Understanding nature-based tourism and how to be an environmental tourist


Do you ever feel the need to get away from wherever you are, to hit that restart button, to break away from the monotonous routine, feel like being in an open space, feel small yet happy? Being out in nature comes to mind, right? More often than not we need to push the pause button or maybe rewind a little bit, take a break from people and our confined spaces and go out to explore the bounty, that is, our natural world. That is why we have nature-based tourism.

Some include environment or nature-based activities to their holidays to cleanse their travel palate. And then there are some who go for nature based holidays to get away from the usual. It doesn’t matter what your pick is, once you experience the natural world, there is no going back. Nature, with all its components, has a hold on us and we don’t hear any complaints, now do we?

What is nature-based tourism?

The forest and its denizens, the rivers, mountains, valleys, everything we experience which is wild and natural, comes under the umbrella of nature-based tourism. Environmental tourism, ecotourism, wildlife tourism and adventure tourism are all a part of nature-based tourism.

The desire to be in nature and explore the unknown is becoming more and more attractive these days. Maybe because city life is becoming a tad bit tiresome and people are now exploring ways to have a more enriching experience when they go on holidays.

But is it enough to just be a spectator? Of course, one can be a spectator, an appreciative one, but it is also a great thing if we can contribute. And that’s when environmental tourism comes in. It is a branch of nature tourism that lets us contribute what we can in the form of knowledge and information out to the general population. The desire to understand and conserve the natural environment plays a big role here.

Understanding nature-based tourism and how to be an environmental tourist?

Who is an environmental tourist?

Have you heard of
Citizen Science? Public participation in any scientific research is called
Citizen Science. You and I as a tourist can also become a citizen scientist. Scientific researchers can’t be everywhere all the time, that’s why they depend on data collected by the general public.

For example, there are nature portals like India Biodiversity Portal and iNaturalist. Here one can enter whatever is observed in nature, be it a beautiful flower, geographical features, an insect or plant you don’t recognise or find fascinating. You click a picture and add your find to the existing database. Your observation becomes a part of data that scientists study to understand the ecology of that particular area. Isn’t that cool? One minute you are a tourist and the next a citizen scientist.

Citizen Science has led to the discovery of many plant and animal species. More often than not, it is always the unsuspecting explorer who was just taking a photo of something he thought was quite strange. Or sometimes you explore an offbeat place and learn about things no Google Search taught you. For example, why is a certain patch of forest considered sacred? You are exploring a village and are eating a fruit you have never tasted before. As a nature traveller, you learn so much from things that come your way.

No wonder, a large number of travellers find nature-based tourism not only fun, but also satisfying.

  1. Who is India’s most famous Citizen Scientist?
    Dr. Salim Ali, Indian ornithologist and naturalist, was one of the most famous citizen scientists. He popularised ornithology (study of birds) in India.
  2. Is nature tourism popular in India?
    Yes. With 106 national parks, 564 wildlife sanctuaries, hundreds of mountain ranges, eight major river systems, and different types of topography, it is safe to say that nature tourism is popular in India.
  3. Is sustainable tourism different from nature-based tourism?
    Sustainable tourism is a part of ecotourism. Ecotourism, along with environmental tourism, adventure tourism and wildlife tourism, comes under nature-based tourism.


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