The Nature of Tourism and Travel
To put it in a short way, the nature of tourism and travel is the Nature. Nothing is more appealing and attractive to the traveler as the nature itself, the environment. This idea was developing in the course of XX century influencing minds and priorities of travelers. Currently, there is a significant portion of tourism industry devoted to the nature-based tourism and it is constantly growing. The tendency shows that new generations of travelers are more willing to swim with dolphins in oceans rather than focusing their attention on museums and expensive restaurants.
One of most important benefits of such change in the preferences of tourists is that they develop a much more responsible attitude towards the nature that surrounds them. By visiting mountains, deserts, or the bottom of the sea, tourists not only see the beauty of the world. They simultaneously gain understanding of how fragile ecosystems are, how indeed vulnerable are many of the animals. Promotion of sustainability ideas is a key feature of nature-based tourism, which adds significantly to its popularity.
Nature-based tourism maybe connected not only with mere observation but also with an active participation of the tourist in the life of an ecosystem. For instance, tourists can engage in the in the life of the local tribal community somewhere in rural Indonesia that would allow them to feel the natural ties with their planet. The best way to find an access to such adventures is by joining voluntary organizations working in almost any imaginable part of the world. It can be gathering strawberries in mountainous parts of Japan, feeding and taking care of elephants in Thailand, helping newborn turtles on the shores of Australia to reach the water surface or simply learning horse riding on beautiful French farms.
In recent papers researchers argue that this approach is promoting responsibility towards environment not only among tourists but among the local communities as well. They receive an additional financial incentive to preserve the environment they live in. Accordingly, ecotourism serves both to ameliorate the natural conditions and to help developing countries in establishing a much more sustainable economy. This is a crucial factor in the light of reckless attitude of many governments towards their nature. It can be seen, for example, in Malaysia where active deforestation takes place due to the expansion of palm oil industries.
It is in the common interest of all parties involved in the tourism industry to continue promoting nature-based tourism in the world. It can be done through educational programs, through advertisement campaigns, and in many other ways. However, most importantly, it is necessary to remember that the main reason for the nature-based tourism to exist is that our own planet is nature-based as well.