Global tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. As more and more people have access to global travel, the tourism industry is expected to grow even bigger in the years to come. However, although the growth in the tourism industry is bringing in a lot of money and is providing jobs to people in different parts of the world, many environmentalists are alarmed at the rate of destruction that the industry have on the environment.
Studies show that more than half of the famous tourist destinations around the world do not meet the sustainable tourism criteria. Most of the famous tourism destinations receive thousands of visitors almost everyday which contributes to the pollution and degradation of the environment.
To make matters worse, many eco-tour operators who are supposed to be advocates of sustainable tourism are not even practicing the principles sustainable tourism. Not that these eco-tour operators do not understand the need for sustainable tourism but sometimes they simply cannot control the human traffic that come their way. During peak seasons, many eco-tourism destinations are filled beyond their carrying capacity that destruction to the environment is inevitable. More often than not, the environmental losses are so great that it would take years for the place to recover.
Working Towards A More Sustainable Future
Although there are many eco-tour operators that are not so keen on practicing sustainable tourism, there are also a lot of operators that are rising to the challenge of protecting the environment and the local culture of their place. Most of these eco-tour operators work closely with the local residents in the area to promote sustainable tourism through education and information campaigns. These eco-tourism operators understand that the community plays a vital role in sustainable tourism and involving them in protection and preservation of the environment is necessary.
The local residents, on the other hand, are made to understand the importance of keeping the environment healthy to attract more business to their locality. With the understanding that sustainable tourism will mean more jobs and more income to the locals, people are bound to be more enthusiastic is working closely with the eco-tourism operators.
Aside from involving the local communities, many eco-tourism operators also enlist the help of the visitors to preserve and protect the environment. Visitors are given orientation on the principles of sustainable tourism and environment protection as soon as they arrive. By educating the visitors on the need to protect the environment, the eco-tourism operators can reduce the negative impact that these visitors may have in their area.