Where can you go to heal the world and maintain optimum social distancing.
by Debbie Ross
No country has been left unscathed by the pandemic when it comes to tourism. The effects, however, will be most profoundly felt in those destinations that are most reliant on tourism for livelihoods and economic well-being. Tourism is a lifeline for the least developed countries, most notably within Africa, areas in Asia and South America.
The global economy needs a travel rebound and I’m sure you could use one too. As soon as it’s safe, make your plans count with some of these ideas to help heal the world. Whether you decide to book now or later there’s one guarantee you won’t be the only one benefiting from your long-awaited getaway.
The Moroccan desert
This is the year to visit the desert locations traditionally accessed with a caravan of camels and where the economics of tourism are a critical part of survival. Trips are customized to make a stop at stunning campsites in desert towns. Here you’ll spend time with the nomadic communities. Far from the big cities these nomads rely on tourisms to sustain their nomadic tribes, rural craftspeople and remote cooperatives. As a responsible tourist you will be helping to bolster local economy while preserving and sustaining natural and cultural resources for future generations.
Feed your spirit in Laos
Luang Prabang was named a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Vat Phou, the ancient Khmer temple near Champasak. Considered one of the sacred cradles of Buddhism travelers looking to find inner peace can do so here. Join novice monks at Wat Phu Temple in Luang Prabang or take a cruise up the Mekong to least visited devout villages. The tourism sector in Laos is now second in importance only to mining in the economy. As a whole, tourism and related services have generated over 385,000 jobs in the country, helping to improve income for the Lao people, particularly the poor.
Breathe new life into Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Rising temperatures have made coral bleaching a pervasive and ongoing threat, 30% of the coral perished in 2016 and another 20% in 2017. If current trends continue over 90% of the reef will be gone from central and southern parts of the reef in just 10 years. WWF work with the Australian Marine Conservation Society to manage the fight for the reef campaign. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the major threats to the reef including industrialization global warming and fertilizer runoff. As the largest economic contributor to the Australian economy from reef-dependent activities in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, marine tourism supports more than 60,000 jobs and provides access for more than 2 million tourists each year.
Champion biodiversity in Ecuador’s Amazon, Andes and Galapagos.
It’s hard to believe they are all represented in one tiny country that’s roughly the size of Nevada. Ecotourism profoundly affects the Amazon. Money spent directly in the local economy helps give financial value to rainforest preservation. With eco-tourism, income is earned from preserving the rainforest and deforestation is discouraged.
Explore inland at Cotopaxi, an active straddle volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The volcano is an important part of the local culture and is held sacred by the Indian indigenous communities. Tourism in the Galapagos is working because it has been developed under a systematic program that regulates how many tourists are visiting each island daily. They rotate the islands that each tour is able to take you to, and change the trails on the island, so no one trail is overrun. Here you will find a wide variety birds including Galapagos finches, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, sally light foot crabs, sea lions, tortoises and penguins. A nature lover’s paradise. Tourism has, for many years, been an important contributor to the Ecuadorean economy, and one of the main sources of employment for the Galapagos Islanders.
Take a wildlife safari in Uganda.
It’s one thing to view animals from the safe confines of a Jeep safari and yet another to hike through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to view the Mountain Gorillas. Almost half the world’s mountain gorilla population, around 450 of them, can be found in the 331 square kilometre park. Though still endangered, the population has been built back up over the last four decades through careful conservation efforts. This type of close encounter is restricted to a small group with a time limit set for viewing these majestic primates. Tourism dollars go towards anti-poaching and rangers protecting the animals and the once almost extinct mountain gorillas.
Responsible tourism in Kenya.
Kenya’s great Mara ecosystem is everything an animal devotee could ask for. Maternal leopards with cute cubs, big elephant herds and millions of migrating wildebeest. Explore East Africa’s great rift valley by day citing animals and birds and then fall asleep to the grunts of hippos in the river. These trips are not only ideal for socially distant times but also critical to ensuring the future success of the area stewardship. Kenya’s people are being recognized as playing a pivotal role in the safari experience. They are the guardians of the precious wildlife, as well as being as intrinsic a part of a Kenyan holiday as the creatures themselves. Tourism has been an important part of Kenya’s recent history, resulting in the creation of vast national parks and game reserves and outlawing of hunting. But Kenya’s ability to adapt to this shift – moving the emphasis from wildlife to people – will determine the impact that tourism has on its future.
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