Ecotourism and Other Forms of Tourism

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2.1 Principles of Ecotourism
As presented in the previous chapter, scholars have defined ecotourism in various ways, although the essence of each definition is more or less the same. The characteristics of ecotourists and principles of ecotourism have been also described. The principles of ecotourism developed by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) are presented hereunder (Shrestha and Walinga, 2003): Avoids negative impacts that can damage or destroy the integrity or character of the natural or cultural environments being visited. Educates the traveler on the importance of conservation. Directs revenues to the conservation of natural areas and the management of protected areas. Brings economic benefits to local communities and directs revenues to local people living adjacent to protected areas. Emphasizes the need for planning and sustainable growth of the tourism industry, and seeks to ensure that tourism development does not exceed the social and environmental 'carrying capacity'. Retains a high percentage of revenues in the host country by stressing the use of locally owned facilities and services. Increasingly relies on infrastructure that has been developed sensitively in harmony with the environment - minimizing use of fossil fuels conserving local plants and wildlife, and blending with the natural environment. 17

MOPE: State of the Environment/Eco-Tourism/2004

Other authors have described ecotourism principles differently but the essence of these principles (Blamey, 2000; Dhakal and Dahal, 2000) is not too different from those mentioned above. •

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It should not negatively impact the resource that helps to develop ecotourism in any destination. Rather it should be developed in an environmentally friendly manner. It should provide benefits to all parties—local natural resources, people and the tourism industry - with a stake in ecotourism. It should extend first-hand information to visitors. It should provide educational opportunities for all parties - local communities, government, NGOs, industry and tourists. It should encourage all-party recognition of the intrinsic values of the resource. It should involve acceptance of the resource on its own terms, and in recognition of its own limits. It should promote understanding and partnerships between many players, which could involve government, NGOs, industry, scientists and locals. It should promote moral and ethical responsibilities and behavior towards the natural and cultural environment by all players.

2.2 Ecotourism and other Forms of Tourism
Mass tourism remained dominant in the world tourism market for a long time. But with change in times, tourism too has taken various forms, some of which are described hereunder.

MOPE: State of the Environment/Eco-Tourism/2004


2.2.1 Alternative Tourism
Alternative tourism can be defined as ‘forms of tourism that set out to be consistent with natural, social and community values and which allow both hosts and guests to enjoy positive and worthwhile interaction and shared experiences’. Therefore, ecotourism can be assumed to be one form of alternative tourism (Zurick, 1992 cited in Sheedy, 1995; Wearing and Neil, 1999). Butler (1990 cited in Kunwar, 1997) identified several characteristics of alternative tourism. He observed it to be of small scale and developed and owned by local people. It involves traveling to relatively remote, undisturbed natural areas with the objective of admiring, studying and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals and cultural attributes. It also considers the conservation of the environment and sustenance and well-being of local people. Further, clients are expected to be individuals. Accommodations are locally owned and small-scale.

Box 2.1: Features of Alternative Tourism The attempted preservation, protection and enhancement of the quality of the resource base which is fundamental to...
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