In a society in which the phenomenon of mass tourism is expanding, some tourist destinations suffer due to the overtourism phenomenon. We can take a look at cities like Barcelona or Paris, which have lost their charm and grandeur due to the commercial tourist attractions they are known for. I don’t think you could see many Parisians waiting for a long time in a queue only to climb the Eiffel Tower or shop on the Champs-Élysées. And then, we ask ourselves – do these commercial tourist attractions represent the soul and the specificity of the city?
We can go even further and mention the social and infrastructure problems that mass tourism creates – locals can no longer keep their traditions; the price of houses, food and services increases dramatically, and perhaps the most important thing is the lack of peace.
In order to stop the anthropic pressure of this “overtourism”, the most developed states came with various solutions. These include: diversification of access routes and restriction of traffic. The Mayor of Barcelona acknowledged this problem and began the process of “discouraging tourism” by limiting cruises in the city and by stopping the development of the airport. Other destinations offer alternatives to cars use for tourist transport. This is the case of the ski resort of the Swiss Alps, Zermatt. Here, cars with internal combustion engine were banned. Thus, to reach the resort, tourists have small shuttles and electric trains.
The principles of ecotourism
There are some opinions that say that Romania doesn’t have these problems. But you just have to remember the image of the Romanian coast in August to realize the existence of this issue. Sustainable development also occurs in the case of ecotourism – a form of tourism that takes place within nature. It aims to reduce the negative impact on natural, anthropic and human resources. It is about the principle of sustainable development, which involves meeting the tourist needs of current generations, without compromising the development of future generations.
Green Report presents in their report the ecotourism principles of which we will mention 7:
- The direct and personal experience of the tourist in nature
The tourist activity is carried out within the nature and is based on its use. Using the geomorphological, biological, physical and cultural characteristics of nature, the tourist will benefit from a closer proximity to the natural and spiritual values.
- The interpretation of the ecotourism product
Interpretation is the way in which the operator provides tourists and the local community with information and experiences regarding the potential of the area, its natural and cultural values, all with the aim to increase the level of knowledge and appreciation.
- Nature conservation and sustainable development
Planning and development of ecotourism activities must be done in such a way that the impact produced on the nature will be minimal.
- Contribution to the conservation of natural areas
Ecotourism involves the participation of operators in the conservation of the visited natural areas, offering constructive ways for the good management and conservation of these natural areas (eg: offering financial assistance for the rehabilitation actions of the natural areas, collecting waste or contributing to conservation organizations).
- Sustainable contributions on the development of local communities
The benefits of ecotourism should be directed at least in part to the communities. In addition to financial contributions, the benefits to communities can also come from using local guides, buying local goods and services and using local facilities.
- Preserving the cultural values of the regions
The ecotourism activities and their planning must ensure a reduction of the negative impact on the visited local community and on the lifestyle of the inhabitants, while offering constructive long-term contributions to these communities. As a result, ecotourism must also highlight the cultural component of the visited area and contribute to the conservation of this component.
- Fair marketing, which should lead to realistic expectations from visitors
Ecotourism marketing offers its clients complete and responsible information that leads to increasing respect for the natural and cultural environment of the visited areas and increasing the satisfaction of tourists.
Thus, the ecotourism principles or those of sustainable development make the difference between a saved traditional gastronomy or a commercialized one. Also, the natural objectives of interest must thrive in the ecotourism universe by planting forests and sanitation facilities at the areas of tourist attraction.
More than the material inheritance that we leave to future generations, without realizing it, we offer, through the power of the negative example, an inheritance that cannot be recovered to future generations.
How to practice responsible tourism?
We would like to invite you to look beyond this image of the tourist who gets out of the car, makes the endless photo for social media and spends a weekend at the guest house with food and drinks. Do something special! I would like to share with you simple ideas about how to practice responsible tourism and how to make your holiday special. I took as an example the area of Maramures, heavily frequented by Romanian tourists, but not exploited at its ecotourism value:
- How about taking a chisel and trying your skills in the art of sculpture? At Bârsan Art you can try Brâncusi’s art while listening to the stories of master Ioan Bârsan about his long-standing time on the American land. You will be surprised by the therapeutic benefits of this activity.
- But, what if instead of getting in the car, you would ride a bicycle? This is how you will really have the opportunity to see and smell the Maramures countryside. You will be able to pedal its winding roads in a slow pace that allows you to enjoy the small details of the real village life.
- Dress popular clothes and attend specific holidays of the Maramures region. Its locals proudly carry on the their traditions. Join them in preserving these traditions.
- Enjoy the traditional food cooked by the people. Local seasonal products will always be tastier than the ones from any restaurant. Don’t forget that through your snacks you help a community to preserve its traditions and you give people another reason not to go abroad.
- Listen to the stories of locals and the history of a Maramures so familiar, yet so enigmatic. Perhaps the most important thing is the exchange of information by word of mouth. Find out where you are and we are sure you will have many more stories to tell your friends on your way back home. In addition, the locals are friendly – you will be surprised by the way they threat you.
Maybe you think I’m exaggerating or maybe you don’t believe in the opportunity to make changes in your way of traveling. However, I invite you to visit our page and discover different holidays, different people, different ideas and other tourism.