Posted by Deborah Regen
One hundred years ago, world travel as a leisure activity was limited to the very few: movie stars, industrialists, and upper-class socialites.
The post WWII economic boom brought new prosperity to the “1st world” nations, and corporate jobs began to offer vacations among other benefits as a way of luring and recruiting top executives. Eventually such perks expanded to most employees, especially those backed by strong unions. The era of “mass tourism” rose out of this new society where the average worker or retiree finally had some extra time and money to spend. Travel agencies popped up everywhere, cruise lines were adding ships to their fleets, airlines expanded international routes and coach class seating, and bus tours went into overdrive.
Mass travel is still the dominant form worldwide, but with time things change. A new appreciation for the environment and anti-pollution measures starting some 30+ years ago gave many people the incentive to reject mass tourism and its large carbon footprint. Thus began the era of ecotourism.
Concern for the health of the planet, dismay at the loss of animal, plant and marine species, and a rising sense of activism is taking hold among the late Boomers, GenX’ers, and Millenials generations. Many are changing lifestyles at home, purchasing “green” products and services, and campaigning against harmful practices and waste. When it comes to leisure travel, they are seeking alternatives.
Fortunately there is much you can do to support ecotourism and learn to become a more responsible traveler.
Every time you choose to travel with an eco-tour company, you are essentially voting with your money. You are providing financial support to these companies, many of which are small businesses, family-owned or run by just a few people. You are saying “yes” to a low or carbon-neutral and authentic travel experience and “no” to the traditional mass tourism approach.
Even if you do not have the time or extra savings to make a trip at this time, you can still support the cause of ecotourism by reading articles about it, bookmarking websites like this one, and sharing them with friends.
This is my first blog posting, in future postings I will share interviews with experts in the ecotourism field, insights from eco-tour company owners and/or guides, and include some guest postings from various travel bloggers. Your questions and comments are welcome; please stay on topic and be courteous. I will delete any inappropriate comments and/or block those users. Thanks for visiting!