In understanding the manner in which ecotourism is organized and practised, it is important first to acknowledge the fact that ecotourism may produce positive and negative benefits.
While ecotourism is an evolving concept that is only now gaining mass appreciation in the age of Global Warming, it has been an integral concept to most societies that have sought to live harmoniously with nature in their shared habitats. The promotion of ecotourism as the answer to the persistent question involving the management of ecosystems in an age defined by mass movements of people-an age characterized by rapid technological advancements increased population, and hence, increased production and exploitation of natural habitats by human and animal species. Ecotourism recognizes the integral role played by humanity in exploiting and enjoying natural resources under man’s capacity for self-awareness. Ecotourism exploits this idea to champion for development that is conscious of the natural environment and takes into account the needs of future generations to be part of this fantastic universe and participate in the enjoyment of its resources. The exploitation of natural resources for its aesthetic qualities should not be conducted in a manner that defeats the right of others to do the same without depleting the resources. In practice, however, ecotourism comes with advantages as well as disadvantages. The advantages of ecotourism far surpass the problems of the culture.
In fact, as more people become aware of the benefits of ecotourism, they are expected to implement it across various parts of the world to protect sensitive ecosystems such as parks, water bodies, and other areas of interest to humanity as a source of tourism revenue and leisure.Advantages of EcotourismEcotourism comes with associated benefits owing to the manner in which this type of tourism is organized and arranged. For instance, ecotourism teaches responsibility to participants and lets them take part in the conservation of sites that the locals and visitors find fascinating. Since the practice is grounded in principles of environmental responsibility, accountability, as well as compensation, stakeholders in ecotourism, find it easier to implement their policies in the community they are protecting(Youdelis, 2013). Firstly, since the practice seeks to minimize most of the harmful or dangerous aspects of traditional/conventional tourism, it ends up replicating only the best practices in the field of environmental protection ( Driscoll et al, 2011). It is essential to limit the interactions between human beings and other ecosystems because of humanity’s tendency to ruin ecosystems for other living things. By limiting such communications, it becomes possible to implement a far-reaching policy that can define the manner in which humanity can enjoy and partake of the fruits of nature by limiting or reducing the number of environmentally destructive activities that have been shown to cumulatively lead to the over-exploitation of the environment and natural resources.
In the same breath, it is noteworthy that ecotourism is practised as a collective project by the community. Such community initiatives tend to be more inclusive and involving a large number of community members. Attaining such collectivism in the protection of the environment in situations that allow for conventional tourism is almost impossible because the benefits and burdens of traditional commercial travel are never shared equally or fairly. However, with ecotourism, it becomes possible for the entire community to take charge of protecting its vital resources and tourist attraction sites by demanding that all stakeholders take responsibility for their environments (Almeyda et al, 2010). At the same time, it allows for fair decision making since decisions are to be made after consultations that tend to accommodate the needs of the majority without compromising those of future generations.
It is essential to understand the criteria used in ecotourism to reduce the impact of pollution caused to natural ecosystems by tourism. Ecotourism is founded on the notions of attaining direct funding or financial benefits from conservation activities. Thus, through ecotourism, communities can make profits from their conservation activities in a sustainable manner. These financial benefits do not just go to aid in the conservation of the ecosystems but are also channelled into budgets to give community members economic benefits such as the improvement of social services around the ecologically sensitive area or site. The financial benefits associated with ecotourism include direct job injections into the local economy as a result of locals being employed or engaged in economically productive and environmentally friendly tourism practices that can give everyone value for their time and efforts.
Biodiversity can be used sustainably because the locals do not need to travel to distant parts to enjoy nature. At the same time, the costs associated with tourism are significantly reduced for tourists because they are usually invited to pay compensation that is not excessively determined as is the case with most aspects of commercialized tourism.