What is Ecotourism? According to Wikipedia, Ecotourism is catering for holiday makers in the natural environment without damaging it or disturbing habitats. It is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism. Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.
Why is it very important for us to start paying more attention and applying ecotourism on your next trip?
Tourism is one of the industry with the biggest income in Indonesia, the growth is increasing rapidly from year to year. Therefore the impact generated is very large, both positive and negative impacts. Government revenue from tourism alone reached Rp229.5 trillion in 2018. Based on Kemenparekraf, employment in the tourism sector reached 12.7 million people or around 10 percent of the total population of Indonesia.
Mass tourism that is not well organised, will greatly damage the environment and impact the extinction of protected animals. Examples of environmental damage due to tourism:
Littering; Many beaches in Bali have been filled with plastic waste generated from tourism. causing damage to marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
The use of unnatural sunscreens will cause sea pollution.
Overtourism, as happened in Koh Thachai in Thailand, which reportedly on sea damage so the local government had to close the destination
Social and economic disparity between travel agents and tourist village;. Ticket purchases from destinations by tourists are not channeled directly to the development of tourist villages. This causes social economic problems..
Lack of ecotourism education
Many village communities do not know the importance of the environment for their survival and economy. Mass fish bombing still occurs in villages. Illegal logging also resulting water scarcity in the area. For this reason ecotourism education is very important to be applied to all; for travel agents, tourists, and villagers.
The tourists often do not respect existing customs. As happened with the Baduy. They have just asked the government to close their Baduy tourism permanently. According to sources, the existence of the construction of illegal stalls caused a lot of garbage hence damage on their environment.
How to create a vacation trip wisely so you can travel without damaging the environment?
Choose an environmentally friendly travel agent
If you buy a tour from a tourism agency, make sure your agent applies ecotourism in the package. For example, by not printing an itinerary, applying plastic-free during a tour, using natural or sustainable materials, etc.
Choose destinations that implement ecotourism
Before you go, do your research first. Is the accommodation you choose eco-friendly? Do they offer activities involving the village community? For instance, a remote island in Sulawesi, Togo Eang Ecolodge in the Togean Islands National Park, 100% built with sustainable natural materials such as alang-alang roofs and bamboo walls so as to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions uses and also uses electricity from solar power and water collected from rainwater. All tours offered also involving villages to take part in ecotourism activities.
Comply with local regulations and customs
Make sure you know the local regulations and be respectful when visiting tourist attractions. Especially if the tourist attractions are also occupied by residents in the region.
Protecting nature and participating in nature and animal conservation activities
Do not litter on your journey. Some trips are designed to commit to conservation, such as Sebumi ID, with their highlight in travel with the theme Zero Waste Journey. So it's not only a vacation but also helps protect nature from damage due to the tourism industry.