Ecotourism is travelling to natural areas, not altered or changed only slightly by human activities, with a responsible attitude towards nature and the least impact on the environment. This kind of tourism promotes sustainable development of the territories, involves local people in providing services and creates economic incentives for environmental protection.
Ecotourism includes various types of tourism: recreational, adventure and others, provided that a person who participates in an eco-tour does not interfere in natural ecosystems, expressing respect to the environment and culture of local residents, and the tourist expenditures go into the wildlife funds and local population.
Ecotourism increases the environmental awareness of both tourists and locals who, observing the interest of others in their region, begin to appreciate the natural resources more and participate in their protection. Ecotourism provides funds for conservation programs, parks maintenance, maps and brochures publishing.
Ecotour has a number of features that distinguish it from mass tourism. A trip to natural areas is organized for relatively small groups. The motivations of tourists are their need in communication with nature, a desire to get the aesthetic and moral satisfaction from it and to see the unique landscapes. Another feature of ecotourism is an ecological conscience of travelers. Tourists are ready to forget about the benefits of civilization for a while, perhaps even temporarily give up certain habits for maintaining the environment in proper condition. In addition, ecotourism means some environmental education together with learning about natural monuments, architecture and cultural features of the local population.
Ecotourism in Ukraine began to develop not long ago, but today many members of the tourist market offer the products with "eco" prefix. However, it must be admitted that not everyone understands the classical sense of the term "ecotourism", based not only on outdoor recreation, but also on an educational component, the consciousness of tourists and the key role of local culture. One of the tasks of the Ukrainian Adventure and Ecotourism Association is a formation of a common vision on the processes in the Ukrainian tourist environment of members of the Association. This will lead to more effective cooperation, improvement of the quality of services and development of the industry.