Eco-tourism is the new cool way to travel for the trendy. While not something that I would actively pursue, you can not argue with the concept. Essentially, eco-tourism is a form of travel that is built around assimilating within the local environment and people. It is not lets go teach the natives how to be “ecologically correct”, but more to lets explore the natural beauty of a country in its own way. Lots of hiking and exploring the jungles, as opposed to beaching and pina coladas.
Impressed by the success of countries like Costa Rica and Ecuador, which have lured flocks of travelers for mountain treks and jungle safaris, a growing number of regions across the globe are turning to eco-tourism as a strategy for economic growth.
Omar Bongo, the president of Gabon, a developing country in west central Africa, has set aside about 10 percent of the country’s landmass for 13 national parks. Green Visions, a tourism and environment protection company, based in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, is pioneering an eco-tourism development plan in Central Europe with “green adventures” that promote environmental principles and support local businesses. Even Greece, better known for its pumping night life and archaeological monuments, devotes a section of its national tourism Web site to “Greek nature” and eco-tourism.
Over the last four years, at least 48 countries, from Puerto Rico to Portugal, have created or started to define a national strategy for eco-tourism development, according to a 2004 eco-tourism report by Mintel International Group, a market-research company based in Britain.via New York Times.