Ecotourism in the Middle of the World

Ecotourism in the Middle of the World

by Marcelo Merlo



Ecuador is a country that is positioning itself as a strong ecotourism destination. There are already several awards that have recognized the country, such as the "World Green Destination" award, an important recognition of the tremendous efforts being undertaken to protect nature, diversity, culture, traditions and the variety that characterizes this great destination.


Currently tourism is the third largest source of income in Ecuador, and it is gradually achieving a step up to become the third economic source. There is a great desire to make it happen since tourism, especially ecotourism, is characterized as an excellent mean for wealth distribution, a source of employment and a powerful incentive for conservation of the environment and diversity.


A privileged geography granted this small territory with four completely different, diverse and nearby regions, making it the most diverse place in the world measured by square kilometer.


Internationally, the most well-known region is where Charles Darwin proved his hypothesis and synthesized his Theory of Evolution by observing how natural selection created the unique species on each island. This place, which was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, is the magnificent, eccentric and idyllic Galapagos Islands. Unlike most islands in the world, this destination offers visitors a completely distinctive experience, since each island has its unique flora and fauna generated by hundreds of microclimates throughout the area. In terms of sustainable tourism, the Galapagos Islands have managed to be among one of the destinations with the best sustainable practices worldwide. This has been possible through a collaboration of international and national agencies, which have set regulations to large and small businesses in various ecological and social fronts.


The second best known region worldwide is the green lung of the world: the Amazon. This exotic place was born with both a blessing and a curse. Under its thousands of acres of rainforest, there are large reserves of minerals and oil, which remain essential sources of economic development. The struggle for preserving this magnificent place had been increasingly stronger, and ecotourism is one of the most viable solutions to do so.


The contrast of these regions is enhanced when only two hours away from being surrounded by a thick forest and an intense humidity, we found ourselves stepping on the snow of one of the splendid peaks of the Andes mountain range, which crosses Ecuador from north to south. This region is locally called “La Sierra” and is characterized by huge colonial centers located on both small towns and big cities, including two cultural world heritages: Quito and Cuenca.


We only need to travel a few minutes away from “La Sierra” to be on the pacific coast, which despite being the least known region to foreign tourists, is the most popular option for those who live and continuously travel in Ecuador. Pink sand beaches, whale watching, huge colonies of sea animals, adventure sports, exquisite cuisine and formidable mangroves are just some of the reasons why this region cannot be omitted from a visit to Ecuador.


In conclusion, we might lack all the necessary time to admire everything that this destination has to offer, however, those who visit Ecuador will have experiences impossible to replicate anywhere else in the world. Traveling through the Sierra, the Coast, the Jungle or the Galapagos Islands, is an invitation to be in contact with each of our five senses. It is not just to observe the beautiful mountains, volcanoes, and colonial towns, nor is to hear the countless sounds of the Amazon rainforest; it is trying the best cocoa in the world, it is feeling the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and it is breathing the fresh air of this great sustainable paradise.


About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




> The International Ecotourism Society 



The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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