It’s important to convert to wildlife friendly tourism not only out of love for the animals but also out of the risks it imposes on humans and worldwide tourism sector in general. Wildlife friendly tourism will protect wildlife species and end animal suffering. As well as, protect tourists’ and relevant workers’ wellbeing and reduce the risk of future pandemics, such as Covid-19.
Currently the world is brainstorming post-pandemic solutions, so there are a lot of discussions about tourism and hospitality industries. The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), a UN specialised agency has been working hard on ideas to rebuild the tourism sector. The agency shows particular care towards promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. Are they going to consider wildlife friendly tourism as a serious subject as well? Let’s hope so!
Not many people realise how huge of a business wildlife tourism is. It accounts to close to 40% of the whole tourism sector net value. That is a shocking number, considering how much cruelty, captivity and suffering it leads to. Tigers get sedated and elephants get abused in order to look calm and cute for those selfies. Then there are monkeys, otters, dolphins… the list goes on.
So, what are the solutions?
Over 31,000 species are threatened with death, and we are entering the 6th mass extinction. That is not only horrifying for the animal kingdom but for the whole world as we know it. Biodiversity keeps the planet going, and mass extinction will lead to a massive collapse.
Therefore, it is essential to act and think responsibly during our travels to natural areas. The idea of ecotourism is to bring together communities, conservation, and sustainability. When planning your next trip, don’t just look out for “ecotourism” as the key word. Research into the activities you are considering.
- Do they genially minimise negative impacts?
- Do they assist with direct monetary benefits for conservation and local communities?
- Do they raise environmental awareness and respect?
Following the point above, it is essential to visit places with a good knowledge of right or wrong. However, many travellers are not aware of biodiversity and wildlife conservation issues and struggles. That is because many of these tourists live halfway across the globe.
For public to have the awareness and care about the endangered species and their habitats, the public must experience animals and their homes first hand. The experience needs to be personal, touching and informative, in order to form the right bonds. Hence, ecotourism and tourists’ education go hand in hand.
Visiting animals’ natural habitats, travellers don’t only learn the importance of conservation initiatives but also the contribution they can assist with in order to make the much needed difference. More so, these tourists can share this knowledge and experiences with their friends and family when they return home.
Many people decide on their next holiday destinations and activities based on what others post online. Social media sites like Instagram and Facebook are filled with holiday and leisure related content. Photos of friends and influencers posing with elephants, tigers and otters make others want to go to those places and do the same.
However, these unnatural encounters contribute to animal suffering. Without even realising, these tourists contribute and support the issue of wildlife cruelty and captivity. Most selfies with wild animals are a statement of funding unsustainable wildlife tourism.
You too have the power to influence others and how they spend their time and money. Next time you participate in ecotourism that is animal-friendly, don’t be shy to post those photos and share your experiences. Your photos and visuals alike will gradually replace the ones that promote unsustainable tourism. Let’s raise public awareness together!
Wildlife friendly tourism is up to eco-friendly standards
When you choose wildlife friendly tourism and wildlife friendly activities throughout your travels, you simultaneously go for eco-friendly options too. The two go hand in hand.
For example: you are likely to go on walking tours instead of employing vehicles. You will be offered much more sustainable alternatives throughout your stay. Choosing such options is showing deep respect and care for wildlife, ecosystems, natural habitats, and the communities you are visiting.
Vote with your dollar
As consumers, we hold a power that is bigger than we usually realise. Every time we pay for something, we cast a vote.
There are hundreds of thousands of unsustainable wildlife tourism options available globally. Such options custom illegal wildlife trade, animal cruelty and injustice, and foster infectious diseases. Whenever you visit such a place for that pretty selfie with an otter, or that unforgettable moment when you get to touch a dolphin, ride an elephant or pose next to a wild cat, you vote for such activities to carry on. You fund the vicious cycle.
Yet, going for wildlife friendly tourism, you get to be a part of the much needed solution. Not only you cast a vote for such unsustainable and cruel experiences to stop but you also fund the wildlife friendly options for everyone to enjoy. As well as, spreading the awareness and inspire others to switch to the wildlife friendly tourism alternatives.
Anastasia is responsible for the Events & Marketing side of Wildchain. She was born in USSR, where circuses and zoos were the most well-known kids’ source of entertainment. At the age of 13 she left Moscow to relocated to the UK. After graduating from Northumbria University with a Bachelors degree in Advertising and Media, she began working on projects in Czech Republic, Switzerland, UAE and Thailand. She loves the fact that Wildchain raises awareness and promotes people to take actions for wildlife conservation out of love, not based on fear.