Ecotourism - of /geografi

Badema Dizdar
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
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
1990: 20%
1995: 40-45%
But only 17% of nature tourism can be
classified as eco-tourism
 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
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
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