As an eco- traveller it is your responsibility to prevent or minimise any
negative impacts on the environment, local community and economy of the destination
you are visiting. Our aim is to provide guidelines that will help you to remember
the principles of ecotourism throughout your trip.
Before you go
Choose your travel provider on the basis of their eco principles and
Educate yourself about the destination you are visiting by reading guidebooks
and travel articles.
Be aware of local history, culture and customs of the locals before arriving.
Learn enough knowledge of the language to be polite i.e. hello, please and
thankyou. By making the effort to learn even the basics it will be appreciated
by locals; and enrich your experience.
When packing, if you want to bring gifts for local people in developing
countries don't give sweets; instead bring clothes and pens, and ask your
tour operator or driver to give them to community elders so that you don't
encourage begging from children.
Learn about the vital eco-systems before arriving.
Be sensitive to the local culture by wearing clothing that is accepted.
Be aware of people's sensitivity to being photographed; always ask first.
Observe local customs.
Remember that you are a visitor and therefore be aware that your cultural
values may differ from those of the locals. This may include different concepts
of time, personal space, communication etc. which are not wrong or inferior,
Demonstrate responsible behaviour to other travellers who are less informed
than you by acting as an example.
Use local transportation, guides, inns, restaurants and markets to benefit
the local economy.
Be sensitive to displays of wealth in front of people from developing
countries. By displaying possessions such as cameras and jewellery, feelings
of jealousy may be created which then generates barriers that inhibit genuine
interactions between travellers and locals.
Ask your tour operator or guide what their established environmental
guidelines are for limiting and improving tourist impact on the environment
and local culture. General guidelines involve staying on trails, maintaining
set distances away from wildlife, and not encouraging drivers to move too
close to wildlife, even if it is tempting for getting a better picture.
Comply with international environmental conventions. Do not buy any animal
products while travelling. Do not remove any objects, plants or animal products
from nature. Not only can these affect fragile ecosystems, but is also illegal.
Conserve Resources. Be aware of resource shortages such as water and
food as many tourist destinations are under increasing pressure.
Don't allow your guide to hunt endangered or threatened species or harvest
rare plants for your consumption.
Encourage practices to conserve the environment, including the use of
renewable resources in a sustainable manner and the conservation of non-renewable
Continue with your commitment to conservation at home by incorporating it
into everyday life. Support organisations or societies that follow eco-principles
and share your experiences with others with the goal of increasing awareness
of environmental issues.
These recommended guidelines should be followed by all eco-travellers. However
by choosing a tour operator through EcoTour Directory, a small part of the
work has been done for you as the eco-policies of every listed operator has
already been reviewed; and is displayed for you to read about.
By encouraging the tourism industry to comply with these policies on a local,
regional and national level the aim is to restructure the tourism industry
into making a positive impact towards environmental sustainability, economic
sustainability for all stakeholders and the preservation of culture. By choosing
only travel providers that hold eco-principles, the rest of the tourism industry
will be forced to follow due to the power of consumer demand.
Our good friends at Hi Tec kindly offered a pair of their their ION Mask 100% waterproof hiking boots to try out on tour. The boots are called the V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe WPi. We've not had them long but we love these boots already!
Our friends at TreeHugger.com covered the eco benefits of Hi Tec Ion Mask in a recent article. You can read that here:
The level of waterproofing really has to be seen to be believed. We've included a video below so you can see the effect for yourselves. In the video you can see how water reacts to a piece of card that has had ION mask treatment. It will give you some idea of how good this feature is on the boot!
Share your Eco Travel Tips:
Did we miss anything? What would you add onto the guidelines for an eco traveller?