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  1. 1. Assignment OnEco Tourism 1
  2. 2. EVOLUTIONVisitors have long been travelling to natural areas under the guise of recreation and tourism. Thishas led some observers to question whether ecotourism is simply a new name for an old activity(Wall 1994). However, several changes apparently have occurred in the last decade.First, there has been growth in visits to many natural areas, particularly in developing countries.Second, many economic development professionals increasingly have viewed natural-areavisitation as a tool for providing employment in regions that have experienced decline, or lack ofdevelopment, in other industries. Third, many conservation and resource managementprofessionals increasingly have viewed natural area visitation as an avenue for enhancing naturalarea finance and providing conservation-related benefits, particularly to residents living nearnatural areas. Fourth, there has been increasing attention paid to improving the sustainability ofall tourism activities, including those occurring in natural areas.Thus, although ecotourism may not represent an abrupt departure from historic recreation andtourism, it does represent a change in the level of visitation for many areas and a change in thegoals that various stakeholders attach to this visitation.The Australia case exemplifies the development of the ecotourism phenomenon (Lindberg andMcKercher 1997). In the late 1980s, ecotourism was an unknown entity that was just beginningto emerge in the popular lexicon. Its growth was spurred by the ongoing debate over tourism andthe environment and as a direct result of the enthusiasm for ecologically sustainable development(ESDWG 1991). At first, its potential market base was seen to be small although, as a newproduct, its growth potential was seen to be large.However, this niche concept changed in the early 1990s. The term ecotourism struck a chordwith the tourism industry, the travelling public, and with private and public sector agenciescharged with the promotion of tourism products. Ecotourism became a buzzword. The explosionof interest in ecotourism led to the emergence of a lively debate among academics and industryleaders about the merits of the activity. Ecotourism conferences resulted in the formation of anational ecotourism association, the Ecotourism Association of Australia. In the space of fouryears, the Commonwealth government (Allcock et al. 1994), state governments (DCE 1992), and 2
  3. 3. even regional associations (NPWS 1996) produced a variety of ecotourism policies designed toencourage the industrys development. This same period saw rapid expansion in the number ofecotourism operators and the emergence of specialist tour wholesalers and retail travel agents tomarket ecotourism products (Richardson 1996; Southern 1996).By the mid 1990s, ecotourism, as a concept, began to enter a period of maturity. Many of theclaims made in earlier years began to be disputed, and the legitimacy of many players to callthemselves ecotourism products was challenged. The travelling public either has become moreaware of what ecotourism encompasses or more critical about the idea to accept blindly theclaims that mass tourism destinations are ecotourism destinations. Assumptions regarding thebenefits of ecotourism have been challenged through empirical research (Lindberg, Enriquez,and Sproule 1996; Driml and Common 1995). As a result, a more realistic understanding of whatthe product entails and the benefits it can provide is emerging. 3
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION TO ECO TOURISMEco-tourism is more than a catch phrase for nature loving travel and recreation. Eco-tourism isconsecrated for preserving and sustaining the diversity of the worlds natural and culturalenvironments. It accommodates and entertains visitors in a way that is minimally intrusive ordestructive to the environment and sustains & supports the native cultures in the locations it isoperating in. Responsibility of both travellers and service providers is the genuine meaning foreco-tourism.Eco-tourism also endeavours to encourage and support the diversity of local economies forwhich the tourism-related income is important. With support from tourists, local services andproducers can compete with larger, foreign companies and local families can support themselves.Besides all these, the revenue produced from tourism helps and encourages governments to fundconservation projects and training programs.Saving the environment around you and preserving the natural luxuries and forest life, thatswhat eco-tourism is all about. Whether its about a nature camp or organizing trekking tripstowards the unspoilt and inaccessible regions, one should always keep in mind not to create anymishap or disturbance in the life cycle of nature.Eco-tourism focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth andlearning new ways to live on our vulnerable planet. It is typically defined as travel to destinationswhere the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Responsible Eco-tourismincludes programs that minimize the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the naturalenvironment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition toevaluating environmental and cultural factors, initiatives by hospitality providers to promoterecycling, energy efficiency, water reuse, and the creation of economic opportunities for localcommunities are an integral part of Eco-tourism.Historical, biological and cultural conservation, preservation, sustainable development etc. aresome of the fields closely related to Eco-Tourism. Many professionals have been involved informulating and developing eco-tourism policies. They come from the fields of GeographicInformation Systems, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Photography, Marine Biology and 4
  5. 5. Oceanography, National and State Park Management, Environmental Sciences, Women inDevelopment, Historians and Archaeologists, etc.Eco-tourism is considered the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, according to theWorld Tourism Organization with an annual growth rate of 5% worldwide and representing 6%of the world gross domestic product, 11.4% of all consumer spending - not a market to be takenlightly.DEFINITIONMuch attention has been paid to the question of what constitutes ecotourism, and numerousconcepts and definitions exist (Ballantine and Eagles 1994; Blarney 1995; Bottrill and Pearce1995; Buckley 1994). The International Eco-tourism Society (TIES), based in the US and themost international of the ecotourism organizations, defines ecotourism as “responsible travel tonatural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people”. TheAustralian National Ecotourism Strategy defines ecotourism as a “nature-based tourism thatinvolves education and interpretation of the natural environment and is managed to beecologically sustainable”. Numerous other definitions exist around the world.The variability in conceptual definitions like these is further complicated by the difficulty ofmoving from a conceptual definition to an operational definition. For example, a conceptualdefinition may involve sustainability, but when one tries to measure whether someone is anecotourist or some tourism activity is ecotourism, a more precise definition of sustainability isneeded. What are the criteria one uses to determine whether the activity is sustainable and thusqualifies as ecotourism?Most conceptual definitions of ecotourism can be reduced to the following: "ecotourism istourism and recreation that is both nature-based and sustainable," and it is this definition1 that isused here. Three features of this definition merit further discussion. First, the definition clarifiesthe descriptive and the prescriptive components of the ecotourism concept. The naturecomponent is descriptive or positive in the sense that it simply describes the activity location andassociated consumer motivations. The sustainable component is prescriptive or normative in the 5
  6. 6. sense that it reflects what people want the activity to be. An important point is that, as used here,sustainability incorporates environmental, experiential, sociocultural, and economic dimensions.The rest of this section shows that there is significant diversity in definitions of ecotourism andin the characteristics of ecotourism experiences. Typically, and as used here, most tourismactivities that occur in natural areas are loosely considered ecotourism. In practice, ecotourism isconcerned with making all nature tourism activities more sustainable-with achieving theconceptual definition presented above.Second, this basic conceptual definition incorporates more complex definitions. For example,some definitions focus on minimizing negative environmental and cultural impacts whilemaximizing positive economic impacts. Such a focus is a means to the end of achievingsustainability. Likewise, the definitional focus on environmental education tends to reflect adesire to satisfy tourists or to use education to reduce negative environmental impacts. In theformer case, it is a means to the end of achieving a sustainable experience. In the latter, it is alsoa means to the end of sustainability. Because most components of ecotourism definitions eitherfocus on the goal of sustainability or on means to achieve that goal, it is practical to use thesimple conceptual definition of ecotourism being sustainable nature-based tourism andrecreation.Third, and related to the second feature, by focusing on ends (the desired condition ofsustainability), this definition forces critical evaluation of what constitutes ecotourism. Forexample, is sport hunting ecotourism? Many observers feel that hunting is not ecotourism, butunder this definition it would be if it met the sustainability criterion. Though hunting will beinconsistent with concepts of sustainability in some natural areas (or may be rejected on othergrounds), it may be appropriate in others. Similarly, a large commercial group of tourists payingan entry fee to visit a hardened visitor centre and associated rainforest boardwalk may qualify asecotourists to the same degree as a small group of visitors following low-impact principles in apristine wilderness.Given the importance of sustainability within the ecotourism definition, a fundamental questionis "What is sustainability?" In simplified terms, tourism sustainability is postulated to result from 6
  7. 7. a positive overall balance in environmental, experiential, sociocultural, and economic impacts("experiential impact" is used to describe the effect of visitors on each other and "socioculturalimpact" is used to describe the effect of visitors on local residents). Thus, tourism activities thatgenerate more positive net benefits would be more sustainable, in general, than tourism activitiesthat generate fewer positive net benefits.The focus on benefits also clarifies ecotourism-related objectives. Historically, many sites havesought to increase the number of tourists, but this objective slowly is giving way to increasingtourist expenditure (a positive benefit), which does not always require increasing the number oftourists. Hopefully, this objective will progress to one of increasing income generated in theregion of question (again, which need not involve an increase in expenditure). Ultimately, theobjective should be to increase net benefits, a measure of benefits less costs. This refinement ofobjectives to focus on net benefits enhances the likelihood that ecotourism will be sustainable.VISITORS TYPE IN ECOTOURISMWith respect to visitor types and activities, a key consideration is the diversity within theecotourism market. Ecotourists may differ greatly in several aspects, including: distance travelled; length of stay; desired level of physical effort and comfort; importance of nature in trip motivation; level of learning desired; amount of spending; desired activities; and Personal demographics.For example, ecotourism experiences can range from 1 (a foreigner spending thousands ofdollars coming to Australia on a commercial tour to visit the Great Barrier Reef and the WetTropics rainforests) to 2 (a local resident camping over the weekend at an adjacent nationalpark). Ecotourists might engage in a wide range of activities, including trekking (hiking, 7
  8. 8. bushwalking), climbing, camping, hunting, photography, sight-seeing, fishing, birdwatching,whale viewing, and general exploration of remote natural areas.Of particular interest, visitor surveys (e.g., Eagles, Ballantine, and Fennell 1992) and anecdotalreports indicate that many ecotourists feel it important for their visit to contribute to conservationand local development. Though this is not important for all ecotourists, it does present additionalmotivation for businesses and government agencies to support conservation and developmentefforts.Lindberg (1991) provides a typology of nature/ecotourism types, though many other typologiesare possible: Hard-core: scientific researchers or members of tours specifically designed for education, environmental restoration, or similar purposes. Dedicated: people who take trips specifically to see protected areas and who want to understand local natural and cultural history. Mainstream: people who visit the Amazon, the Rwandan gorilla park, or other such destinations primarily to take an unusual trip. Casual: people who partake of nature incidentally, such as through a day trip during a broader vacation.GENERAL PRINCIPAL OF ECOTOURISMThe Ministry of Tourism has the specific agenda to promote tourism in the country in aresponsible and sustainable manner and as per this mandate promotion of ecotourism assumeslarger importance.Eco-Tourism has been broadly defined as tourism which is ecologically sustainable. The conceptof ecological sustainability subsumes the environmental carrying capacity of a given area. Thegeneral principals of ecotourism guiding the initiatives of the Ministry are as under: a) Minimize impact. b) Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect. 8
  9. 9. c) The local community should be involved leading to the overall economic development of the area. d) Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people. e) The likely conflicts between resource use for eco-tourism and the livelihood of local inhabitants should be identified and attempts made to minimize the same f) Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts. g) The type and scale of eco-tourism development should be compatible with the environment and socio-cultural characteristics of the local community, and h) It should be planned as a part of the overall area development strategy, guided by an integrated land-use plan avoiding inter-sectoral conflicts and ensuring sectoral integration, associated with commensurate expansion of public services. i) Provide direct financial benefits for conservation. j) Raise sensitivity to host countries political, environmental, and social climate. k) Support international human rights and labour agreements.AWARE OF THE ENVIRONMENTToday the "Green Laws" of conservation are making people aware of how man and theenvironment can live symbiotically for more time to come and eco-tourism is the only way tomaximize the economic, environmental and social benefits of tourism. Everyone is a stakeholderin the process and we clearly need to avoid our past shortcomings and negative impact that theyhave had. In India to the movement is gathering momentum with more and more travel andtravel related organization’s are addressing the needs of the eco-tourists and promoting eco-tourism in the country. Some basic dos and donts of eco-tourism are listed below:Dos Carry back all non-degradable litter such as empty bottles, tins, plastic bags etc. These must not litter the environment or be buried. They must be disposed in municipal dustbins only. Observe the sanctity of holy sites, temples and local cultures. 9
  10. 10. Cut noise pollution. Do not blare aloud radios, tape recorders or other electronic entertainment equipment in nature resorts, sanctuaries and wildlife parks. In case temporary toilets are set-up near campsites, after defecation, cover with mud or sand. Make sure that the spot is at least 30 meters away from the water source. Respect peoples privacy while taking photographs. Ask for prior permission before taking a photograph.Donts Do not take away flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds or roots. It is illegal, especially in the Himalayas. The environment is really delicate in this region and the bio- diversity of the region has to be protected at all costs. Do not use pollutants such as detergent, in streams or springs while washing and bathing. Do not use wood as fuel to cook food at the campsite. Do not leave cigarettes butts or make open fires in the forests. Do not consume aerated drinks, alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicant and throw bottles in the wild. Do not tempt the locals, especially children by offering them foodstuff or sweets. Respect local traditions. Polythene and plastics are non biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment and must not be used and littered.ACTORS IN THE ECOTOURISM "SYSTEM"Ecotourism often involves numerous actors, including: Visitors; Natural areas and their managers, including both public and private areas; Communities; Businesses, including various combinations of local businesses, in-bound operators, outbound operators, hotel and other accommodation providers, restaurants and other food providers, and so on; Government, in addition to its role as a natural area manager; and 10
  11. 11. Non-governmental organizations, such as environmental and rural development NGOs.The relevant actors will vary across sites. For example, local communities may be present atsome sites, but not others. Likewise, businesses may play a large role at some sites, but little orno role at others.A common phenomenon is that ecotourism can generate both symbiosis and conflict between theactors. The potential for ecotourism to result in symbiosis between conservation (e.g., naturalareas) and development (e.g., businesses) has been widely touted, but the potential for conflictshould not be ignored. For example, natural area managers and ecotourism businesses have ashared interest in conserving the natural environment. However, there often is conflict regardingthe point at which tourism activity jeopardizes this conservation. 11
  12. 12. ECOTOURISM INDIAEcotourism India has developed recently, for the concept itself is a relatively new one.Ecotourism entails traveling to places that are renowned for their natural beauty and socialculture, while making sure not to damage the ecological balance.Ecotourism pertains to a conscious and responsible effort to preserve the diversity of a naturallyendowed region and sustaining its beauty and local culture. Indians have been known since agesto worship and conserve nature. So the growth of ecotourism in India is but natural. Also, thegovernment of India has set up the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to promote ecotourism inIndia alongside other types of tourism.Ecotourism in India has grown significantly in recent years in India since the country has adiverse geography which led to the development of many tourists destinations. These variousdestinations not only de-stress the tourists but also rejuvenate them. There are various ways inwhich tourists can enjoy nature in India. And this has given ecotourism in India a major boost.Places such as Kerala, Lakshadweep Islands, and the Himalayan region, north-east India, andAndaman and Nicobar Islands are some destinations in India where tourists can participate inecotourism-related activities. In Kerala, Thenmala is a planned ecotourism spot and is the first ofits kind in India. Great care has gone into the care and preservation of Thenmala so that it catersto nature lovers and eco- tourists.Eco-tourists have been thronging India in large numbers for it has a rich source of flora andfauna. A great number of endangered and rare species are also to be found in the various nationalparks in India. The major national parks in India for ecotourism are: Corbett National Park in Uttar Pradesh Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh Gir National Park and Sanctuary in Gujarat Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan 12
  13. 13. Ecotourism India has increased in the last few years. The government of India and Ministry ofTourism need to make concerted efforts to ensure that ecotourism in India is able to keep pacewith ecotourism destinations across the world and making sustainable tourism a priority.There are for sure conscious efforts to save the fragile Himalayan Eco System and culture andheritage of the indigenous people, which is probably the largest concentration in the world.Holiday Camping vis a vis Hotel accommodation are gathering momentum amongst themetropolis traveller. A plethora of holiday camping options are available in the Himalayan belt,where soft adventure tourism is packaged with holiday camping to create an acceptable eco-tourism product. Resorts tucked deep inside jungles of Karnataka, House-boats of Kerala, andTree Houses at Vythiri combine to make India one of the most diverse eco-tourism destinationson the planet. Some of these are given below: Eco-Tourism Pioneers in Kerala –( Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Eco-Tourism Pioneers in South India ( The Camp RapidFire - Rishikesh, Uttaranchal The Camp BodhiSatva - Rajgarh, Himachal Pradesh The Himalayan Trout House - Tirthan, Himachal Pradesh –( Info on Organic Farming & Eco-Tourism: The Saat-tal Camp - Saat-tal, Nainital The Camp Purple – Mukteshwar The Camp Kyari (one of the finest models of Eco-tourism in the country) - Village Kyari, Ramnagar - Camp Silver Sands - Rishikesh, Uttaranchal Camp Lunagarh - Mori, Uttaranchal - The Himalayan River Runner Camp - Rishikesh, Uttaranchal - The OAI Camp - Rishikesh, Uttaranchal - The Leopard Beach Camp - Rishikesh, Uttaranchal - www.snowleopardadventures.comThese are but a selective panorama on the Indian Eco-tourism products. Some other eco-tourismspots in India are well detailed on the website 13
  14. 14. Tigers - Our National BeautiesIn the recent years it has been assessed that there is a growing trend towards travel to ecotourism destinations like National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.Considering this trend a series of meetings were organized by Ministry of Tourism with thestakeholders, State Governments and Ministry of Environment & Forests under theinitiative "Tigers - Our National Beauties" and the stake holders had raised serious concernabout growing dangers to wildlife in our National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries due tounplanned growth of infrastructure in these areas which is also affecting the corridors formovement animals in the parks.During these meetings, it was decided that before making any policy intervention we must haveindependent assessment of the ground situation in our National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries. Inview of this, on a pilot basis, the first assessment of Hotels, Lodges, Resorts, Camps and GuestHouses in and around Corbett National Park was taken up by Ministry of Tourism consideringthat Corbett Reserve has the highest density of tigers in the country and is under huge bioticpressure. The Ministry of Tourism had commissioned this survey through the Students inInstitute of Hotel Management, Pusa, New Delhi. Similar surveys were extended to KazirangaNational Park, Kanha National Park, Bandavgarh National Park, Pench Tiger Reserve andMudumalai Wild LIife Sanctury. The survey of the aforesaid parks has come out with first handinformation with regard to impact of tourism activity in and around the national parks and alsothe blocking of animal corridors.To encourage the Stakeholders to promote & practice Ecotourism practices, the Ministryof Tourism has included categories of awards " Best Eco friendly Hotel", “BestResponsible Tourism Project", "Best Eco friendly Practices by Tour Operators" in theNational Tourism Awards presented annually to various segments of travel, tourism &hospitality sector.ECOTOURIST MARKET PROFILEBased on data collected by a survey completed by HLA and ARA consulting firms of NorthAmerican travel consumers (1994), TIES has constructed the following ecotourist market profile. 14
  15. 15. Age:35 - 54 years old, although age varied with activity and other factors such as cost.Gender:50% female and 50% male, although clear differences by activity were found.Education:82% were college graduates, a shift in interest in ecotourism from those who have high levelsOf education to those with less education was also found, indicating an expansion intomainstream markets.Household composition:No major differences were found between general tourists and experienced ecotourists.Party composition**:A majority (60%) of experienced ecotourism respondents stated they prefer to travel as a couple,with only 15% stating they preferred to travel with their families, and 13% preferring to travelalone.Trip duration:The largest group of experienced ecotourists (50%) preferred trips lasting 8-14 days.Expenditure:Experienced ecotourists were willing to spend more than general tourists, the largest group(26%) stating they were prepared to spend $1,001-$1,500 per trip.Important elements of trip:Experienced ecotourists top three responses were: (1) wilderness setting, (2) wildlife viewing, (3)hiking/trekking.Motivations for taking next trip:Experienced ecotourists top two responses were (1) enjoy scenery/nature, (2) newexperiences/places.** Experienced ecotourists = Tourists that had been on at least one “ecotourism” orientedtrip. Ecotourism was defined in this study as nature/adventure/culture oriented travel.*Source- Ecotourism Statistical Fact Sheet, the International Ecotourism Society, 2000 15
  16. 16. ECOTOURISM STATISTICAL FACT SHEETGENERAL TOURISM STATISTICSWorldwideThe World Tourism Organization (WTO) estimates that there were more than 663 millioninternational travelers in 1999. Spending by these tourists was estimated at more than US$453billion. Tourist arrivals are predicted to grow by an average 4.1% a year over the next twodecades, surpassing a total of one billion international travelers by the year 2010 and reaching1.6 billion by the year 2020 (WTO, 2000). Tourism is the world’s largest employer, generating,directly and indirectly, nearly 200 million jobs or some 10% of the jobs globally (Honey andRome, 2000).THE ECOTOURISM MARKETMarket PlacementEcotourism is a nature based form of specialty travel defined by The International EcotourismSociety (TIES) as “responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment andsustains the well-being of local people.” This definition has been widely accepted, but does notserve as a functional definition for gathering statistics. No global initiative presently exists forthe gathering of ecotourism data. Ecotourism should be considered a specialty segment of thelarger nature tourism market.The Size of the MarketCeballos-Lascuráin (1993) reports a WTO estimate that nature tourism generates 7% of allinternational travel expenditure (Lindberg, 1997). The World Resources Institute (1990) foundthat while tourism overall has been growing at an annual rate of 4%, nature travel is increasing atan annual rate between 10% and 30% (Reingold,1993). Data which supports this growth rate isfound in Lew’s (1997) survey of tour operators in the Asia-Pacific region who have experiencedannual growth rates of 10% to 25% in recent years (Lindberg, 1997). WTO (1998) stated thatecotourism and all nature-related forms of tourism account for approximately 20 percent of totalinternational travel. Fillion (1992) outlines the magnitude of the ecotourism market through theuse of general tourism statistics. Fillion qualifies ecotourism as “travel to enjoy and appreciatenature”. In the opinion of TIES this more closely represents nature tourism, and is identified assuch on the table below. Fillion identified, through an analysis of inbound tourist motivations to 16
  17. 17. different worldwide destinations that 40-60% of all international tourists are nature tourists andthat 20-40% are wildlife-related tourists. (Different multipliers were used in these figures.)Nature tourists can be defined as tourists visiting a destination to experience and enjoy nature,And wildlife-related visitors can be defined as tourists visiting a destination to observe wildlife(e.g. birdwatchers).Table showing number of ecotourists in the total international tourist arrivals.Years Total International Tourism Nature Tourists Wildlife-related Arrivals Tourists1988 393 million 157-236 million 79-157 million1994 528.4 million 211-317 million 106-211 million 700 600 500 400 Nature Tourists 300 Wildlife related Tourists other tourists 200 100 0 1988 1994* Figures are in millions. 17
  18. 18. Table showing the total spending of ecotourists in the economy.Years Total International Direct Nature Tourists Related Tourists Economic Impact * Wildlife1988 US$388 billion US$93-223 billion US$47-155 billion1994 US$416 billion US$166-250 billion US$83-166 billion* Total International Direct Economic Impact = money spent on travel by tourists travelingabroad 600 500 400 Nature Tourists 300 Related Tourists Other 200 100 0 1988 1994* Figures are in US $Billions.*Source- Ecotourism Statistical Fact Sheet, the International Ecotourism Society, 2000( 18
  19. 19. STATISTICS FOR ECOTOURISM DESTINATIONSUSADomestic and international travelers made nearly 287 million recreation visits to the 378recreation areas administered by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) in 1998 compared to the275 million visits in 1997 This is an increase of 4.4% (Travel Industry Association of America,2000). Travel to the United States National Parks Service areas generated direct and indirecteconomic impact for local communities of US$14.2 billion and supported almost 300,000tourist-related jobs during 1996. It is unknown what portion of these visitors representedparticipation in ecotourism activities (Tourism Works for America, 1997).NepalThe Annapurna area is the most popular trekking destination in Nepal. Since 1989 the number oftrekkers coming to the area has increased at an annual rate of approximately 18%. In 1997,50,708 international trekkers visited the area. Out these 12,000 visited the Annapurna sanctuary(Gurung, no date).BelizeIn 1999 49.4% of 172.292 tourists to Belize visited Mayan sites, 12.8% visited Parks andreserves. Important reasons for visiting Belize are: to observe scenic beauty, to be in a naturalsetting and to observe wildlife (Higgins, 2000). Cayes and Barrier reefs were visited by 87% ofvisitors. 82% of visitors to Belize were in the age group of 18 to 50 years old and 65% werecollege graduates (Higgins, 2000)Galapagos IslandsGalapagos nature tourism has grown steadily since the pioneering days of the 1970’s, to thepresent level of over 60,000 visitors a year, making a $100 million-plus contribution to theEcuadorian economy (estimates vary) (Charles Darwin Research Station, 2001)KenyaFrom 1983 to 1993 visitor arrivals to Kenya grew by 45% (372,000 to 826,000). The KenyaWildlife Service (1995) estimates that 80% of Kenya’s tourist market is drawn by wildlife andthat the tourism industry generates one-third of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. 19
  20. 20. Revenue from Kenya’s wildlife parks increased to Ksh. 711 million in 1995. (In 1997US$1=60KS).AustraliaThere are an estimated 600 ecotourism operators in Australia today, approximately 85% of theseemploy fewer than 20 staff. Ecotourism businesses are estimated to have an annual turnover ofsome $250 million and to employ a total staff of around 6500, the equivalent of 4500 full-timestaff (Sport and Tourism Division Australian government, 1999). There has been a considerableincrease of international visitors to Australia’s national parks, with a rise in visitor numbersbetween 1993 and 1996 form around 1.2 million to more than 1.6 million, an increase of 33.3 percent. By 1998, this figure had increased to nearly 1.7 million, or 47% of all inbound visitors toAustralia aged 15 and over reported having visited national parks (Bureau of Tourism Research,cited by Sport and Tourism Division Australian government, 1999).In Australia, recent research found ecotourists to represent nearly 30% of domestic travellers(ecotrends 1999, cited by Wight, in press)PeruAn estimated 10.3% of tourists that visit Peru prefer to go birdwatching in natural areas(Proyecto PRA, 2000). According to studies carried out by PromPerú (2000) 47% of foreigntourists to Peru visited natural zones. Of this number, 44% combined visiting natural zones withvisiting cultural attractions and 3% came only to visit natural zones. The flow of visitors to 26 ofthe 52 Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado – ANPE (Protected Natural Zones by the State),increased 250% during the 1990-1999 period. Just in 1999, the number of visitors was estimatedin 642 336, according to the figures provided by the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales -INRENA (National Institute of Natural Resources) (Promperú, 2000).BrazilFive million visitors came to Brazil in 1999, five times as many as in 1991.Brazil has more than150 conservation areas, of which 40 National Parks. An estimated number of 3.5 million visitorswent to these National Parks in 1998. Especially the last two years the number of foreignecotourists has grown, it had 600,000 Brazilian ecotourists and attracted 200,000 foreignecotourists in 1998 (Janér, 2000). 20
  21. 21. South AfricaIn the period of 1986 until 1998 the number of visitors to game and nature reserves in SouthAfrica has grown by 108% annually. In 1986 the number of visitors to the reserves was 454,428,in 1998 this number has grown to 5,898,000 visitors. Game and nature reserves are the numberone activity for visitors to the country in 1997 (60%), rising by 2% over the previous year (SouthAfrican Tourism Board, 1998).UKResearch conducted by MORI for ABTA indicated that 85% of UK holidaymakers believed thatit is important not to damage the environment, 77% think that it is important that their visitsinclude experience of local culture and food and 71% feel that tourism should benefit the peopleof the destination visited, through jobs and business opportunities. 52% said they would beinterested in finding out more about local issues (environmental and social) in their chosen resortbefore they booked their holiday. The majority (64%) stated that they would be prepared to paybetween £10 and £25 extra for environmental, social or charity guarantees- representing a 2-5%Increase on a holiday of £500.* Source- Ecotourism Statistical Fact Sheet, the International Ecotourism Society, 2000 21
  22. 22. OVERVIEW OF ECOTOURISM IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGIONThis section provides quantitative and qualitative information regarding ecotourism in the Asia-Pacific region. The statistical data are based on World Tourism Organization (WTO) and WorldTravel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates. In addition, the WTO figures in particulargenerally are for international tourism and do not include domestic tourism, which often is quitesubstantial.More importantly, readers should remember the inherent limitations of ecotourism statistics.There are a several problems associated with measuring tourist flows and resulting economicimpacts (WTO 1997). One of these problems is the lack of a universal definition oftourism. Thus, the data presented here should be treated with caution.Caution is even more important when one turns to ecotourism, as definitions of this activity areeven less universal. There have been relatively few attempts to develop an operational definitionof ecotourism, one that allows the number of ecotourists or their economic impacts to bemeasured. Therefore, there have been very few estimates of the importance of ecotourism, eitherin absolute terms or as a proportion of tourism generally. Moreover, for practical reasons, theestimates that have been made typically are based on definitions focused on the naturecomponent, with little or no consideration of the sustainability component. Thus, estimatestypically reflect nature tourism rather than ecotourism. In short, currently it is all but impossibleto estimate with any accuracy the importance of ecotourism in the Asia-Pacific region.Given these important caveats, the following information provides an indication of ecotourism inthe region.FUTURE GROWTH IN TOURISM IN THE REGIONAs noted by the WTO (1997: 10, 34), the reasons for regional tourism growth include: rapidly growing income; freer intraregional travel; increased leisure time; 22
  23. 23. dynamic trade and investment; government promotion measures, such as launching "visit years"; and political stability in many of the regions countries.Many of these factors are expected to continue, with the result being continued tourism growthinto the future. Indeed, the East Asia and Pacific region is expected to surpass the Americas tobecome the worlds number two tourism region by 2010, with 229 million international arrivals(WTO 1996). Of all the WTO regions, East Asia and Pacific is forecast to have the highestaverage annual growth rate (7.6%) between 1990 and 2010, with South Asia having the secondhighest rate, at 6.7% (the world rate is forecast at 4.1%).The growth in arrivals is expected to result from roughly equal growth in the various sourcemarkets, including East Asia and the Pacific countries. Intraregional source market growth isparticularly expected from the emerging economies of China, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines,and Singapore (WTO 1997).The WTTC (1997) estimates that regional tourism output will increase by the followingpercentages in the ten years from 1997 to 2007:Northeast Asia 52%Southeast Asia 103%South Asia 119%Oceania 44%ECOTOURISM IN THE REGIONThere has been much discussion and debate regarding the size and growth of the ecotourismmarket. Although supporters of ecotourism, or any other phenomenon, like to provide largeestimates, others question this growth in some contexts (Blamey 1995). Estimates of market sizedepend on the definition used to describe the market. As noted above, the lack of a widely-accepted operational definition of ecotourism hinders estimates of the ecotourism market andprevents effective comparisons across sites. Moreover, because the sustainability component of 23
  24. 24. ecotourism definitions is particularly difficult to measure, most existing estimates are basedsolely on the nature-based component. Therefore, most estimates of ecotourism really areestimates of nature tourism.Keeping in mind that estimates should be treated with caution, Ceballos-Lascurin (1993) reportsa WTO estimate that nature tourism generates 7% of all international travel expenditure (c.f.,Lindberg 1994). Campbell (1994) reports that approximately 20% of all foreign tourists toThailand (in 1990) visited nature tourism sites. In some countries, such as Australia, thepercentage is even higher (Blamey 1995). Assuming that the Asia-Pacific region follows theglobal pattern, 7% might be used as an extremely rough estimate of the regions internationaltourism that can be viewed as ecotourism, with several countries exhibiting higher proportions.Lew (1997) divides ecotourism in the region into three zones: 1) South and Southeast Asia,which together comprise the major international destination region, 2) Australia and NewZealand, which have substantial domestic ecotourism industries, as well as a secondaryinternational market, and 3) the peripheral ecotourism areas, including China and Japan to thenorth, and the Pacific islands to the east.A thorough evaluation of ecotourism offerings and experiences across the regions countries wasnot possible given limited project resources. However, one ecotourism operator with many yearsof experience in Southeast Asia ranks countries in the following decreasing order in terms ofecotourism experiences: Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.Several other countries are not ranked and do not play major ecotourism roles, including: Laos,Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, and Vietnam.Currently, most nature tourists at some sites and for some activities are foreigners, typically fromNorth America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand. For example, Chudintra (1993) reports that90% of Thailands jungle tour clients are foreigners. However, domestic visitation predominatesat many sites. For example, Campbell (1994) reports that about 90% of visitors to Indonesiasnational parks are domestic tourists, while Chudintra reports that the percentage of such visitorsin Thailand increased from 58% in 1986 to 85% in 1990. Further information on adventure andecotourism source markets is provided in Aderhold (1996) and Wight (1996a; 1996b). 24
  25. 25. The characteristics of ecotourists and ecotourism vary widely across sites in the region.Nonetheless, Taman Negara in Malaysia illustrates some of these characteristics (DWNP 1996a,1996b; Stecker 1996). From 1984 to 1993, visitor numbers increased 360%, from 8,200 to30,000, respectively. Numbers have continued to increase, reaching 36,924 in 1994 and 43,491in 1995 (an 18% growth rate from 1994 to 1995). Of the 1995 visitors, 48% were Malaysian, 8%Singaporean, 7% British, and 7% German.The majority of the visitors were male (58%), young (89% under 40 years old), universityeducated (71%) and of high income. Motivations for visiting the park include: To see and experience rain forests (45% of respondents) For a holiday (16%) To get new experience (10%) For relaxation and sightseeing (8%) To see wildlife (8%) For recreation and adventure (6%) and To enjoy the camping life (3%).Activities undertaken by visitors include (in decreasing order of frequency) jungle trekking,birdwatching, swimming, caving, visiting indigenous forest dwellers, botany, mountainclimbing, and fishing. Somewhat more than a third of the visitors were on pre-arranged packagetours from Kuala Lumpur, while somewhat less than two-thirds made their own travelarrangements.PAST AND FUTURE ECOTOURISM GROWTH IN THE REGIONThough estimates of ecotourisms growth are rare, due to the definitional problem, mostobservers feel that ecotourism has grown faster than tourism generally during the past severalyears. Based on a survey of ecotourism operators in the region, Lew (1997) found that averageannual growth rates have been steady at 10% to 25% over the past few years, and many areprojecting higher growth in coming years.There are various explanations for ecotourisms growth, including: 25
  26. 26. increasing environmental awareness and interest, including the desire to be perceived by others as environmentally sensitive; increased media exposure to natural areas around the world; related to the above two, a desire to see natural areas before they disappear; increasing dissatisfaction with traditional tourism destinations and products, and a desire for more educative and challenging vacations; desire to go to novel destinations, sometimes as a way to "outdo" others (e.g., to be the first person one knows who has been to Antarctica); and Easier access to remote ecotourism destinations through development of air routes, roads, and other infrastructure.Insofar as the increased motivations to experience and preserve natural environments stem inpart from more fundamental changes in societal values (Blamey 1995; Inglehart 1990), thecontinuation of these fundamental changes, particularly in developing countries, should lead tocontinued growth in demand for ecotourism. Many observers believe that the growth rate forecotourism will be higher than for tourism generally. Thus, assuming an increase in theproportion of tourism represented by ecotourism from 7% to 10% and assuming that the WTOforecast of 229 million international arrivals by 2010 is accurate, an extremely rough estimate ofthe regions international ecotourism arrivals for 2010 would be 22.9 million. To this, one mustadd the substantial number of domestic visitors to natural areas.The ecotourism market is expected to evolve over time. Much of the ecotourism growth probablywill stem from intraregional travel (Choegyal 1996; Shukla 1996; WTO 1996; Wylie 1994). Asnoted above, growth in intraregional travel is expected for tourism generally as incomes rise andinfrastructure improves. Moreover, intraregional ecotourism in particular is expected to grow asregional population centres become increasingly crowded and polluted, and as increased wealthand education lead to greater knowledge of, and interest in, the natural environment.As noted in Section 4, growth in Asian ecotourism source markets will affect the type ofexperience sought by visitors. In general, it is expected that Asian ecotourists will travel in largergroups and will demand a higher degree of comfort than is the case for western ecotourists. Theyalso may be more interested in ecotourism day trips while lodging and dining in comfortable 26
  27. 27. resorts. An example of this is the Juldis Khao Yai resort and golf course on the border of KhaoYai National Park in Thailand. Asian visitors (mostly Japanese) flock to see the park, play golf,and stay in luxury in the middle of jungle surroundings.Evolution probably also will result from demographic changes occurring in society. For example,in source countries the "babyboomer" population is ageing, which will increase leisure timeamongst this group. However, the group may require ecotourism experiences that are lessphysically demanding, more easily accessible, and with more comfortable facilities.In addition, various factors affect the types of ecotourism experiences sought. For example,substantial media attention has been focused on the loss of tropical rainforests, and many touristswish to visit them partly out of a concern that they may be lost entirely. Future interest in forestvisitation may depend on continued media coverage and public concern about forest issues.Other trends, such as the increased popularity of SCUBA diving, may affect forest-relatedecotourism to varying degrees, depending on individual site characteristics. For example, forestareas near dive sites may benefit from add-on trips to the forest by divers. On the other hand,some forest areas may lose visitation as potential visitors choose diving-oriented trips rather thanterrestrial-oriented trips. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to identify future trends of thissort.Several other factors, many of them external, may affect demand at individual sites and countries(Brandon 1996; Laarman and Durst 1993; Lindberg and Huber 1993). For example, political oreconomic instability may cause strong decreases in visitation, an event that has at times affectedtourism demand for many countries in the Asia-Pacific region.In summary, historic data, trends, and expectations indicate that: tourism makes a substantial contribution to the regions economy; tourism has experienced rapid growth in the region (though less so in South Asia), and this growth is expected to continue; ecotourism in the region and globally has grown faster than tourism generally, and this probably will continue over the next several years; 27
  28. 28. domestic and intraregional visitors are an important component of the regions ecotourism, and this importance is expected to increase in the future; and Ecotourism demand will evolve over time, and the regions ecotourism sites will need to adapt to these changes.* Source- 28
  29. 29. CONCLUSION Ecotourism means "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." Fundamentally, eco-tourism means making as little environmental impact as possible and helping to sustain the indigenous populace, thereby encouraging the preservation of wildlife and habitats when visiting a place. This is responsible form of tourism and tourism development, which encourages going back to natural products in every aspect of life. It is also the key to sustainable ecological development. The core ideology of ecotourism is to promote education and awareness of environmental history, help finance future conservation and improve the well-being of local people and environment. As of 2000, ecotourism and nature-related tourism accounted for about 20 percent of international travel. The expenditures accounted for by ecotourism increase between 10 and 30 percent each year. As of 2000, ecotourists pay around $1,200 per trip--more than the average tourist. Tourism is the leading export for a third of the worlds poorest countries, and a principle part of the export economy for 83 percent of developing countries. In many countries, its the second leading source of foreign exchange, surpassed only by oil. While ecotourism may seem earth-friendly in the short term, documented long-term effects that may be of environmental concern include the impact of development and/or construction that effects the environment and recreational activities, changes in population dynamics and creation of waste.To conclude “What started as a hip, happening trend isnt just here to stay--itsgrowing.” 29
  30. 30. RECOMMENDATIONSAs a traveller, you will have an impact on the environment and culture of the place you arevisiting. Here are some rules of thumb to make this impact positive! Learn about your destination before you get there. Read guidebooks, travel articles, histories, and/or novels by local authors and pay particular attention to customs such as greetings, appropriate dress, eating behaviours, etc. Being sensitive to these customs will increase local acceptance of you as a tourist and enrich your trip. Follow established guidelines. Ask your eco-tour operator, guide and/or the local authorities what their guidelines are for limiting tourisms impact on the environment and local culture. Staying on trails, packing up your trash, and remaining set distances away from wildlife are a few ways to minimize your impact in sensitive areas. Seek out and support locally owned businesses. Support local businesses during your eco-travels to ensure maximum community and conservation benefit from your spending. 30