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Travel Tales from Argentina and South America
Ecotourism is a relatively new concept whose importance resides, mainly, in that it encompasses an ecological, ethical and sustainable tourism, which seeks the minimum negative impacts on the natural landscapes and the population of nearby towns.
Ecotourism is the tourist activity that does not modify or alter the development of the environment and does not harm nature. That is to say, it is a type of sustainable tourism, compatible with ecology and whose objective is sustainable development; a development that can be maintained for a long time without depleting natural resources or causing serious damage to the environment.
Travel and tourism can have very negative consequences and cause a great environmental, social and economic impact. For example, the excessive accumulation of garbage in tourist areas alters the vegetation. Or the intentional felling of trees to build tourist areas is clearly one of the most harmful impacts, as it is associated with the destruction of the habitat of many species, architectural pollution and the loss of landscape quality.
The quality of the environment – both natural and artificial – is essential for tourism. However, the relationship between tourism and the environment is complex and involves many activities that can have adverse environmental effects. On the other hand, tourism has the potential to create beneficial effects on the environment, by contributing to its protection and conservation. In this way, an awareness is created in favor of environmental values that can serve as a tool to finance the protection of natural areas and to increase their economic importance.
Among the many advantages that this type of tourism entails, we find the preservation of the habitat – minimizing the physical and social impacts -, the use of sustainable sources for any type of construction, the development of an environmental and cultural awareness in the citizens, the involvement dignity of the local population and its translation as a source of income.
Ecotourism, is also a form of sustainable tourism, which refers to tourism that is governed by the principles of sustainability, that is, that considers the effects it has currently and in the future in order to meet the needs of visitors and generate income and employment, but causing a low impact on the social environment and the environment that this tourism receives.
From sustainable tourism comes another related term, solidarity tourism. This tourism is one that considers a way of traveling that is based on the respect of those travelers who make tourism towards other people and places they visit. In addition, these tourists contribute to the economy of the place through the use of accommodations that are located in places managed by that community, as well as visiting and collaborating in solidarity projects that are developed in the area and the purchase and consumption of local produce.
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