The term Spelunking has been used in the United States for many years. It is the term for visiting wild caves without any scientific interest, just for sports or tourism. The term which is internationally used is Cave Trekking. It is much younger, and is obviously a result of the continuing boom of extreme sports since the 1990s. Many companies all over the world offer not only parachute and bungee jumping, but also cave trekking and canyoning.
There are many people who criticise the companies offering cave trekking. The main arguments are nature protection, the exploitation of a common good, the educational aspects. Caves are fragile and each visit, however careful, destroys a small part of it. Caves used regularly for cave trekking soon show signs of wearing down. Caves are in many countries not private property, the owner may own the entrance and the access, but the cave itself is often in the public domain. Companies earning money with trips into caves are making money from a public property. And if people learn about caving on spelunking trips, they learn the wrong things, for example that it is okay to visit caves just for sports. We dont think tour operators will educate people why their trips are a bad thing.
showcaves.com is dedicated to public caves, show caves and other cave visits. We do not think the touristic aspect to be unethical. However, we have many arguments why you should probably be very careful with what you learn at such trips.