Karla News

Ecotourism: Defined, Principles and Benefits

What is Ecotourism?

Ecotourism has been hailed as the new eco-savior of the future to the “voyeuristic indulgence of rich first worlders.” But no matter what someone may call ecotourism and those who travel to ecotourism destinations, whether luxurious or get down and dirty, some things never change. Ecotourism provides the opportunity for self discovery, growth and to make a difference somewhere on people and the environment. No matter what the reasons for participating in ecotourism, either as a tourist or a provider of ecotourism experiences, one thing remains the same, the people and places involved benefit economically, socially, and culturally and so does the environment.

Ecotourism Defined and Principles

Ecotourism is defined as, “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. (TIES-The Ecotourism Society, 1990) According to TIES and other ecotourism organizations the principles of ecotourism are to unite “conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.” As a result those who participate in this type of “vacation” or activity should abide by the following principles:

-Minimize impact.

-Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.

-Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.

-Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.

-Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.

-Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.

Ecotourism Facts:

TIES fact sheet also offers the following ecotourism facts:

For the world’s 40 poorest countries, tourism is the second most important source of foreign exchange, after oil.

In 2006, Travel & Tourism (consumption, investment, government spending and exports) is expected to grow 4.6% and total US$6.5 trillion.

See also  The Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska

What are the benefits of ecotourism?

-helps reduce poverty

-creates tourism based jobs

-encourages conservation

-creates protected zones and regions protection not only the people, but plants, animals and endangered wildlife

For example: Another important ecotourism destination is Africa. For example, Kenya employs 55,000 people in its wildlife tourism industry alone. The Kenya Wildlife Service recorded $24 million of revenues from wildlife tourism in 1990. For 1995, it was $54 million with 25% of earnings paid to communities in areas adjacent to parks and reserves.

A recent study of Amboseli National Park in Kenya determined that each lion there was worth $27,000 and each elephant herd as much as $610,000 in tourist revenue per year. (Source: Green Money: Eco Travel)

-creates and encourages sustainable lifestyles and cultures

-enables those who participate in ecotourism to travel a path of self discover, education, research and do something good for the environment.

Ecotourism does not have to be a grand gesture, but can range from simply staying in environmentally conscious resorts to participating in sustainable and conservation efforts in that area. To participate in ecotourism you may choose to use environmentally conscious travel advisors like “Orbitz” or plan a trip to Kenya to see the protected animals on the endangered species list. You can also make donations, attend workshops on the topic of ecotourism or volunteer to help create an ecotourism destination somewhere in the world. Wherever ecotourism takes you, you will find that, “Extraordinary travel meets endless possibilities.” (TIES Ecotourism Conference)

For more information on how you can participate in many ecotourism efforts contact: The Nature Conservancy and The International ecotourism Society.

See also  How to Maximize Your American Airlines Miles Account