Ecotourism And Sustainable Tourism

Ecotourism And Sustainable Tourism

According to hector Ceballos (1983) ecotourism means "the tourism that involves travelling to relatively undisturbed natural area with the object of admiring, studying and enjoying the scenery and its wild Flora and Fauna as well as cultural features found there."

Eco-tourism embraces following basic elements:

• The natural environment as the primary attraction and the cultural environment playing a secondary role

• The sustainable use of the ecological and cultural environment.

• Focus on education and the interpretation of the resource

• Provision of the benefit to the host community

As far as we know, Tourism is about people and places where one group of people leave, visit and pass through places, the people who make the trip possible and the people encountered in the tour, it involves travellers, host communities and governments.

Tourism is a booming industry. With many travellers flocking to different destinations around the globe, tourism is becoming one of the most viable business markets in the world. However travel, and other aspects of tourism are adding to the planet's pollution crisis and this has become a huge problem.

Travel operators and hospitality corporates realised that some action needed to be taken, and Eco-tourism was created as a solution to this problem. It brought the accountability and responsibility towards the environment by being responsible so it is also known by "Responsible Tourism" in other words. 

Eco-tourism is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry which involves the conservation of biological and cultural diversity through education of locals and tourists alike. By protecting ecosystems it has had a positive effect on the local communities and their livelihoods through their participation in projects and lessening the impact on the environment.

Also, Responsible tourism means all tourism directly dependent on the use of natural life e.g. wildlife, Flora & Fauna and landscape. 

Nature based tourism include eco-tourism and mass tourism. And Uncontrolled mass tourism continues to contribute to the degradation of natural & cultural significance thus leading or causing loss of biological and cultural biodiversity.

Furthermore, Continuous growth of tourism on a particular tourist destination adds stress to its environment and the cultures of their indigenous people. Ill informed people unwittingly disturb the natural eco-systems by destroying animal habitats, throwing rubbish, and even influence the natives to hunt exotic animals and find ancient artifacts to sell to them and etc. This situation is not at all eco-friendly.

( I recommend you to read Butler's 1980s life cycle product model to the tourism industry and “Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) model” With six stages in the tourism product life cycle for further information)

Nature based tourism offers a way of financing unique ecosystems preservation. This provides opportunity for the community living near the protected areas to benefit economically e.g. employment opportunity. But Nature based tourism & travel while sustaining eco-system also degrades them. Much nature based tourism falls short of social responsibility to the local community.

Sustainable tourism is developed and managed in such a way that all tourism activities will focus on a heritage resource, natural and cultural which can be continued imminently and every effort is made to maintain the resource to perpetuity.

In tourism industry the destination is perhaps one of the most important elements. The destination region represents the tourist attraction at the destination which generates the visit. Tourism product is consumed where in destination. Hence the destination comes under considerable pressure from high levels of demand focused in time. 

Tourist pressures can lead to alteration of the tourism resource and as tourism resource and as tourist demand continues to raise so have many destinations around the world succumbed to environmental degradation. The impact that some form of tourism development has on the environment has raised concern among environmentalist and other constituents. Therefore professional management and planning of destination are critical if tourism is to contribute to their conservation and to be perceived as an acceptable industry in a world whose survival is threatened.

Tourism demand unspoilt environment in which to operate. It is essential that tour operation should be developed and managed in such a way that as to protect the natural assets. The extent to which tourism is developed, planned and controlled in an orderly and coordinated manner will affect the long-term quality of the tourism product and subsequently the success of the hospitality Industry. While tourism can be a catalyst for development, it is important for the government agencies plan and develop tourism carefully so that the benefit can be optimized without creating social and environmental problems

Low impact forms of tourism counteracts the effects of mass tourism that poses a number of challenges on the resource base i.e. environment, society, and economy. Low impact forms of tourism create a balance between environment quality and resource utilization. This is mainly aimed at empowering local communities in managing their natural resources that is creating an incentive to conserve the biological resource in the environment by allowing the beneficial effects from tourism filter down to the individual families and households.

Alternative tourism is now seen as forms of tourism that are consistent with natural social and community values and which allows both the host and the guest to enjoy positive and worthwhile interaction and shared experience it is also known variously as ecotourism, nature tourism sustainable tourism environmentally friendly, environmentally sensitive, ecological compatible ecologically sound or Green and eco-tour such as Walking tours, Birds Safari, Camel safaris Guided nature walks, horse riding safaris, bicycle tours, home and farm stays, youth tourism.

Many destinations marketed as responsible tourism does not consider the local community development, economical, social welfare and human rights. Indeed majority of them care less about the resource as long as it brings the "green bill ". There must be concern with staff and tourist education i.e. the expected visitors' behaviour. Thus in this, nature based tourism is formulated as sustainable development. The concept of set principles, Ties 1991 defined it as responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and sustains the well being of the local people.

It is now fashionable to look at tourism development in the context of "sustainability" "alternative tourism" "green tourism" all of which have a particular meaning to different people but majority of this are just eco-labels or marketing. Sustainable tourism is that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

For that Consider now your current travel practices, measure how they affect the environment and local community living at the tourist destination. Is your comfort killing the destination? What impact will it have on long run? For instance, instead of traveling in an air conditioned vehicle- you can go by walking or cycling? Being a Green traveler is being eco-friendly and important for Sustainable Tourism. Now you should be able to begin realizing that the choices you make on your travels do count on long run, For our Future generation!

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