Ecotourism sites are nature-based travel destinations. These sites focus on providing tourists with environmentally friendly activities to support the sustainable development of the local economy without harming the local environment. For example, wildlife conservation parks and national parks are examples of ecotourism sites. In theory, ecotourism is based on principles of sustainability and conservation. It aims to provide meaningful, enriching experiences for tourists while supporting the sustainable development of local economies. Unfortunately, tourists often violate the principles of responsible travel.
For instance, many tourists litter while traveling to ecotourism sites, which is harmful to the natural environment. It is also common for tourists to damage the landscape through activities like mountain biking and trampling while hiking. When lots of people do these irresponsible things over long periods of time, they can cause irreversible damage to fragile landscapes. Another huge problem that many tourists contribute to is pollution. For example, when tourists take cruise ships to briefly see ecotourism sites, they contribute to water pollution.
In addition to hurting the natural environment, many tourists also participate in travel activities that are insensitive to local people. For instance, when tourists go to all-inclusive resorts, they do not support local economies. While these resorts might provide travelers with an attractive place to stay, they are often located outside of poor communities that could benefit from tourism. According to ecotourism principles, if people want to enjoy the beauty of a place, they should respect and support local communities rather than inconvenience them. Many tourists also tend to be culturally insensitive when they come to ecotourism sites. For instance, tourists often partake in disruptive partying, deface cultural objects, dress inappropriately, and objectify locals through insensitive photography.