The Effects of Ecotourism

The Nature Conservatory and the World Conservatory Union (IUCN) define ecotourism as "environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples."

  1. Features

    • The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) cites tourism as the principle export for developing nations as well as the leading export for a third of the poorest countries, with tourism second to oil as the most important source of foreign oil for the 40 poorest countries.

    Significance

    • Ecotourism can provide a feasible economical development alternative for communities without many other options for generating income. TIES states that the travel and tourism industry accounts for over 230 million jobs worldwide and contributes 10 percent of the worldwide gross domestic product.

    Potential

    • Ecotourism can augment the amount of activism and level of education among travelers, thus making them what the Nature Conservatory calls "effective agents of conservation."

    Function

    • Ecotourism and nature tourism differ in that ecotourism places an emphasis on education, conservation, active participation by the community and traveler responsibility.

    Effects

    • While there are positive effects of ecotourism, Go Green cites a recent Science News article in which researchers studying Humboldt penguins in three bordering islands off the coast of Chile discovered that those on the least-visited islands had three times the number of offspring.

    Warning

    • As cited by Go Green, a Science News article reveals that ecotourism has negatively impacted local citizens of the Kakum National Park in Ghana, with the unemployment rate rising from three to 27 percent as villagers are prevented from activities in the rainforest which used to provide income.

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References

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