With so much concern over global warming and the future of our planet, the idea of eco tourism is becoming more of an “in thing” to do.
Whether it be something really adventurous, like the treks to the north and south poles by David de Rothschild (as well as his planned voyage in a boat made from old plastic bottles to the “islands” of discarded plastic wastes in the Pacific Ocean) or to see the effects of climate change and global warming on the Amazon rain forests, and other similar venues, eco-tourism is definitely something many people are getting involved in.
We’ve covered a ton of eco tourism ideas on Green Prophet. For background reading, see how Daryl Hannah made a splash in Sinai, why Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber planted trees in Israel, or how Alexandra Cousteau wrote a “water journal” from the regions of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
With all this in mind, is there merit to people embarking on eco-tourism trips to locations in the Middle East? You bet there is; and there are plenty of locations to go to as well.
Whether it be the environment’s effects on Egypt’s Nile River and delta region, biblical sites in Sinai, such as Jebel Musa (said by many to be the Mount Sinai where Moses received the Ten commandments from God); Mt. Nebo in Jordan (where Moses ascended into heaven after being allowed to look at the Promised Land from afar); the Sea of Galilee where Jesus did much of his ministry; and the futuristic cities being built in Dubai and other Persian Gulf locations, there is much to see and experience in this region, from an eco-tourism standpoint.
Now more than ever, social liability and environmental responsibility lies with each one of us. Moreover, the crisis context leads us to awareness and it is time for everyone to make people change their mind about caring for our environment.
Nevertheless, there is a sector where social liability is has not taken its range, it is the tourism sector. There are not only environmental problems to witness in this region, but a number of positive solutions as well.
These solutions include projects dealing with renewable energy; such as solar, wind and even wave energy. There also many projects dealing with soil and water conservation; and projects in which desalinated water is being created by energy derived from the sun, and not just from conventional means such as fossil fuels.
With around 30 billion dollars per year, tourism is the most productive sector nowadays, and we have not considered yet all the damages that vacationers cause to the environment and local populations.
To fix this, organizations who offer sustainable tourism represent a credible perspective for the future. Sustainable tourism enables visitors to be involved in living in the environment they are coming to visit, as well being involved in projects to help improve the environment, such as the recent “Walk About Love” cross-Israel trek from the southern city of Eilat to the Northernmost sector in the Hulah Valley, just recently completed last month.
Except the environment care once you get to these locations, which normally should be obvious, it is important to underline to the vacationer the importance of tasks supporting local communities, as well as the care for animals and not destroying plants.
These kind of projects already exist in other parts of the world, but need to be encouraged and developed in the Middle East – and staying in a luxury hotel and planting a tree doesn’t quite fill the bill.
In case of generating more interest in ecotourism, which could be an evolution over the current type of tourism in the years to come, we all need to get more involved. For our own future depends on it.