In short, ecotourism or an ecotour refers to tourism that involves a holiday or vacation to areas of natural beauty or environmental interest. When on an ecotour the holiday makers will usually be under the guidance on a naturalist or an expert on the area to help people observe, understand and appreciate the wildlife, fauna and flora. Ecotourism has become an ethical alternative in the tourism industry and is growing in popularity.
Ecotourism in Brazil
Brazil has amazing natural beauty that is unrivalled on the planet. In Brazil there are more known species of plants, fish and mammals than in any other country. For amphibians, birds and insects it is in the top 5 of the world. The country is so large, with many parts of the Amazon untouched by human beings, that new species are discovered all the time.
Although Brazil offers any member of an ecotour differing types of holidays or vacations including beaches, wetlands and savanna, it is without doubt the rainforests that have encouraged ecotourism in Brazil. The Amazon rainforest covers nearly all of Brazil’s northern region, a total of 3.6 million square kilometres (42% of Brazil!).
The Amazon is home to 20% of the world’s bird species, 20% of its plant species, 10% of its mammal species and 3000 species of fish. As a result it is a great place to go on holiday or vacation for an ecotour.
What is Involved in an Ecotour in Brazil?
As with any type of holiday the ecotour is approached and understood in differing ways by tour operators in Brazil. Some may simply see it as “nature tourism” others as a day trip to the Amazon jungle. A genuine ecotour should however offer the tourist the following elements: education, conservation, sustainable development and benefit to local people. If any of these elements are missing from a potential ecotourism operator then possibly think again.
When looking to book your ecotour, here are some questions you should ask any tour operator:
- What equipment will they be providing you and what do you need to bring?
- What, if any, reference material they will provide you to help you better understand the environment, animals or people?
- What areas do they visit and why?
- What experience or qualification do the guides on your ecoutour have?
- Is your tour all-inclusive or are there extras you may have to pay for?