Ecotourism is defined as a responsible travel and study of zones of unique nature and culture, provided that natural biodiversity is preserved and the socio-economic well-being of the local population is improved.
With the development of transport and information technologies, there are fewer places on Earth that are inaccessible to purposeful travelers. At the same time, more and more people are thinking about the opportunity to explore the world, its most remote corners, minimizing the level of their impact and the consequences of the invasion. Ecotourism emerged as a timely response to the growing self-awareness and needs of the environmentally oriented segment of the population.
The concept of ecotourism implies the priority of the interests of the protection and conservation of nature, especially against the background of globalization and the intensification of the tourism business in different countries, and has a number of characteristics.
- Minimal impact on the natural environment, using transport that meets ecotourism standards - bicycles, non-motorized boats, avoiding polluting fuels
- Respect for the culture and nature of the host country, support for local environmental organizations
- Availability of benefits for local communities and their mandatory participation in decision-making
- The presence of an educational aspect and an increase in the ecological culture, both for travelers and for the local population
Tourism development in eco-sensitive natural areas without sound planning and management can threaten the integrity of ecosystems and local culture. The increase in the number of visitors invariably leads to noticeable degradation of the environment. National parks, nature reserves and other protected areas are ideal places for ecotourism, but the implementation of the principles inherent in the idea itself requires a delicate balance between profit and conservation, between organizers' personal benefit and public benefit.