Tourism can often bring with it high ecological costs, such as the building of infrastructure, unsustainable use of local resources and pollution. However Manu’s main attractions are it’s pristine environment and abundance of wildlife, in order to protect these, whilst still allowing people from all over the world to come and experience them, many of the tour operators have adopted the ecotourism approach.
Ecotourism is defined by some as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. It follows these general principles:
- Minimizing impacts.
- Building environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Providing positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Providing direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Providing financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raising sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.
In Manu these guidelines are approached in a variety of ways by different tour providers. Some put money back into the local communities, supporting projects that benefit both them and the environment, others aim for their lodges to have zero environmental impact. It can even be something as simple as building infrastructure using traditional techniques.
The park authorities also play an important role, they have control over the types of activities that go on in the reserve and the areas that tourists can access. All this means that Manu will be preserved for years to come, meaning more people can experience it’s natural wonders.
Ask your tour provider about their sustainable tourism policy to find out more.