EcoTourism Worldwide - Conservation and Monetary Value
The benefits of protecting biodiversity and combating climate change by creating protected areas like National Parks and Wildlife Reserves are well known. But often it is difficult to translate these benefits into monetary value. Though their value goes far beyond money, unspoilt natural places are a wonderful, perpetual source of income: entrance fees, guided tours, accommodation and so forth.
Costa Rica - no artificial ingredients (www.everysteph.com)
Calculating the long-term economic value -- from tourism to "ecosystem services" -- of protected areas may well be the key to ensuring their survival, additionally providing ample justification for future expansion.
The emergence of ecotourism has not escaped criticism, however.
“In the continuum of tourism activities that stretch from conventional tourism to ecotourism, there has been a lot of contention to the limit at which biodiversity preservation, local social-economic benefits, and environmental impact can be considered "ecotourism". For this reason, environmentalists, special interest groups, and governments define ecotourism differently. Environmental organizations have generally insisted that ecotourism is nature-based, sustainably managed, conservation supporting, and environmentally educated.The tourist industry and governments, however, focus more on the product aspect, treating ecotourism as equivalent to any sort of tourism based in nature. As a further complication, many terms are used under the rubric of ecotourism. Nature tourism, low impact tourism, green tourism, bio-tourism, ecologically responsible tourism, and others have been used in literature and marketing, although they are not necessarily synonymous with ecotourism.
The problems associated with defining ecotourism have often led to confusion among tourists and academics. Many problems are also subject of considerable public controversy and concern because of greenwashing, a trend towards the commercialisation of tourism schemes disguised as sustainable, nature based, and environmentally friendly ecotourism. According to McLaren, these schemes are environmentally destructive, economically exploitative, and culturally insensitive at its worst. They are also morally disconcerting because they mislead tourists and manipulate their concerns for the environment. The development and success of such large scale, energy intensive, and ecologically unsustainable schemes are a testament to the tremendous profits associated with being labelled as ecotourism.” Read more about Ecotourism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotourism
Following is a list of 8 incredible Eco-friendly destinations in the world:
Costa Rica. The country undoubtedly most associated with ecotourism with its well protected natural beauty. Having coastlines on both the Caribbean and the Pacific, Costa Rica is almost one-fourth rainforest and in addition has breathtaking volcanoes and pristine beaches that add to the stunning biodiversity in the country.
Norway. This might not be a place that first comes to mind with ecotourism, but this country’s culture of trying to live sustainably has influenced its travel industry - especially in the Norwegian Fjords. Among other things the government ensures that fishing, hunting and drilling for oil are all well regulated in this area.
Norwegian Fjord - flickr
Kenya. The country is one of the prime destinations for African safaris due to its grassland full of animals such as giraffes, lions and rhinos. It also offers beaches, coral reefs and mountains and with its varied landscapes quite a lot of diversity, especially of birds. Organisations within the country not only fight illegal poaching, but also make sure that travelers respect the ecosystem.
Palau. An island nation in the Western Pacific that is part of Micronesia. The country has dedicated itself to preserving their beautiful landscapes with diverse forests, untouched beaches and crystal blue sea coastline, home to coral reefs and hundreds of species of fish.
Galapagos Islands. In 1978 the islands were declared the first ever Natural World Heritage Site due to the amazing and unique fauna that call the Archipelago home. Luckily, the country has a Directorate of the Galapagos National Park which implements a visitor management system to make sure the area is respected and tourism remains sustainable.
Land Iguana, Galapagos Island
Antarctica. This place remains one of the least touched places on earth for obvious reasons - you can only ever reach the landmass during summer. Still, thousands of tourists make the journey via boat each year to see icebergs, penguins and whales among other beautiful species.
Antarctica - Pixabay
Iceland. It has recently become a top tourist destination for its remote beauty. The country is the cleanest energy producer in the world. Travelers can reduce their footprint by camping instead of big hotels or hiking, biking and horseback riding instead of driving to explore the country’s beauty.
Amazon Rainforest. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. More than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's freshwater is in the Amazon Basin.The Amazon has already suffered extremely from climate change and the encroachment of man, but some areas around the huge forests are aiming to change that. Natives have become guides to lead tourists in a sustainable way and promote the health of the ecosystem.
Palau Beach - Pixabay
As Thoreau once wrote: “In Wildness is the Preservation of the World”.
Nature based tourism has positive potential growing the economy of not only developing countries. For ecotourism to succeed proper policies must be established and enforced to protect and manage natural attractions. Regulations need to be in place to ensure conservation of natural resources to prevent adverse impacts on the environment, communities and cultures. They are also needed to ensure that revenue stays in the area for the benefit of local communities, people who work in the field of ecotourism and the countries economy as a whole. Furthermore education plays an important role to encourage a deeper appreciation and valuation of these special places on both parts, locals and foreigners to the natural environment. Only in a win-win situation for all concerned can ecotourism be a viable industry.
Brazilian Amazon Rainforest - Wikimedia Commons
Newsday, 2015 (viewed 27.03.2018)
Tripping, Isabella Sayyah, 2017 (viewed 27.03.2018)
Wikipedia, 2018 (viewed 27.03.2018)