Ecotourism officials have a serious issue to address after industry experts claimed that ecotourism may be causing as much damage to the environment as the traditional tourism.
The Global Ecotourism Conference, a three-day conclave of ecotourism officials, will soon discuss whether ecotourism’s overwhelming success has become its undoing as well.
Ecotourism, or travelling to obscure and pristine areas, was initially promoted to curb environmental damage created by traditional tourism. But with ecotourism’s soaring popularity, the extensive travel itself has become a new reason for concern.
Alexi Huntley’s Costa Nature Air claims to be the first airline with zero net carbon dioxide emissions because of its investments reforestation projects to keep the air clean and Huntley himself is worried.
There is no other industry that has more to gain or to lose from climate change.
Travel experts fear the extensive travels to reach to far-flung places might end up emitting more and more greenhouse gas, besides creating other environmental hazards.
It’s the Catch-22 of nature-based tourism.
The three-day conference is likely to adopt a draft statement, urging ecotourism industry to focus on sustainable tourism.
Opening the conference in Oslo, Norwegian Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoey said
Long distance travel _ especially air travel _ is a challenge to all of us. We know that it has serious impacts on the climate.
The tourist industry should give priority to developing ecotourism in markets closer to home and to promoting environmentally friendly forms of transport.