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Ecotourism

From Academic Kids

Ecotourism essentially means ecological tourism, where ecological has both environmental and social connotations. It is defined both as a concept / tourism movement and as a tourism sector. Born in its current form in the late 1980s, Ecotourism came of age in 2002, when the United Nations celebrated the "International Year of Ecotourism". The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people". However, this is a vibrant, new movement and there are various definitions.

Many global environmental organizations and aid agencies favor ecotourism as a vehicle to sustainable development.

Ideally, true ecotourism should satisfy several criteria, such as

  • conservation (and justification for conservation) of biological diversity and cultural diversity, through ecosystems protection
  • promotion of sustainable use of biodiversity, by providing jobs to local populations
  • sharing of socio-economic benefits with local communities and indigenous people by having their informed consent and participation in the management of ecotourism enterprises.
  • increase of environmental & cultural knowledge
  • minimisation of tourism's own environmental impact
  • affordability and lack of waste in the form of luxury

For many countries, ecotourism is not so much seen as a marginal activity intended to finance protection of the environment than as a major sector of national economy and as a means of getting currencies. For example, in countries such as Kenya, Ecuador, Nepal, Costa Rica and Madagascar, ecotourism represents a significant chunk of foreign revenue.

The concept of ecotourism is widely misunderstood and, in practice, is often simply used as a marketing tool to promote tourism that is related to nature. Critics claim that ecotourism as practiced and abused often consists in placing a hotel in a splendid landscape, to the detriment of the ecosystem. According to them, ecotourism must above all sensitize people with the beauty and the fragility of nature. They condemn some operators as "green-washing" their operations--that is, using the label of "ecotourism" and "green-friendly", while behaving in environmentally irresponsible ways.

Although academics argue about who can be classified as an ecotourist, and there is precious little statistical data, some estimate that more than five million ecotourists--the majority of the worldwide population--come from the United States, with other ecotourists coming from Europe, Canada and Australia.

Currently there are various moves to create national and international ecotourism certification programs, although the process is causing controversy.

See also

External links

es:Turismo ecolˇgico fa:اکوتوریسم fr:╔cotourisme nl:Ecotoerisme

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