Eco-Tourism: the Future of Tourism

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In a newspaper article “Eco-tourism: It’s not easy being green”[1] dated in June, 2007, the author criticizing there are still ecological damages, especially the effect to the wild animals that accompanies the eco-tourism.

It says, Eco-tourism, generally defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people”, is often misunderstood. And most of the travelers, even they are concerned about the environment of the places they visit, not means their actions are turned out to be green.

Some people believe that eco-tourism is easy to say, but not easy to be true. Because too many tourists itself will cause great damage to the environment, especially the sensitive environment, like the Arctic region.

For example, the author mentioned dolphins in New Zealand are showing increasing signs of stress, resting for much less time when there are more than three tourist boats close by. Polar bears go on alert any time a vehicle comes by, using up valuable fat stores, which is critical for hunting and defending themselves. While in Africa, meerkats and mongoose have caught tourist-borne diseases.

So Eco-tourism is nonsense? The author also said abolishing eco-tourism is not the answer. If done in a responsible manner, eco-tourism is a good thing. According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), eco-tourism is: "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." Eco-tourism is about connecting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in responsible tourism activities should follow the following eco-tourism principles[2]: •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...
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