The United Nations defines ecotourism as a kind of sustainable tourism that contributes to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage.
Over the past two decades, the concept of ecotourism has evolved significantly, targeting travelers looking for tours with a minimal negative impact on the environment. According to international studies, ecotourism currently accounts for over 20 percent of total tourism activities around the world.
The significance of ecotourism lies in its environmental benefits, as it focuses on environmental protection, eco-friendliness and environmental sustainability. In addition, it helps preserve biodiversity, accelerates the transition to a green economy, minimizes desertification and pollution, and contributes to the national GDP.
Ecotourism in the UAE
In line with the vision of its wise leadership, the UAE has consolidated its position on the world tourism map, with the number of inbound tourists reaching 16 million in 2017.
Although the country boasts significant environmental assets, the concept of ecotourism is still not fully exploited. As part of its mandate, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) launched a multi-phase national project named ‘The UAE’s Natural Wonders’ to promote ecotourism across the seven emirates.
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