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Amy KL Borrell 

What’s the big idea?

The idea of ecotourism is to help preserve a natural environment rather than damaging or destroying it when traveling. Enjoy natural wonders, but also help conserve them. Ecotourism helps boost economic conditions so local communities can afford to protect their natural environments.

The main points of ecotourism are to:

  • Minimize your impact: Take steps to maintain the environment around you by removing your own litter and not disturbing native plants and animals.

  • Show awareness and respect: Learn about the culture of the area where you are traveling.

  • Be an ambassador: Act responsibly and show your hosts you are committed to preserving their environment.

  • Support conservation: Donate money to local projects that help preserve the natural habitat.

  • Spend your money wisely: As much as possible, put your tourism dollars into locally-owned businesses that support the habitat and local communities.

  • Be in the know: Find out about — and support — international human rights and labor agreements.

  • Talk about it: Tell others what you’ve learned about the area’s environment.

What are steps you could take to practice ecotourism?

Here are the rules for tourists posted by The Galápagos National Park Service. In what ways do these rules uphold the idea of ecotourism? What do you think the reasons are behind each rule? What else would you add to this list?

  1. No plant, animal, or remains of such (including shells, bones, and pieces of wood), or other natural objects should be removed or disturbed.

  2. Be careful not to transport any live material to the islands, or from island to island.

  3. Do not take any food to the uninhabited islands, for the same reason.

  4. Do not touch or handle the animals.

  5. Do not feed the animals. It can be dangerous to you, and in the long run would destroy the animals' social structure and breeding habits.

  6. Do not startle or chase any animal from its resting or nesting spot.

  7. Stay within the areas designated as visiting sites.

  8. Do not leave any litter on the islands, or throw any off your boat.

  9. Do not deface the rocks.

  10. Do not buy souvenirs or objects made of plants or animals from the islands.

  11. Do not visit the islands unless accompanied by a licensed National Park Guide.

  12. Restrict your visits to officially approved areas.

  13. Show your conservationist attitude.

Read more about it here: National_Park/Rules_and_Regulations/Galapagos_National_Park_Rules.html

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