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Difference Between Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism

There’s been a steady rise in the demand in ecotourism and sustainable tourism over the last few years. Also, the continuous rise in natural disasters such as quakes, tsunamis, floods, and lethal virus outbreaks as COVID, Ebola, and Swine Flu, have left many countries concerned. In this respect, policymakers have started working on new techniques of marketing to protect the organic image of tourist destinations. Ecotourism and sustainable tourism are the two forms of tourism or you could say tourism practices borne out of the idea of sustainable tourism. But as similar as they may sound, they are not the same. To know more, keep reading.

What is Ecotourism?

You probably have already heard of the term ecotourism, but do you know what it actually means and how does it affect tourism. Ecotourism is a rather unique form of tourism that is, in most cases, one of the best examples of sustainable tourism. Ecotourism is about visiting natural attractions or natural places, and doing so in a responsible and sustainable fashion. Ecotourism has grown as a consequence of the dissatisfaction with conventional forms of tourism which have ignored social and ecological elements of foreign regions in favor of a more money-making approach to tourism. Hector Ceballos- Lascuráin, a Mexican architect, first coined the term in the early 1980s. So, ecotourism is essentially all about traveling to natural areas with the objective of admiring the nature/wildlife as well as the traditional cultures prevailing in these areas.

What is Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable tourism is a form of tourism that encompasses a complete tourism experience taking into consideration the social, economic, and environmental aspects of tourism development from a very local to a very global perspective. But, sustainable tourism is a term that many argue is ill-defined and often misunderstood. People often confuse sustainable tourism with ecotourism. It basically refers to sustainable practices such as respective local cultures, conserving resources, favoring local businesses which preserve cultural heritage, and supporting local economies by purchasing local goods. So, sustainable tourism is about providing authentic tourist experiences while respecting the place, its people, and their culture.

Difference between Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism

Definition

– Ecotourism is somewhat similar to sustainable tourism because it focuses on having a positive impact while traveling. Even the two terms have been used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Ecotourism means making a place better for people to live in by conserving the environment and improving the well-being of local communities. Sustainable tourism is a kind of tourism that covers the complete tourism experience while respecting the place, its people, and their culture.

Objective

– Ecotourism is essentially all about traveling to natural areas with the objective of admiring the nature/wildlife as well as the traditional cultures prevailing in these areas. The idea is to focus on uniting local communities, conservation, and sustainable development through responsible travel practices. The goal of sustainable tourism is to reduce the negative impacts of travel by respective local cultures, conserving resources, favoring local businesses which preserve cultural heritage, and supporting local economies by purchasing local goods.

Ecotourism vs. Sustainable Tourism: Comparison Chart

Summary

Both ecotourism and sustainable tourism refer to responsible travel practices with a goal to have a sustainable impact or a positive impact on the communities that you’re visiting. You can do that by respecting and supporting local communities in ways that affect their lives, their livelihood, and their ecology. The government and the local bodies should equally contribute to the conservation of their cultural heritage and the natural surroundings of the place. Sustainable tourism is about what a traveler does to reduce their impact on the planet as a whole whereas ecotourism refers to a niche tourism segment focusing on ecological conservation and educating visitors on local environments.

What is the difference between ecotourism and tourism?

Ecotourism is a more responsible form of tourism that is concerned with preserving the environment and respecting the cultural heritage of local communities. Tourism, in a general sense, is not much concerned about the well being of the local communities.

What are similarities between ecotourism and sustainable tourism?

Well, both refer to responsible travel practices with a goal to have a sustainable impact or a positive impact on the communities that you’re visiting. Ecotourism is one of the best examples of sustainable tourism.

Is ecotourism part of sustainable tourism?

Ecotourism is a niche area in tourism is about visiting natural attractions or natural places, and doing so in a responsible and sustainable fashion. Like sustainable tourism, ecotourism helps in community development and protecting natural environment.

What are sustainable tourism examples?

One of the best examples of sustainable tourism is the eco-friendly Six Senses Fiji resort, which is completely solar powered and runs on a low-waste model, and uses locally sourced products. Another great example is the Feynan Ecolodge in Jordan, which is the first of its kind in Jordan and offers its visitors a plethora of authentic experiences engrained in nature. 

Why is ecotourism not sustainable?

While ecotourism is a sustainable tourism practice, it may endanger the environments and wildlife it is supposed to protect. There is also risk of negative environmental impacts from tourism. So, ecotourism is not always sustainable. 

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References :


[0]Bricker, Kelly S., et al. Sustainable Tourism & the Millennium Development Goals: Effecting Positive Change. Massachusetts, United States: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2013. Print

[1]Sharma, Anukrati. Sustainable Tourism Development: Futuristic Approaches. Florida, United States: CRC Press, 2019. Print

[2]Fennell, David A. Routledge Handbook of Ecotourism. England, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2022. Print

[3]Fennell, David A. Ecotourism: An Introduction. England, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2004. Print

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