Indigenous land practices and cultural knowledge have ensured the conservation of global diversity. Indigenous peoples are the true creators and conservers of the Earth and should be at the forefront of sustainable tourism.
Indigenous peoples compromise 5% of the worlds population, but embody 80% of the worlds cultural diversity
Indigenous peoples occupy only 20% or the world's land surface, but nurture 80% of the world's biodiversity on ancestral lands and territory
After reading these facts, can you see why Indigenous ecotourism is important? It's not only important for greater ecological consciousness, but also cultural as Indigenous groups are often marginalized. Indigenous ecotourism allows stakeholders to actively participate, creates promises of cultural and ecological preservation, and overall create authentic and memorable experiences. So let's dive into it!
Martha Honey's 7 Principles of Ecotourism
Remember are favorite queen of sustainable travel Martha Honey? If you don't that's ok we will do a little recap. Martha Honey is a pioneer in the sustainable travel industry and even came up with the most widely used definition of ecotourism with its seven principles. Ecotourism is defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people. Below includes the SEVEN principles that compromise of legit ecotourism:
Involves travel to natural destinations
Builds environmental awareness
Provides direct financial benefits for conservation
Provides financial benefits and empowerment for local people
Respects local culture
Supports human rights and democratic movements
All seven of these awesome principles are something we are proud to say we focus on at Eat The Peach Travel!
Ok, now let's get into Indigenous ecotourism. Indigenous ecotourism includes nature-based attractions or tours owned by Indigenous people, and also Indigenous interpretation of the natural and cultural environment including wildlife. Such ecotourism can be ecotours, ecolodges, hunting and fishing tours, cultural villages, and other nature-orientated tourist facilities and services.
Alright you got that down? Now let's move on to how these are applied to Indigenous ecotourism based off Martha Honey's principles.
9 Principles of Indigenous Ecotourism
Involves travel to remote homelands, communal reserves, inhabited protected areas, & tribal territories
Minimize environmental & cultural impacts
Sustainable tribal use of natural resources
Tribal guides share environmental knowledge & reinforces Indigenous cultural links with land
Tourism funds conservation & community needs:
Tourist/lease fees, wildlife quotas, & NGO funding
Park revenue sharing with local communities, legal land title to negotiate tourism contracts, lease land on reserves & sell wildlife quotas, & business owned/co-owned by tribal community
Promotes ecocultural tourism & learning; tourism compliments traditional lifestyle
Tribal land rights & human rights recognized; Indigenous political history acknowledged
Can you spot the similarities? Indigenous ecotourism goes above and beyond with their NINE ambitious principles. It's imperative that these nine principles are followed in efforts to protect indigenous culture and land as we know they are the true stewards of the Earth.