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Sustainable Geotourism

What is Geotourism and how can applying it make a difference?

For over twenty years now, our dedicated team at Alegría Communications has chronicled the natural beauty of many unspoiled regions including Baja California, French Polynesia, US, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina and Perú, all the while observing the dramatic increase in tourism to each region. Naturally, we are concerned about the potentially adverse effects from the hordes of well-wishing tourists who inadvertently damage the unspoiled environment they have come to marvel at. Humans tend to adversely affect every environment they inhabit and we are very aware of that fact. But it is the human spirit that is also the key to preserving our planet’s most amazing places. This responsibility transcends from a deep respect for the natural systems that have evolved to support all life.

We have a healthy ongoing debate in our office about whether tourism can ever become truly “sustainable”. Choosing to believe it can, we have joined the “green” revolution and adopted the term “geotourism”, defined as helping residents, visitors, and developers practice “tourism that supports the geographical character of the place being visited—its environment, culture, heritage, aesthetics, and the well-being of its citizens.”

Awareness is the key. Local residents who benefit from tourism tend to value and conserve what tourists are paying to experience. Visitors reinforce that connection when they support the businesses that profit from the destination. The key is being aware that profits should never come before the sustained well-being of the environment.

National Geographic says it best when they describe their mission as, “Working to protect the world’s distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship.” We hope to strengthen this core value for all travelers that choose to visit the Amazon rainforest and hope that they will become caretakers and not just consumers. You may visit the link below to help you to travel in a constructive and rewarding way, supporting the quality of your destinations while ensuring yourself a richer travel experience. See http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/travelers.html

The UN Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. They are an advocate for the United Nations and provide a platform for connecting people, ideas and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems. More on their invaluable work can be found at http://www.unfoundation.org/about-unf/