What is ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving responsible travel, conserving the environment, and improving the well-being of the local people. Its purpose is to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, and to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Ecotourism is an effective vehicle for empowering local communities around the world to fight against poverty and to achieve sustainable development.
Why is ecotourism so important?
Although tourism is essential to the economy of some countries like Nepal, it can also put a strain on a destination’s resources and inhabitants, by notably slowly destroying the local environment. One of the most famous examples is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia which is bit by bit suffering from irreversible damage due to over-tourism such as coral bleaching, therefore losing the reason why tourists were coming in the first place and the economic advantages that come with it.
As a local example, Trash on Mount Everest has become quite an issue. In the last 65 years, Mount Everest has been transformed from the most pristine area to a trash dump of camping gear, oxygen tanks, garbage, and human waste. The surrounding areas are also full of garbage from the lodges and villages.
These cases are far from being isolated ones. In fact, if not monitored, many places are at risk.
Therefore, it is essential to adopt ecotourism as soon as possible to preserve and foster respect for some of the most beautiful places and people on Earth.
"What are KEEP’s actions regarding eco-tourism?"
- KEEP actions focusses mainly on Ecotourism through different programs:
- First, KEEP promotes sustainable tourism and provide environmental and cultural education to travelers and the tourism industry through the dissemination of free, impartial information and training programs.
- KEEP also enables sustainable development through its many outreach projects and ongoing educational initiatives, that bring a more equitable distribution of the economic benefits of tourism.
- Lastly, KEEP strives to empower the trekking staff and local communities by proposing learning opportunities and being at the forefront in the advocacy for porters’ right and safety in Nepal.