The Amazon River and the jungle that surrounds it, has always been one of those places that holds a certain sway over the imaginations of people the world over. It is a vast and unexplored wilderness that has yet to reveal all of its secrets and mysteries.We’re fascinated with tales of lost jungle tribes that have yet to be contacted by the outside world. We’re entranced by stories of giant anacondas, killer piranhas, and a ecosystem so large and powerful that it effects weather patterns across the globe.
Because of this global fascination with the region, adventure travelers have long made the Amazon one of their “must see” places, but it still remains under the radar for most travelers, even those going to South America. Tourism to the Amazon does not have a major impact on the economy there, with the exception of Manaus, Brazil, and to a lesser extent, Iquitos, Peru.
The Amazon Jungle touches parts of nine countries, most of which still have emerging economies that look to tourism to help spur their growth. As such, these countries are looking at ways to exploit the Amazon to lure in more visitors and enhance their appeal as a travel destination. That starts with building a better travel infrastructure and getting information out about what the Amazon has to offer. One of the biggest reasons there are so few visitors to the rainforest is because of the lack of reliable information and challenges toward planning a trip there.
%Gallery-63881%As we’ve become more aware of global climate change and the impact that man has had on the environment, we’ve come to recognize the importance of the Amazon basin to the Earth’s atmosphere. The jungle continues to be threatened by deforestation, losing an average of more than 14,000 square miles per year, mainly to loggers and farmers.
Fortunately, in the age of ecotourism and sustainable travel, the future of tourism in the Amazon looks bright. The various Amazon countries, eco-lodges, and tour operators now have a better understanding of what it takes to ensure that they not only protect the environments there, but also work more in harmony with them. They offer unique experiences to travelers, giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in an incredibly diverse biosphere like none other on Earth, and they do it while leaving as small of a footprint on the environment as possible.
This commitment to the environment was evident in my own journey through the Amazon, as we were continually reminded to gather our refuse and to make sure we left no trace of our passing. But on our last day of trekking in through the rainforest, my companions and I each planted a tree in the jungle, and took a vow to defend the rainforest. That vow may sound like a grand display for the tourists, but it was very clear that our guides took it seriously and had a deep concern for health of the Amazon as a whole.
One of the key elements of sustainable travel is that some of the money that we spend to visit these remote places goes directly to preserving those places as well. This concept has been highly successful in a number of countries and regions the world over, and it is becoming part of the process in the Amazon as well. As tourism ramps up, our dollars go to employ local guides and their support staff, as well as provide countries with incentive to designate large sections of the Amazon as protected areas, preserving it from deforestation and protecting the flora and fauna there as well.
With an established track record for being eco-conscious, and an existing plan for utilizing travel as a means for sustaining the environment, it seems that the future of travel to the Amazon is not only bright, but assured to be around for future generations to enjoy as well. The region has a lot of growth potential and while it will continue to be an adventure destination for the foreseeable future, it is becoming more accessible for travelers looking for a more relaxed travel experience as well.
Read more Adventures in the Amazon posts HERE.