Wherever we travel, nature plays a leading role, whether we’re adventuring through wilderness in search of an elusive sighting or enjoying pockets of greenery and water in the most urban environments. Most responsible tourism providers recognise that nature is a critical part of any travel experience, and so they have a vested interest in not only minimising any negative impact but protecting and regenerating the natural world. By carefully choosing where and how we travel, we can do our bit too. With a biodiversity crisis in full swing (we’re losing species at up to 10,000 times their natural rate of decline), it’s more important than ever to think about what you do.
Becoming an ally of Mother Nature requires a careful balancing act. With too many tourists, ecosystems and wildlife can become irrecoverably damaged. Too few, and the local economic incentive to protect nature can dissipate. When a good balance is struck, however, the formula is magic: local communities protect flora and fauna, recognising that their livelihoods and well-being depend on its survival; responsible travel providers pour investment into local conservation and help to minimise negative or exploitative practices, land uses and pollution; and travellers, inspired by intimate and nature-based experiences, can develop a connection to the natural world. Many go on to fund or discover conservation projects closer to home.