The Pros and Cons of Ecotourism

Topics: Tourism, Sustainability, Sustainable tourism Pages: 8 (2151 words) Published: February 15, 2011
The pros and cons of Ecotourism
1. Introduction

Ecotourism is defined as responsible travel to natural areas that protect the environment and improve the welfare of local people (International Ecotourism Society (TIES), 2005). It also follow certain principles such as minimize impact, build environmental and cultural respect, provide financial benefits to local people (TIES, n.d.). Global ecotourism began in 1990, and has been growing 20-34% per year, especially in 2004, ecotourism was growing globally 3 times faster than the tourism industry as a whole; with continuous growth, and ecotourism will occupy 25% of the world travel market within six years (TIES, 2005). Ecotourism has advantages and disadvantages. It can contribute to a country’s economic development and also benefit local people. For the poor countries, tourism is the second most important source of foreign exchange, after oil (TIES, 2005). It also can bring job opportunities and increase local people’s income. However, the disadvantage cannot be neglected. Ecotourism can produce pollution and damage the environment. According to TIES (2005), there are 109 countries with coral reefs, 90 of them are being damaged by cruise ship and sewage. It also estimated that the cruise ship produce more than 70,000 tons of waste each year. The shock to local culture is also a big problem. Recently, the advantages of ecotourism are still being debated.

This report is concerned with the advantages and disadvantages of ecotourism. It will first illustrate the impact of ecotourism to local culture. Secondly, it will discuss the contribution of ecotourism to economic. Then it will analyze the impact of ecotourism to environment. Finally, it will seek of possible solutions to overcome the disadvantages. Though the disadvantages of ecotourism caused big problems, this report will argue that the advantage of ecotourism far outweigh its drawbacks.

2. The Impact to Economic
Tourism is widely believed to be the most rapidly growing global industry, while ecotourism is believed to be the fastest growing tourism segment (Ecotourism Society, 1998). Although it is growing rapidly, there are advantages and disadvantages needed to be considered.

2.1 The advantages of ecotourism to economic.

Developing ecotourism can improve a country’s economic. The ecotourism projects can generate foreign exchange and provide economic benefits to the poor areas (Fennell, 1999). Campbell (1999) claimed that in Costa Rica, a country increasingly promote its industry to develop ecotourism niche, foreign receipts from tourism have surpassed those earned by traditional export products, to become the country’s most important economic industry. Ecotourism initiatives can also attract investment capital for community infrastructure development, often including improved local social and educational services (Barnes, Burgess & Pearce., 1992). These evidences show that ecotourism can contribute to economic greatly.

Ecotourism can also increase local people’s income and improve their living standards. A research did in Chicanab, Guatemala showed that most families in Chicacnab are farmers and they can get part of their income from ecotourism (Bascomb & Taylor, 2008). Men are paid 37.50 dollars for 18 days of work, however, they can earn same amount of money by hosting 2 tourists 2 nights (Bascomb & Taylor, 2008). In some other areas, local people also using the money earned by tourism to improve people’s living standard. According to a research of ecotourism at Masoala National Park, Madagascar, half of park visitor entrance fees are allocated to local management committees called COGES, in 1991, the COGES invested approximately 700 US dollars on road improvements, construction of tables for a primary school, public toilet construction and building rehabilitation (Ormsby & Mannle, 2006). The development of ecotourism can also increase local employment (Tisdell, 2002). However,...
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