July 06 2011

Urban Ecotourism: An Environmentally Friendly Way to Vacation

A relatively new and growing sector in the tourism industry is the concept of urban ecotourism. Until recently, ecotourism occurred exclusively in environmentally pristine and relatively untouched landscapes, such as those found in Costa Rica and Madagascar. This is no longer the case, as there are now ways to embrace all of the values that are important in classical ecotourism into urban ecotourism.

Urban planners are beginning to realize that they can plan cities to offer tranquil and relaxing adventures in nature along with the traditional fast-paced activities that bring tourists to cities. One of the cities who has really capitalized on this type of tourism is Toronto. Some of the activities that they offer for the urban ecotourist include:

Any city with some type of waterfront can offer these various activities to potential tourists.

Urban ecotourism, however, is not just about sights and experiences. There is a certain level of respect for the environment and other responsibilities that ecotourists find important and valuable, such as the following:

  • Restoring and conserving natural and cultural heritage;
  • Maximizing local benefits and engaging the local community as owners, investors, hosts and guides;
  • Educating visitors and residents on environmental matters and sustainability;
  • Reducing ones’ ecological footprint.

It is also argued that touring urban areas is much more eco-friendly than touring the environmentally “pristine” areas such as Costa Rica and Madagascar. Secluded areas require more energy and emissions to get individuals and consumables there, not to mention construction, in what was once a virgin landscape. Urban ecotourism doesn’t develop any landscapes that haven’t already been tampered with. Also, architects have now designed green hospitality buildings, such as the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, to have green capabilities such as rooftop gardens and grey-water usage.

Do you believe that urban ecotourism is a sector of the tourism industry that is worth developing? If so, what do you think should be done to encourage such activities?

Daniel Sheehan

Dan Sheehan studied City and Regional Planning with a concentration in Urban Design at the Ohio State University. Dan has lived in several cities throughout the Midwest and is dedicated to exploring urban and environmental design issues as they relate to Midwestern cities of the United States. His passion for urban design and urban planning began during his studies in Columbus at the Ohio State University, and continues to pursue those passions in the realm of urban planning. Dan blogged for The Grid until October 2011.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 5:10 pm and is filed under Environmental Design, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “Urban Ecotourism: An Environmentally Friendly Way to Vacation”

  1. Oscar Says:

    i think it could be very good , if ecotourism itself is getting succeed, why this not?

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