Ecotourism or sustainable travel, also known as ‘green travel’ is on the rise in Dubai. As the world spotlight has shifted towards becoming more focused on environmental issues like climate change and global warming, it’s no wonder that sustainable travel is beginning to emerge as a trend in the tourism sector worldwide.
Dubai is a hub of glitz and glamour offering endless touristic activities, and now there is another side to tourism in Dubai that is starting to emerge: ecotourism.
What is ecotourism?
The International Ecotourism Society defines Ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.”
Ecotourism facilitates responsible travel. People are attracted to this type of tourism as they are able to experience the culture and natural environment of a new place without exploiting it.
Principles of ecotourism
- Minimise physical, social, behavioural, and psychological impacts of tourism on the local people and natural environment.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness, respect and understanding.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation efforts and local people.
- Create memorable and enriching experiences for guests which helps raise empathetic understanding of a host country’s political, environmental, and social climates.
- Use of low-impact operations on the environment (low carbon footprint) such as solar panels.
Sustainability is not only environmental
Many people don’t realise that there are three pillars within sustainability: environmental, social and economic. This means that ecotourism is not only related to sustainability and the environment; there is a big emphasis on supporting local communities economically and preserving culture and heritage.
Mass tourism has the opposite objective to ecotourism and has unfortunately destroyed many travel destinations over the years by creating travel hot spots which attract thousands of tourists searching for a good deal. This type of tourism can be harmful to the natural environment and local culture. While tourism can be beneficial, there are plenty of places that have been ruined by it.
The rise of ecotourism is the perfect antidote for the harmful effects of mass tourism. Ecotourism gives travellers a way to experience a place without harming it. Hopefully this ‘trend’ of appealing to the more conscious traveller is here to stay.
Dubai has developed so rapidly into an innovative cosmopolitan city in such a short space of time and the cultural roots and traditions of the nomadic Bedouin who roamed the desert for centuries are sometimes overshadowed by the Emirate’s popular tourist attracts. This is what makes ecotourism so important in Dubai. The Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience is an initiative designed to protect the legacy of Bedouin culture in Dubai.