Ecotourism: Definition & Benefits

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  • 0:02 Ecotourism
  • 0:38 Ecotourism Locations
  • 1:02 Benefits of Ecotourism
  • 2:23 Ecotourism & Education
  • 3:17 Preservation of Culture
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Many people love to travel, but when it comes to visiting nature, there is a right way and a wrong way to go. Ecotourism is the right way. Find out why!


One of the world's premier vacation hotspots is the country of Costa Rica. It's known for its friendly locals, stunning scenery, and so much more. Costa Rica is perhaps one of the pinnacle examples of the concept of ecotourism. Ecotourism is the responsible travel of people to natural areas in such a way that it conserves the environment, sustains local communities, and educates the public. Not all countries follow Costa Rica's example. Because of that, they're missing out on some key benefits to their land and people as we'll learn in this lesson.

Ecotourism Locations

There are many places known for ecotourism. Besides Costa Rica, they include:

  • The Amazon, the world's largest rainforest
  • Alaska, the northern-most state in the U.S.
  • Antarctica
  • The Galapagos Islands, famous for large turtles and Charles Darwin
  • The Himalayan Mountains in Nepal
  • Botswana (an African country)

Benefits of Ecotourism

Why do these countries, states, and places bother with ecotourism? What's in it for them? It turns out, a lot!

The obvious benefit is environmental conservation. For example, imagine a beautiful cave on a Caribbean island, one that has an internal lake and river. Your tour includes the use of a motor boat that pollutes the water and air inside the cave. That's not ecotourism. Ecotourism is about environmental conservation, or preserving nature by interacting with it in such a way as to minimally disturb it. In the case of the cave, conservation means using a paddle boat on the lake, or not even allowing a boat on the lake inside the cave at all.

Another important aspect of ecotourism is the benefits to the local communities. Ecotourism involves local community members like tour guides and accommodation and food providers. The money goes to the locals, not some far away government's vaults never to be seen again.

Funds generated by ecotourism improve standards of living in remote areas, communities have better roads, cleaner sources of water, higher quality health care, and so on. Ecotourism not only brings jobs but also a better life in general to communities that support environmental conservation.

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