Ecotourism: Current Trends and Future Prospects Essay

Ecotourism: Current Trends and Future Prospects
An examination of current thinking on ecotourism theory and practice and an assessment of future directions in this area from the cultural anthropology perspective.
# 153982 | 2,537 words | 10 sources | 2014 | CA
Published by on Aug 15, 2014 in Anthropology (Cultural) , Environmental Studies (General)

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From the Paper:

"In terms of culture, tourism has a long and honourable history, going all the way back to ancient times, when pilgrims travelled hundreds of miles to visit holy sites as part of their religious duties or merely out of personal conviction, curiosity, or interest. Over the centuries, tourism as a cultural phenomenon has evolvedoutwards in various directions from its fundamentally religious origins, taking on a specifically economic significance beginning in the twentieth century. Today, tourism is the world's largest industry, and ecotourism in the past several years has become its fastest growing sector (Al-Sayedand Al-Langawi 2003). Aside fromsome issues of concern,ecotourism, if properly conducted, has the potential for being a powerful asset, especially for developing countries. The current thinking from experts is that when ecotourism is carried out correctly,based on the tripartite principle of sociocultural, ecological, and economic sustainability, its advantageswill significantly outweigh its disadvantages. This essay analyses the arguments behind this optimistic position and examines the future prospects of ecotourism.
The starting point of any discussion on ecotourism is its significance for local economies. There are unmistakable indications thatecotourismcan be instrumentalin spurring economic development. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)has estimated that as early as 1988, out of the US $55 billion earned from tourism in developingcountriesin that year, about $12 billion came from ecotourism alone (Geeand Fayos-Sola 1997). In developing countries, currently approximately 50 million people have jobs related to the tourism industry, and the figure is rising every year.With the recent increase in interest in ecotourism worldwide, the demand for workersin the tourism industry can be expected to continue rising. In view of this, it is necessary to keep in mind a few key considerations in unlocking the vast potential of ecotourism as a meansof sustainable development in developing countries. An international set of standards for ecotourism must be formulated, local communities must be invited to contribute input in planning ecotourism promotion strategies in their area, and land ownership and the rights to natural resource must be restored to indigenous communities where these rights have been taken away. Theserecommendations are based on empirical analysis using local economy modeling techniques and original survey data from tourists, businesses, and native communities in developing countries where ecotourism is currently practiced. Theyform the foundation of "responsible ecotourism.""

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