To the naked eye, the terms eco-tourism and nature tourism may seem like synonyms and in fact, a lot of literature shows the evidence of these two terms being used interchangeably but in actuality, there is a stark difference between the two terms.
A short definition of nature tourism-
Nature tourism is responsible for travel to any natural areas, which conserve nature and also improve the welfare of the locals. Basically, it attracts tourists based on natural attractions. They experience the diversity of natural and cultural resources. They enjoy the grandeur of nature, escape from the pressures of urban life, escape from humanity, explore different landscapes, experience outdoor adventures in a natural setting, learn about the environment. But over-tourism in a nature tourism destination also has a negative impact due to the overutilization of natural resources.
A short definition of eco-tourism-
Eco-tourism is responsible for the attraction of responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustain the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education. It’s about uniting communities, conservation, and sustainable travel. Follow the principle of minimizing social, physical, behavioral, and psychological impacts. Build cultural and environmental awareness, provide a positive experience to both hosts and visitors, direct financial benefits for conservation, and for local people. As it is also focused on minimal use of natural resources. Here it is also taken into account that there shouldn’t be degradation of the natural environment directly or indirectly.
Basic differences between nature and eco-tourism –
The term, ‘Nature tourism’, encompasses all forms of tourism such as adventure tourism, mass tourism, low impact tourism that makes use of the natural resources in wild or undeveloped form. So, a trip to Kaziranga National Park and a white-water river rafting trip in Haridwar will both fall in the category of nature tourism.
In contrast, any form of tourism that satisfies the following principles can be called eco-tourism-
- Building environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Minimum impact on the environment and the natural surroundings of the destination.
- Providing direct financial benefits for conservation.
- A positive experience for both the host and the guest.
Eco-tourism is also considered as a subset of natural tourism. Traveling to Chilka Lake to view the rare dolphins or visiting the Sundarbans to get a glimpse of the Great Bengal Tiger would be examples of eco-tourism if the visit satisfied the above-mentioned conditions.
Nature tourism does not take into account nature degradation. As when the number of tourists increases then it impacted nature negatively. As carbon footprints come into account. When there is over-tourism in any nature tourism destination then it acts as a carbon positive. So, to conserve nature by minimizing its utilization we should focus on eco-tourism, which again fascinates nature tourism as well. It again responsible for Sustainable Development Goal because it not only looks after the local community, it also looks after the carbon negative environment by conserving nature and less degradation of natural resources.
A village called Phayeng in Manipur that conserves nature by implementing various strategies under the positive environment model. According to the forest protection rules devised by the villagers, hunting is completely banned in the village except for once a year when a deer is usually killed as a sacrifice to the “forest gods”. Before the project started, villagers were practicing agriculture only in the monsoon months. Now, they work round the year and grow horticulture crops like watermelon, beans, cabbage, broccoli, and others apart from paddy.
Here in SSEK, we provide both Nature as well as eco-tourism and we invite both nature and eco-tourism. As our primary focus is to conserve nature and look after the benefits of the local community to achieve SDG. As our primary focus is to conserve nature because we believe it’s time to giving back to nature. Also, we look into the benefits of the local but by minimal use of nature by any local people or any tourist. We reuse many wastage things few are like the reuse of tires, doors & windows. We planted many new trees; it will invite different beautiful birds and animals. We believe in the lesser release of carbon to the environment. So, we focus more on eco-tourism, which again influences nature tourism.