This term for Inquiry we are looking at the topic of Ecotourism and Sustainability.
We are focusing on discovering what this type of tourism actually is and then looking to design and build one of these resorts somewhere within the Gippsland beach areas.
What is Ecotourism????
Have you ever heard of this term before? What do you think it means?
What do you want to know about Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” (TIES, 1990)
Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism 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 requires tourism to contribute to the well-being of the natural areas and local communities in which they operate, and to educate and inform visitors. This means that the environmental values of national parks are protected and preserved while also being enjoyed.
What does Ecotourism mean, and why should you care?
With advances in transportation and information technology, even the most remote places on Earth are within reach of the traveler. In fact, tourism is now the world’s largest industry, with nature tourism the fastest growing segment.
People want to experience the nature and the world, but should try to do so in a way that doesn’t impact the natural environment.
In response to this increasing appreciation of nature experiences, a new travel ethic has arisen called ecotourism.
Most tourism in natural areas today is not ecotourism and is not, therefore, sustainable. Ecotourism is distinguished by its emphasis on conservation, education, traveler responsibility and active community participation. Specifically, ecotourism possesses the following characteristics:
• Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior
• Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity
• Support for local conservation efforts
• Sustainable benefits to local communities
• Local participation in decision-making
• Educational components for both the traveler and local communities
Increased tourism to sensitive natural areas without appropriate planning and management can threaten the integrity of ecosystems and local cultures. The increase of visitors to ecologically sensitive areas can lead to significant environmental degradation. Likewise, local communities and indigenous cultures can be harmed in numerous ways by an influx of foreign visitors and wealth.
However, this same growth creates significant opportunities for both conservation and local communities. Ecotourism can provide much-needed money that is used for the protection of national parks and other natural areas — money that might not be available from other sources such as the local governments.
Additionally, ecotourism can provide a viable economic development alternative for local communities with few other income-generating options. Moreover, ecotourism can increase the level of education and activism among travelers, making them more enthusiastic and effective agents of conservation.