What is ecotourism? – What can I do with it?

Have you ever been somewhere that is famous for its astounding natural beauty or its fascinating local customs, only to be disillusioned and horrified when you realise that this seemingly ideal destination has been tarnished by human endeavour and money-making schemes? You have? Disappointing isn’t it! Well, don’t fret, because ecotourism is here to counteract the negative impact that tourism has on the natural world and local communities.

Careers in ecotourism are all about the creation and promotion of responsible and sustainable travel opportunities. Consequently, if you are tantalised by travel and have a passion for the environment, then this could be the right career path for you.

Why is ecotourism so popular?

Tourism puts a strain on the environment across the world. The invasive nature of mainstream tourism activities can have a hugely detrimental effect on natural habitats and local communities.

The ecotourism destinations that are gradually springing up all over the world are a far cry from the huge hotels, water sports, construction projects, traffic and drunken revelry that characterise the average package-holiday destination.

Essentially, ecotourism aims to provide environmentally-conscious tourists with a fantastic opportunity for travel, which is enjoyable, responsible and interesting in equal measure.

Eco-holidaymakers get the opportunity to enjoy natural environments away from the hustle and bustle of tourist-ridden beach resorts, whilst getting environmental education and an opportunity to get involved with conservation or community outreach programmes.

If you want to work in this area, you will get the chance to travel and help the environment at the same time. What more could you want?

What can I do within ecotourism?

Ecotourism incorporates many different areas of work. Consequently, you can pursue your ecotourism career in a broad range of roles.

Eco-resorts and environmentally-friendly hotels need to be constructed using the most ecologically sound methods. Consequently, you could pursue a career that focuses on the development of eco-friendly properties.

In this line of work, you would be conducting environmental surveys of target locations, determining the feasibility of projects, deciding which materials need to be sourced and then supervising the design and construction of these ecological paradises.

All kinds of people can play a part in this side of ecotourism, from architects and construction managers, to environmental engineers and environmental consultants.

Much like any hotel or holiday resort, ecotourism resorts require managers and staff to make sure guests have an enjoyable and relaxing time. If you want more information about these roles, you can check out the Hotel/Accommodation subsector now!

However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that eco-hotel staff will also be inclined to offer guidance and environmental education to guests, as well as excellent hospitality and customer service.

Ecotourism management positions are not solely about providing customer care for tourists. They are also all about managing the natural environment itself. Therefore, wildlife managers, conservation scientists and park rangers will also play a significant part in the sustainability and success of ecotourism destinations.

Guided tours are another hugely significant part of the ecotourism industry. Consequently, many roles are available to people who wish to work as eco-tour guides or as environmental education officers. These people will develop an in-depth understanding of the environment that they are working in and explain environmental issues to tourists in an accessible and interesting manner.

As with any area of tourism, extensive marketing campaigns need to be implemented in order to generate enough interest from tourists. Although ecotourism is governed by good intentions, environmental concern and the need for sustainability, ecotourism operators are still businesses and need to earn enough money in order to keep their endeavours sustainable.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to work in the corporate side of ecotourism, you could work for an NGO that is dedicated to promoting the importance of ecotourism. Here, you could be working to initiate change within the wider tourism industry or making the general public aware of the benefits that come with ecotourism.

If you’re all about going green and want a career that allows you to travel the world, then a career in ecotourism could be the one for you!

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