Home > Volunteering Abroad > Eco-Tourism Programs Abroad

Eco-Tourism Programs Abroad

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Ecotourism Ecotourism Programs Abroad

Eco-tourism or ecological tourism – to give it its proper name - can be best described as a form of tourism which minimises the damaging effects that tourism has upon the environment. It can involve the promotion of energy efficiency water conservation, wilderness adventures, wildlife programmes, sustainable development and the creation of an economic climate which can greatly benefit local communities, providing opportunities for them to prosper and to enhance their cultural integrity and to maintain their heritage and traditions.

There are eco-tourism projects all over the world which benefit greatly from voluntary help and we’ll look at some of these in greater depth later but ideally, to qualify as an ecologically sound program, a project should fulfil various criteria. This should include some or all of the following:

  • The conservation of both biological and cultural diversity through protection of the eco-system
  • The sharing of the economic and social benefits of a project with local communities and indigenous people by obtaining their consent and enabling them to have a full participation in the project
  • To promote both environmental awareness and cultural knowledge
  • To minimise the impact of tourism upon the environment
  • To protect and educate people about local culture, wildlife, fauna and flora

How Does Conventional Tourism Damage Local Communities?

Tourism represents an opportunity to make a lot of money and the problem with this is that governments and local businesses can often make rash assumptions about what tourists are seeking when actually these assumptions can often tend to only represent a fraction of what tourists actually want. Therefore, situations that can totally devastate local communities can arise. Examples might include building hotels or a state of the art golf course in a location which means that local communities are forced out of their homes as they are demolished to make way for new developments and a sudden increase in tourists can often place an unbearable strain on things like a local community’s water supply which, in certain regions, could actually prove catastrophic for the local community. Therefore, with an emphasis on environmental protection very much at the forefront of everybody’s minds these days, sustainable tourism is something that we should all be looking to embrace. Here are a few success stories and may give you some ideas of locations in which you can volunteer to help.

Examples of Ecotourism Projects

The list of ecotourism projects in which you can work as a volunteer is immense. Protecting giant turtles on the Galapagos Islands or helping to preserve the Great Barrier Reef in Australia are just two of the more well known examples. Other areas where you might choose to volunteer could include:

  • Leopard monitoring and research in Sri Lanka for its protection and conservation
  • The protection of endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica
  • Reforestation programs in Ecuador
  • Building new schools in Peru
  • Marine conservation in Fiji
  • Elephant protection in Botswana
The list is endless and it’s important to do your research as many programs involve upfront costs to you so you should do your comparisons first. Good websites to begin your research include Ecoteer, Gapyear.com, Responsible Travel and Outreach International.Whatever you decide, you can be certain to enjoy an experience that will live long in your memory and one which will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you have truly made an impact in protecting and conserving the environment and cultural heritage of local communities, wildlife, flora and fauna so that they can be enjoyed by future generations too.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
looking for a place where my daughters also can partecipate (16 years).
Chrisse - 31-Jul-12 @ 7:48 AM
hi. i would like to go to do voluntary work with animal, as soon as is possible. i have graduated on the university in zoology. what do i have to do for choose some programme. thanks for answer, Katka
katka - 6-May-12 @ 3:09 PM
i am 35. iwould like to go to asia this year for 6 months as volunteer worker.it is possible and how much i have to pay for everythung?please answer me.thanks.
JACK - 27-Jun-11 @ 3:34 PM
Hi, can i know more about the conservation and research programme in Sri Lanka? Am myself a tourism teacher in Singapore, and have always been interested in doing such work. Regards Kevin
Shorty - 25-May-11 @ 2:04 PM
I do not have a work visa, would I still need one for voluntary work? I am 48 and have no ties or committments back here in NZ and wouldn't mind change.
Debbie - 1-Apr-11 @ 10:04 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Jan
    Re: Working for Citizen's Advice
    I am a 60 yr old with many life skills. I have worked for the nhs all of my working life unfortunately due to health issues I am…
    19 November 2019
  • Kazza
    Re: Becoming a Samaritan
    Hi my name is Karen I'm a 59 year old woman I am interested in your volunteer role as a Samaritan or any role that I can help people Please…
    18 November 2019
  • Reeny
    Re: Volunteering to Help Premature Babies
    Does anyone know how I can volunteer to work with babies.
    17 November 2019
  • Kira
    Re: Volunteer as a Dog Walker
    Hey I’m 14 years old and starting my bronze DofE award in January 2020. I have put down dog walking as my volunteer work so I would…
    15 November 2019
  • Ljenk
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    I am based in wakefield, my daughter who is 9 and i are wanting to help any lpcal homless shelters or soup kitchens any advice would…
    14 November 2019
  • Nads
    Re: Volunteering for a Telephone Helpline
    I want to give back to the community and there is no better way then this. I would love to help with supporting anyone…
    13 November 2019
  • Kru
    Re: Volunteering With Meals on Wheels
    I would like to volunteer for the Meals on Wheels service within the Swindon area. I would discuss the number of days I…
    11 November 2019
  • Sultana
    Re: Working with Children or Adults with Special Needs
    Hi, my name is sayda... I'm interesting for work with special needs children because I need experience.
    8 November 2019
  • Atlantis
    Re: Volunteer With Your Local Fire Service
    Is they any cadets to do with firefighting for 27 year olds or volunteering on hull
    4 November 2019
  • Joe
    Re: Working With Animals
    I am currently in year 10, starting my Duke of Edinburgh Silver award and would like to know if you have any kitten socialisation volunteer…
    3 November 2019