall you with their knowledge and expertise.
Motorized safaris aren’t as eco-friendly since they use gas-guzzling 4×4 vehicles to get around. However, safari operators are quickly getting on board with electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles offer a double-win for eco-tourists as they save on carbon emissions and also help you approach wild animals more quietly, allowing for better viewing opportunities.
In Africa, safari tourism is a major income generator for local communities, employing millions of people. This helps with conservation, as the locals work hard to conserve the environment that provides them with a livelihood.
Ocean and River Cruising
Cruises aren’t friendly toward the environment in general, but some operators have added eco-friendly aspects to their offerings.
These cruises lead the way when it comes to sustainable, exploratory travel. They avoid the use of heavy oils by using hybrid electric cruise ships to create the greenest cruises ever.
Now, you can explore the oceans as far as Antarctica for penguin and whale watching or walking excursions in these unique spaces. Every trip aims to educate travelers with educational lectures and hands-on experiences.
Cruise guests enjoy a dedicated team of experts to guide them along the way and learn to appreciate the places they visit.
A zipline or canopy walk experience provides breathtaking views of forest environments and unique opportunities to view creatures in their natural surroundings.
Secure walkways and harnesses ensure a safe experience as you go along. These tour operators provide you with all the training you need to make the most of this experience and lots of information about the habitat.
These activities are an excellent way to enjoy a new perspective on nature and renew your commitment to sustainable travel.
Leave Only Footprints
When you’re committed to conserving the planet, all types of travel are eco-tourism. Always stay mindful of the impact you have during your travels.
Research your accommodation options, travel choices, and tour operators carefully. Make sure they’re committed to sustainable measures in everything they do.
As you go along, treat your hosts with respect and stay mindful of the need to have as little impact as possible.
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