What is Ecotourism?
A commonly accepted definition of Ecotourism is: “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” (Eco Tourism described by the International Ecotourism Society/TIES, 1990). Eco-tourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.
Principles of Ecotourism
Those who implement and participate in eco-tourism activities should follow the following eco-tourism principles:
- Minimize impact.
- Involves travel to natural destinations.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Respect local culture.
- Support human rights and demographic movement.
Responsible Travel in Turkey
Eco-tourism requires travelers to be responsible. They are not only responsible for themselves, but also responsible for locals and other tourist who may be around them. Responsible travel is somewhat similar to educational travel, but is much more active. In other words, the educational aspect of eco-tourism may teach others about how they can better serve their world and the responsible aspect of eco-tourism ensures that what they teach is actually done. That includes the promotion of water and energy conservation and recycling tactics.
Cape Town Declaration
In 2002, 280 representatives from all sectors of tourism from 20 countries attended the Cape Town Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, preceding the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. A declaration on responsible tourism was agreed.
The 2002 Cape Town declaration agreed that responsible tourism
Minimizes negative economic, environmental and social impacts. Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well being of host communities; improves working conditions and access to the industry.
Involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances.
Makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage embracing diversity.
Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues.
Provides access for physically challenged people, is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.
Eco Friendly Travel Tips for Turkey
If travelling independently, try to minimize your personal environmental impact
If you are travelling on a group tour, select operators and hotels that have and abide by responsible tourism policy and adress environmental and cultural issues, as well as making a financial contribution to the local community or environmental projects.
Try to avoid destinations that already overcrowded, or travel during off seasons.
Try locally owned hotels and services, eating in locally owned restaurants and use public transport whenever possible. This means your money directly benefit the local people, and you will also have a far more enriching experience.
Do unto others: Treat local people with respect. You will be treated likewise. Abide by the laws and regulations of the country you are in. Particularly, regarding natural resources like parks and waterways.
Do not be tempted to buy souvenirs made from wild animal products, including skins, ivory, or bone. Not only is it illegal to import or export such items, in most cases you are also likely to be supporting, poaching practices that have had devastating impact on animal population. Similar principles apply to wooden products.
Be aware of suggested or legally approved distances and other recommendations for observing wild life.