Ecotourism Badema Dizdar
References: Peter Sjøholt: Eco-tourism and local development. Conceptual and theoretical framework and problems in implementation. Empirical evidence from Costa Rica and Ecuador
What is tourism? • ”travel outside one’s home place with purpose of gaining new experience” • Smitt (1977): ”the tourist as a leisured person who voluntarily visits a place away from home for the purpose of experiencing a change”
Some basic facts about tourism Broad classification of tourists: • Tourist mainly seeking recreation • Culturally attached travellers • Environmentally conscious holidaymakers
Some basic facts about tourism We have growing share of nature tourism world-wide: 1990: 20% 1995: 40-45% But only 17% of nature tourism can be classified as eco-tourism
Ecotourism • TIES defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people."
What is ecotourism? While there is not a universal definition for ecotourism, its general characteristics can be summarized as follows (WTO definition): 1. All nature-based forms of tourism in which the main motivation of the tourists is the observation and appreciation of nature as well as the traditional cultures prevailing in natural areas 2. It contains educational and interpretation features 3. It is generally, but not exclusively organized for small groups by specialized and small, locally owned businesses. Foreign operators of varying sizes also organize, operate and/or market ecotourism tours, generally for small groups. 4. It minimizes negative impacts upon the natural and socio-cultural environment 5. It supports the protection of natural areas by• generating economic benefits for host communities, organizations and authorities managing natural areas with conservation purposes, • providing alternative employment and income opportunities for local communities, • increasing awareness towards the conservation of natural and cultural assets, both among locals and tourists.
About ecotourism Over the years, it has also become clear that some concerns still need to be wholly addressed in ecotourism, such as: • land tenure and control of the ecotourism development process by host communities, • efficiency and fairness of the current concept of protected areas for protection of biological and cultural diversity • the need for additional precautions and monitoring when operating in especially sensitive areas • indigenous and traditional rights in areas suitable for ecotourism development (source: WTO)
About ecotourism • Ecotourism involves a lot of participants, often with conflicting interests: stakeholders, rural development agents, the tourism industry, government, local population, different organizations and institutions • Trends: eco-tourists are people with real motivation of protecting environment and culture
Implementation problems • Capacity problems • Environmental, economic, social and cultural carrying capacity • Infrastructures problems • Communications, lines and networks • Viable eco-tourism: regulated, carefully managed and controlled? Or market forces? • Conflict between economically sustainable and environmentally sustainable
Costa Rica: characteristics • Small native population and their culture • Deforestation, national parks and reserves • Environmental variety • Biodiversity both in flora and fauna: 5% of planet’s species (insect fauna)
Cost Rica: eco-tourism • Boost in mid 1980s • High grow rate • 1996: 12 % of population working in activities linked to the tourism clusters • International interests • Local entrepreneurs • Geographical concentration: 40% of the tourism capacity is around San Josè
Cost Rica: eco-tourism • No spatial policy • Income distribution • Reserves and indigenous population • Small-scale businesses and eco-tourism • Conclusion: general lack of social and territorial perspective • But: long term sustainable benefits to the country
Internet sources • http://www.ecotourism.org/ • http://www.world-tourism.org/ • http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/ecotourism/iye.htm. • http://www.eduweb.com/ecotourism/eco1.html • http://www.tourism-costarica.com/tourism-costaricacom/html/index.html