tourism

Should Animals on the Brink of Extinction Be Used to Promote Tourism?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | November 25th, 2013 | 9 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: African elephants, animals, Antarctica, at-risk species, Belize, Canada, Churchill, climate change, Eco Travel, ecotourism, Egypt, endangered-species, environment, extinction, extinction tourism, Galápagos Islands, glaciers, global-warming, habitat destruction, Madagascar, Manitoba, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, poaching, polar-bears, rainforest, Tanzania, tourism, tourists, travel, travelers, UNESCO, wildlife, wolves, Yellowstone National Park

Greenland big ice

I have to admit it: last year, my traveling to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to see polar bears in the wild was motivated not only by a 10-year anniversary but by a fear that soon the animals could be gone. I go to see glaciers because I’m afraid we’re losing them. And this coming January, I’m returning to Yellowstone National Park to try to photograph our nation’s wolves before they almost completely disappear in the Lower 48 — again.

You could call me an “extinction tourist.”

I’m far from unique. In fact, today people are traveling in ever-greater numbers to see what they think could quickly vanish from the Earth. While just a few years ago travelers might have endeavored to tick off all seven continents or Africa’s Big Five wildlife species, today there’s a certain “cred” given to those who see the landscapes, animals and plants that are just managing to hang on. And tour providers are tapping into that desire with their marketing messages. “See [fill in your favorite endangered animals] before they’re gone!”

But should tourism companies use threatened species as marketing tools? Given our ability to tune out ads, does that minimize the dire circumstances that these animals and environments are now in and dilute the attention that conservation messages might have been able to muster?

“Natural Capital”: Will Putting a Price on Nature Help Protect It?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | March 19th, 2013 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: africa, American Forests, Belize, conservation, conserve, Costa Rica, Eco Travel, ecotourism, environment, environmental messages, green settings, green spaces, Guatemala, health, healthy, lions, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, natural capital, Natural Capital Project, nature, preservation, preserve, Tanzania, tourism, travel, U.S.

Oak tree

The benefits of green spaces and natural settings are becoming more apparent all the time: reduced stress, depression and feelings of aggressiveness; an increase in overall happiness; faster post-operative recovery; a decline in ADHD symptoms in children — all of these outcomes have been verified when people spend time in nature. The outdoors make us happier, cause us to be kinder and can even give us bigger brains.

While you could say these kinds of benefits are priceless, there’s a new trend afoot. By assigning a monetary value to natural elements in a healthy environment, it is hoped that governments, businesses and others in positions of power will come to see that protecting nature makes good financial sense.

This concept of pricing ecosystem services and natural features — and allowing them to be bought and sold — is gaining wide acceptance among conservationists. But could this approach end up obscuring the unquantifiable, soul-restoring advantages of natural places and put them at even greater risk?

Top 12 Eco-Beach Escapes

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | March 2nd, 2011 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Adriatic, American Samoa, Antalya, Atlantic, Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park, Australia, Bai Kem Beach, Baiona, beaches, Beaches of Palawan, Best Beaches in America list, Blue Flag, Blue Wave, Brazil, Brela Beach, Caja de Muertos, car-free, Clean Beaches Council, Coffin Island, conservation, coral, Costa Rica, cove, Croatia, Dalmatian coast, Dr. Beach, East Africa, eco-friendly travel, endangered-species, escape, family, Fernando de Noronha, Fiji, Foundation for Environmental Education, Galicia, getaway, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, holiday, island, Koh Libong, Las Islas Cies, lighthouse, Makarska, marine habitat, Mediterranean, National Healthy Beaches Campaign, national park, National Resources Defense Council, nature, nature reserve, Nungwi Beach, ocean, Ofu Beach, Osa Peninsula, Pacific, Patara Beach, Pelícano Beach, Philippines, Phu Quoc, Phuket, Playa Matapalo, protection, Puerto Rico, rainforest, SAD, Sancho Bay, sand, scuba diving, sea, seaside, snorkeling, Spain, Spice Island, sun, surfing, sustainable resorts, swim, Tanzania, thailand, The Blue Lagoon, tourism, tourists, tropical fish, turkey, Turtle Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vietnam, Viti Levu, volcano, water, Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, wilderness, wildlife, winter vacation, Yasawa Group, Zanzibar

Eco-friendly family beach vacation

While I welcome winter along with all the other skiers and outdoor aficionados here in Colorado, by the end of February I’m ready for a surf and sand break. But cramming onto a crowded beach towel-by-cooler with hundreds of other sunseekers is not my vision of restoring my winter-weary spirit.

When you’re a beach lover and a nature lover, the quest becomes to find those pristine stretches of sand that make you feel you’ve discovered a place where time stops; where the rhythm of sea on shore is the primary sound; where the sun’s slow slide behind the horizon is the only marker of day melding into night. A place like, say, Bai Kem Beach on Phu Quoc, one of 105 islands that comprise this idyllic Vietnamese archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Picture a soft, white sugar-sand beach, fringed with slender palms. Phuket, half a century ago. No people. Just total, unspoiled beauty.

When Does Wildlife Viewing Become Wildlife Wrongdoing?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | July 14th, 2009 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Antarctica, eco-travelers, ecological crisis, Galápagos Islands, grizzly bear, loggers, native habitats, nature travel, penguins, poaching, salmon, sharks, tourism, tourists, wild animals, wildlife, wolf, Yellowstone National Park

galapagos-2c-steve-morello1

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest thrills that comes from our nature travels is seeing wild animals in their native habitats. But as we eco-tourists are painfully aware, those goose-bump shivers experienced while witnessing a grizzly bear fishing for salmon or a wolf hunt in Yellowstone National Park could possibly be costing the animals too much.

Mexico’s Monarchs: Where Ecotourism Matters

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | April 9th, 2008 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: butterfly, mexico, monarch-butterflies, natural-habitat-adventures, tourism

What is the sound of ten million butterfly wings?  I found the answer to that Zen-like question in the forests of the central Mexico highlands.  Here in a few remote stands of tall oyamel firs lie the ancestral wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly, undiscovered by researchers till 1975.