Monday, February 17, 2014

Ecotourism and biodiversity

What is ecotourism?  Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”  Ecotourism can contribute to the safeguarding of biodiversity and ecosystem functions in both developed and developing countries; however, the requirements for ecotourism are extremely difficult. 

These designated areas may consist of abundant wildlife, higher ratios of species diversity, unusual geological formations, unique history in a natural context, and many other varieties of things.  Wildlife and its habitats in developing countries are becoming increasingly popular attractions for international tourism, causing an annual growth in ecotourism of 5% per year, while saving parts of the world that would otherwise be destroyed due to hunting, logging, agriculture, and fishing. 

Many areas have been reserved for nature conservancy, but numerous developing country governments lack the funding required to manage and protect them.  While tourism creates significant costs in emissions, one must also consider the limiting of visitation rates in sensitive areas, and the integration of management, education and control measures.

However, ecotourism has become an important economic activity in natural areas around the world, and the exposure to ecotourist sites increases awareness of the environmental problems we face as a global society.  If managed properly, ecosites can also increase the number of jobs available and promote sustainable living and economic growth.

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