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The Meaning of Eco-tourism & the Community’s Understanding. John Ap & Dora Pang The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Introduction. Eco-tourism Helps educate the community to protect & conserve the environment through travel

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the meaning of eco tourism the community s understanding

The Meaning of Eco-tourism &the Community’s Understanding

John Ap & Dora Pang

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

introduction
Introduction

Eco-tourism

  • Helps educate the community to protect & conserve the environment through travel
  • Create & maintain a sustainable environment for residents, tourists, & the next generation
  • Community should be aware of it & have

positive attitudes towards it, otherwise depletion of the environment through mass tourism continues

slide3
Issues
  • Numerous definitions & no agreed definition
  • Concept of “sustainability” has problems
  • Ignorance & abuse of the concept exists
    • any nature-based or nature-related tourism constitutes eco-tourism
    • marketing to the mass market
  • Ap & Mak (1999) suggested even people in the tourism industry do not understand what sustainable/ eco-tourism really means
definition of eco tourism
Definition of Eco-tourism

Martha Honey (1999) defined it as:

  • Travel to fragile, pristine & usually protected areas
  • Helps educate travelers
  • Provides funds for conservation
  • Directly benefits economic development
  • Political empowerment of local communities
  • Fosters respect for different cultures
  • Fosters respect for human rights
slide5
To examine Hong Kong residents’ perceptions towards eco-tourism travel & their level of interest in it as a form of pleasure travelStudy Purpose
findings
Findings
  • Awareness of eco-tourism (n=241)
    • Heard of eco-tourism: 35%
    • Aware of eco-tourism & have taken part in ecotourism activities: 19%
  • Knowledge of eco-tourism (n=241)
    • Learning about the environment: 47%
    • Building environmental awareness: 32%
awareness of eco tourism objectives n 72
Awareness of Eco-tourism Objectives (n=72)

Objective Percentage

1) Learning about the environment 64

2) Building environmental awareness 43

3) Minimizing negative impacts on the

destinations visited 21

4) Traveling to nature-based destinations 7

5) Providing direct financial benefits for

conservation 1

6) Political empowerment of local communities 0

7) Fostering respect for different cultures 0

8) Fostering respect for human rights 0

slide8
Interest in Eco-tourism (n=241)
    • Interested in knowing more?

Neutral 48%

Interested 37%

    • Will take overseas trip in near future +

interested in taking part in eco-tourism?

Neutral 35%

Interested/ V.Interested 57%

slide9
Reasons for participating in eco-tourism?
    • Chance to get close to nature
    • Chance to understand the natural

environment

  • Why not interested?
    • Lack of time
    • Boring
    • Lack of information
slide10
Barriers in taking an eco-tourism trip:
    • Lack of information about destinations
    • Tour costs
    • Safety
    • No companions interested in going with me
    • Lack of time
discussion conclusion
Discussion & Conclusion
  • Low level of awareness & knowledge of eco-tourism
  • Little or no recognition of the: financial; cultural; empowerment; & human rights aspects
  • Most showed indifference towards it
  • Respondents engaged in the tourism field possessed limited knowledge & it was no better than the general public’s knowledge  further education is obviously needed
  • There is market potential for eco-tourism
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