Why Eco Tourism?
Principles of Eco and Low Impact Tourism
“Tourism is an enormous and widespread industry. It is found allover the world, so its impacts, social, economic, and environmental, are also worldwide. These impacts can be positive, doing good, or negative, doing harm. Sustainable tourism usually aims to have minimal negative impacts, to minimize harm, and to optimize economic benefits.
Eco-tourism aims to extend the positive impacts, through a special focus on conservation, benefits for host populations, and the education of visitors.
What do we mean by sustainability?
When we talk about “sustainable” activities, it usually means that we can do the activity in the same or similar way for the indefinite future (sustainable in time) in three main aspects:
- the activity minimizes any damage to the environment (flora, fauna, water, soils, energy use, contamination, etc.) and ideally tries to benefit the environment in a positive way (through protection and conservation).
Socially and culturally
- the activity does not harm, and may revitalize the social structure ornculture of the community where it is located.
- the activity does not simply begin and then rapidly die because of bad business practices; it continues to contribute to the economic well-being ofthe local community. A sustainable business should benefit its owners, its employees, and its neighbours.”
(Amos Bien, “A Simple User’s Guide to Certification for Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism”, Center for Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, 2006)
The twelve aims for making tourism sustainable were described in “Making Tourism More Sustainable: A Guide for Policy Makers”
(United Nations Environment Programme – World Tourist Organization, 2005) as:
1. Economic Viability:
To ensure the viability and competitiveness of tourism destinations and enterprises, so that they are able to continue to prosper and deliver benefits in the long term.
2. Local Prosperity:
To maximize the contribution of tourism to the economic prosperity of the host destination, including the proportion of visitor spending that is retained locally.
3. Employment Quality:
To strengthen the number and quality of local jobs created and supported by tourism, including the level of pay, conditions of service and availability to all without discrimination by gender, race, disability or in other ways.
4. Social Equity:
To seek a widespread and fair distribution of economic and social benefits from tourism throughout the recipient community, including improving opportunities, income and services available to the poor.
5. Visitor Fulfillment:
To provide a safe, satisfying and fulfilling experience for visitors, available to all without discrimination by gender, race, disability, or in other ways.
6. Local Control:
To engage and empower local communities in planning and decision making about the management and future development of tourism in their area, in consultation with other stakeholders.
7. Community Wellbeing:
To maintain and strengthen the quality of life in local communities, including social structures and access to resources, amenities and life support systems, avoiding any form of social degradation or exploitation.
8. Cultural Richness:
To respect and enhance the historic heritage, authentic culture, traditions, and distinctiveness of host communities.
9. Physical Integrity:
To maintain and enhance the quality of landscapes, both urban and rural, and avoid the physical and visual degradation of the environment.
10. Biological Diversity:
To support the conservation of natural areas, habitats, wildlife and minimize damage to them.
11. Resource Efficiency:
To minimize the use of scarce and non renewable resources in the development and operation of tourism facilities and services.
12. Environmental Purity:
To minimize the pollution of air, water, and land and the generation of waste by tourism enterprises and visitors.
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