photo M. Noonan

photo M. Noonan

Ecotourism is a growing trend in travel around the world. This is a form of travel in which tourists set out to visit various species of wildlife in their natural habitat. In order for this to happen, nations rich in wild areas (like Costa Rica) must set aside natural areas for the tourists to visit and also establish facilities (such as hotels, guided tours, and restaurants) to accommodate the needs of the tourists. Ecotourism can be beneficial to conservation efforts in two major ways.

First of all, ecotourism can become a major source of income for third-world nations with forested lands. In order to entice tourists, of course, these nations must set aside wild areas for the tourists to visit. Thus, a flourishing ecotourism industry not only provides the nation with a source of income, it also provides a strong incentive to save natural lands.

Secondly, ecotourism helps to educate the public about the wildlife and ecosystems that they are visiting. By introducing the public to these wild areas and providing them with first-hand experiences, ecotourism often helps to endear the public to the places that they have visited.  This then means that the public will be more likely to care about the fate of these wild areas and also more likely to participate in efforts to conserve them.


CAC is a program of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.