Across the globe, as ordinary citizens many of us are more aware than ever before of the threats to the natural world and the need to protect and conserve the environment. In our own jungle eco-lodge home, in the rainforests of Peru, we have been working for more than 30 years to halt the loss of the Amazon rainforest, and to combat habitat destruction and the decline of endangered species.
In parallel with our growing concern for the world we live in and are shaping for our children, in the past three decades we have seen a steady growth in ecotourism and nature travel in general. While we all have our concerns about the carbon footprint produced by air travel, more and more people are choosing to travel to the Amazon and other wild, remote corners of the Earth, to contribute by their presence to rainforest protection, and to experience the contact with the natural world that urban environments have lost.
Of course, international travelers should certainly be concerned by the impact of intercontinental travel. But, at the same time, we should all be inspired by the way that the trend for exploring faraway places, instead of just sunbathing at a crowded holiday beach resort for a couple of weeks once a year, is bringing real benefits in the form of nature conservation.
At Tambopata Ecolodge, we believe that learning about and delighting in nature through the ecotourism experience is the best way of spreading the conservation message across all generations, and to all nations, including our own.
Ecotourism in Peru has brought an enormous expansion in the number and size of protected natural areas throughout our country. Here in our own corner of the Amazon basin, we have seen that well-managed ecotourism brings a positive impact to the national economy, while providing an incentive at both national and local levels to leave the rainforest intact.
Spread throughout the world, in the 1960s there were just 1000 protected natural areas, covering only 3% of the Earth’s land surface. Today, the world has more than 100,000 conservation areas, and they protect more than 11% of the planet’s land surface, totaling over 19,000,000 square kilometers. Every day, we hear about the destruction of the natural world, but these are figures well worth celebrating, and ecofriendly vacation initiatives like our rainforest eco-lodge offer those who travel to Peru a way to enjoy nature and contribute to its protection and conservation.