What is ecotourism and why is it important?
Tourism is a widespread and fast-growing industry and contributes significantly to the world GDP. According to a report published by the World Travel and Tourism Council in 2017, the industry accounted for 10.2% of the global GDP. Tourism entails various categories such as –
- Adventure tourism
- Business tourism
- Culinary tourism
- Cultural tourism
- Medical tourism
- Religious tourism
- Sports Tourism
This blog will focus on the aspect of ecotourism and why it’s important. Read on to find all about this tourism type.
What is ecotourism?
As defined by the International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism refers to “responsible travel that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. Also called “nature tourism”, the objective of ecotourism is to minimize the impact brought about by tourism on the environment. The idea is to focus on uniting conservation, communities and sustainable development through the means of travel.
Why is ecotourism important?
People who engage in ecotourism need to abide by certain guidelines. The principles of ecotourism are beneficial for the world as a whole, given the constantly deteriorating climatic conditions. Given below are the benefits of ecotourism:
- Ecotourism focuses on unadulterated, pristine natural environments;
- It builds cultural and environmental awareness;
- It encourages positive experience for visitors as well as hosts;
- It minimizes the impact if tourism on the environment;
- It boosts employment and financial opportunities for local people;
- It encourages conservation by providing financial benefits in its favour.
Is ecotourism a good career option?
Are you, more often than not, intrigued by the beauty of nature? Do you strongly feel that the nature should be protected? Well then, this is the career for you! Here are some reasons why you should take up ecotourism as a career.
- You will be a part of one of the fastest-growing industries, in terms of size and economy;
- If you are passionate about nature, you will be able to significantly contribute to its well-being;
- You will be responsible for promoting the cultural and economic significance of a tourist destination;
- You will contribute significantly to the increase in employment rate, owing to ecotourism;
- Since tourism is a global industry, you will get the opportunity of working with international counterparts and acquire global exposure.
Scope of ecotourism
Tourism, as a whole, has adversely affected the natural beauty of certain places. This is a consequence of commercializing tourist destinations in order to suit the tourism standards. The constantly deteriorating climate is a wake-up call for tourism enthusiasts. In the face of this adversity, nature tourism has come as a blessing. The impact of ecotourism is positive and beneficial for hosts, travelers as well as the world, in general. Ecotourism, as a career, presents professionals with the opportunity of looking at the world with a different perspective and working towards achieving a better environment to live in.
Types of jobs in ecotourism
Ecotourism is catching pace with other forms of tourism and it is happening fast. There are varied types of jobs in ecotourism in different sections of the sector. Some of the job roles are explained below:
- Jobs related to assessment and development of locations:
The job roles that come under this category are – Tourism and Human Resources Advisor, Ecotourism Development Specialist, Sustainable Tourism Development Manager, etc. If you assume a role in this sector of ecotourism, your job responsibilities would include determining if a tourist location has the potential for sustainable tourism, impacts of tourism on the biodiversity of the location, and determining how bringing in ecotourism to the location would benefit the local people.
- Jobs related to sustainable management:
This sector of ecotourism encompasses jobs like Ecotourism Project Manager, Sustainable Tourism Operator, Nature Tourism Ranger, etc. If you plan to work in this section, you will be responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the ecotourism business. Your job role would require to supervise operations and projects, allocate budget, build partnerships with local communities and develop local capacity.
- Jobs related to communications and marketing:
Like any other sector, marketing is an essential component of the ecotourism industry. The job roles that you can take up under this category are – Protected Areas Communications Officer, Tourism Marketing Manager, Tourism Communications Manager, etc. Your job responsibilities would include promotion of the place or firm you work for, using the media platform for campaigning purposes, strategizing marketing campaigns, and attracting customers.
How to start a career in ecotourism
- Educational Qualifications: students can opt for a diploma in tourism if they have completed secondary school education, are more than 18 years of age and have an IELTS score of 4.5 or above.
In order to kick-start your career in ecotourism, after acquiring a diploma in the field, you can take cue from the following tips:
- Conferences: since a major objective of ecotourism is to create cultural and socio-economic awareness, numerous ecotourism and sustainable travel conferences are conducted all over the world. Attending these conferences will give you a better insight into the functioning of ecotourism as an industry.
- Networking: networking makes up for a large part of being successful. If you want to boost your growth in the industry, you can interact with the prominent people in the industry, connect with them via formal networking sites and engage in community discussions online. This will not only help you understand other people’s perspective but also help you grow in the industry.
- Volunteer: volunteering for workshops and local community sustainability development will help you get a deeper sense of what local people experience when a wave of tourism hits a place. This will help you to build a strong career in ecotourism with a command over local people’s psyche.
- Internship: before you take up a permanent job with an ecotourism firm, opt for an internship. Internships are the best way to learn about the business and its functioning. You will also acquire the experience of working under prominent stakeholders of the ecotourism business.
Many aspects of tourism are resonant in ecotourism, with the difference of a noble cause. Various premium institutes offer travel and tourism courses that can help you understand the nitty-gritties of the industry. Toronto School of Management (TSOM) offers two tourism-related courses for students who are passionate about travel. The courses offered by TSOM are:
- Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management and Tourism Management Co-op
- Diploma in Fundamentals of Hospitality and Tourism Co-op
If you also want to take up a tourism course and are passionate about this, sign up for a course now! To find out more about the courses offered by TSOM, click here.