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Exploring Ecotourism: The who, what, why, and how. Christine Denny Pandion Systems, Inc. www.pandionsystems.com Taylor V. Stein University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation. What is Ecotourism?. Relatively unknown … industry, business, practice, concept,

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Exploring ecotourism the who what why and how l.jpg

Exploring Ecotourism: The who, what, why, and how

Christine Denny

Pandion Systems, Inc.

www.pandionsystems.com

Taylor V. Stein

University of Florida

School of Forest Resources and Conservation


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What is Ecotourism?

  • Relatively unknown … industry,

    • business,

    • practice,

    • concept,

    • phenomenon?????

  • What do you think it is?

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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“Official” Definition of Ecotourism:

“Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.”

- The Ecotourism Society

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Ecotourism as a market segment:

Source: World Tourism Organization 2001

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Ecotourism

Local People

Visitors

Environment

Source: Taylor Stein 2003

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Ecotourism Provides…

  • Benefits to Local People

  • Benefits to the Environment

  • Benefits to Visitors

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Benefits of Nature-Based Recreation

  • Nature-based recreation products?

  • Understood what other natural resource professionals produced.

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Benefit

  • An improved condition (e.g., a gain) of an individual or a group of individuals or another entity (e.g., environment),

  • The prevention of an unwanted condition.

  • A desired condition.

(Driver , 1994)

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Types of Benefits

  • Personal

    • Psychological

    • Physiological

  • Social

  • Economic

  • Environmental

Source: Taylor Stein 2003

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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What kinds of businesses fall into the ecotourism category?

  • Guided nature tours- canoeing, hiking, birdwatching

  • Cultural tours- historical, archeological

  • Farms (Agritourism)- livestock, herbs, organic

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Who else benefits from ecotourists?

  • Outfitters- birding store, hiking gear, camping

  • Restaurants- local cuisine

  • Craft sales- pottery, clothing, local artwork

  • Bed and Breakfasts

  • Others?

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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From a functional viewpoint ecotourism is:

  • Mostly individual or small-scale tourism (tour groups <25 and hotels with <100 beds

  • Operated by small and medium sized companies in natural areas

  • Concentrates on leading and accommodating small groups in natural areas in an educational manner

    Source: United Nations Environment Programme 2001

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Who are these people???

  • Age: 35-54 years old

  • Gender: 50% female, 50% male

  • Education: 82% college grads

Information from Wight 1996 and TIES 2000

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Who are these people?

Party composition:

  • 60% travel as a couple

  • 15% travel with families

  • 13% travel alone

Information from Wight 1996 and TIES 2000

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Where do they stay?

Ecotourists are more likely to select from a range of intimate, adventure-type accommodations such as cabins, lodges/inns, camping, bed and breakfasts, or ranches.

Information from Wight 1996 and TIES 2000

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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What do they spend?

Expenditure: $1000-$2000+/trip

Information from Wight 1996 and TIES 2000

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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The Green Premium

  • 83% of US travelers are inclined to support “green” travel companies and are willing to spend on average 6.2% more for travel services and products provided by environmentally responsible travel suppliers.

    Source: The Travel Industry Association of America (1997)


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How long do they stay?

  • Trip length: 8-14 days

Information from Wight 1996 and TIES 2000


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When do they travel?

North American ecotourists prefer to travel in the summer, however experienced ecotourists will travel during the off season.

Information from Wight 1996 and TIES 2000


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What do they want?

  • Wilderness setting

  • Wildlife viewing

  • Hiking/trekking

Information from Wight 1996 and TIES 2000


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Overall, ecotourism trends suggest that the ecotourist is no longer representative of a small segment of the population. As ecotourism becomes more mainstream and the term more widely used, ecotourism is drawing a diverse audience. This opens up many opportunities to develop nature-based tourism for a broad audience.


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Why do they do it?


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Defining the Ecotourist

Backpackers?

Adventurers?

Families?

Foreign Visitors?

Hunters?

Seniors?

Bird Watchers?

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Recreation Behavior

  • What are recreationists’ desired benefits (motivations)?

  • How do motivations relate to setting and activities?

  • What are visitors’ attitudes toward:

    • Management

    • Policies

Source: Taylor Stein 2003

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Psychology and Ecotourism Management

  • Identifies definable market segments

    • Direct visitors to certain opportunities.

    • Provide alternative opportunities.

  • Aids in managing for social setting:

    • Conflicts

    • Crowding

Source: Taylor Stein 2003

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Motivations

  • Achievement/Stimulation

  • Physical Rest

  • Teach/Lead Others

  • Risk Taking

  • Risk Reduction

  • Meet New People

  • Creativity

  • Nostalgia

  • Agreeable Temperatures

  • Enjoy Nature

  • Learn New Things

  • Family Relations

  • Reduce Tension

  • Escape Physical Stress

  • Share Similar Values

  • Independence

  • Introspection

  • Be with Considerate People

Source: Taylor Stein 2003

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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How do you bring them in?

  • Marketing to the ecotourist

    • Remember they are different than other tourists

    • They want nature-oriented, smaller-scale settings and are willing to pay for it


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How do you keep them?

  • “Linking” ecotourism businesses to provide a diversity of experiences in an easy-to-access manner.

  • Training and education for ecotourism providers, managers, and community members so that visitors get a top-notch experience.

  • Example: Birder-friendly communities


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Example: Birding

  • Two birding “hot spots” in southwestern Arizona attracted 38,000 “avitourists” in 1991, who in turn spent $1.6 million and generated $2.7 million in local economic output, sustaining 56 local jobs (Common Ground 1993).


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What are the impacts of ecotourism?

  • To the resource?

  • To the community?

  • To the visitor?

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Impacts will occur

And they occur quickly.

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Vegetation Cover Loss


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Source: Taylor Stein 2003

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Social Impacts

  • Conflicts

  • Crowding

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Types of Conflict

  • Outdoor recreation vs. other resource uses

  • Outdoor recreationists vs. resource managers

  • Interactivity conflict

  • Intra-activity conflict

Source: Taylor Stein 2003

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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How do you control these impacts?


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Monitoring

Repetitive sampling of the same thing over time to document a change.

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Why Monitor

  • Predict future (identify patterns),

  • Identify potential problems,

  • Prove changes are occurring, and

  • Design higher quality trips.

Source: Taylor Stein 2003

©Pandion Systems, Inc. 2004


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Planning

  • Think about the methods and consequences BEFORE you bring in the visitors- ecotourism is more than heads and beds.


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Education

  • Teaching decision makers about the potential benefits and impacts from ecotourism

  • Teaching operators about how to run a sustainable business while protecting the resource

  • Teaching community members how to welcome visitors and provide a positive experience

Example: Florida ecotourism training programs


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Florida ecotourism training:

TOPICS TAUGHT:

  • Ecotourism in Florida

  • Resource sustainability and protection

  • Marketing, promotion, and partnerships

  • Basic business tips for current and future ecotour operators

  • Why people choose ecotourism

  • Interpretation- helping visitors feel a connection to the resource


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This is perfect… what can go wrong?


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Case Study: Oceanville, USA

  • Oceanville USA is a small town with a population of @ 9,000 people

  • The town is one of a few small towns that remain in this coastal region of the state.

  • Tourism to the area has increased 300% in the past 7 years.


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Case Study 1: Oceanville, USA

  • Visitors began coming to Oceanville after articles were published in national magazines touting it one of the “last great escapes.”

  • Local managers saw this as a potential boon for the local economy- commercial fishing was no longer a profitable enterprise and residents desperately needed another income source.


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Case Study 1: Oceanville, USA

  • Local managers began marketing the culture and nature of the area- Oceanville quickly became known as a town to visit to see “how life used to be.”

  • Ecotourism became the catch phrase for all businesses that sold nature and culture in some way.

  • Long-time residents began selling crafts, giving sightseeing tours, and opening up souvenir shops.


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Case Study 1: Oceanville, USA

  • Visitors flocked to the town to soak in the down-home flavor of the place.

  • They also visited the beaches and were thrilled that they could spend days at peace in such natural beauty (for low prices!).

  • Oceanville became known far and wide as a tourism destination.


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Case Study 1: Oceanville, USA

  • Oceanville’s success drew developers and investors to the area.

  • The local government saw this as another boon to the economy and welcomed the influx of money that came from building hotels, condos, and vacation homes.


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Case Study 1: Oceanville, USA

  • Within 10 years of its “discovery”, Oceanville looked nothing of its former self.

  • Most of the locals had moved away due to the lack of good paying jobs.

  • The beaches and green spaces that once attracted ecotourists were now built up into high rises, condos, and luxury beach homes.


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Case Study 1: Oceanville, USA

  • Although the economy in the area was strong, the majority of the money was controlled by a few large developers and business owners.

  • The visitor demographic to Oceanville changed and the nature and culture-oriented visitor no longer came.


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Case Study 1: Oceanville, USA

  • What went wrong?

  • How could this have been changed?

  • How could ecotourism have helped keep this community in the hands of its residents while still providing economic opportunities?


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Ecotourism is:

  • “Responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.”


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Thank you for your time.

Christine Denny

Pandion Systems, Inc.

352-372-4747

cdenny@pandionsystems.com

www.pandionsystems.com

Pandion is environmental science, training, research, and education


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