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What is meant by the term ecotourism and what are the major limitations of this type of tourism?

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Introduction

What is meant by the term ecotourism and what are the major limitations of this type of tourism? Ecotourism is among the most popular forms of alternative tourism, it involves purposeful travel to natural areas to understand the cultural and natural history of the environment. Ecotourism itself is difficult to define but it consists of three main elements. The primary aim of eco-tourism should be the conservation of the environment, as this is the most likely reason for tourists coming to the area in the first place. Secondly the tourism should encourage learning and encourage understanding about the natural habitat and the environment. Thirdly the tourism should be environmentally, culturally and economically, sustainable, as without this the industry will destroy itself and damage the surrounding area. Its theses three combined factors that define an eco-tourism attraction. The major limitations of this kind of tourism are carrying capacity and the number of visitors. The type of tourist who seeks an authentic allocentric experience tends to be crowd-sensitive and expect small numbers. Furthermore the attractive resources themselves are often fragile and sensitive to impacts (e.g. coral reefs), and have a low carrying capacity. ...read more.

Middle

The tourism industry in the Gambia consists mainly of foreign owned resorts, these are encouraged by tax-free imports, no tax on first five years profit and the expansion of the Yundun airport, to provide international trade and visitors. These foreign companies help the tourism industry to prosper yet don't put much back into the local economy or local culture. In fact only 23% of all the profits from tourism in The Gambia go to the destination country due to leakage of wealth. Also due to the large numbers of tourists and facilities with a relatively small local population means that The Gambia has to import agricultural and specialised foodstuffs and spend $105 million a year on these foods. Tourism in the Gambia is heavily concentrated in the Banjul area on the western coast, this means that this area gets much better services and resources than the surrounding area. This creates a poorer periphery area and growing disparities of wealth and opportunity. The high level of development in the tourist areas has lead to rural to urban migration to these particular areas leaving the rural areas impoverished and without a young workforce. ...read more.

Conclusion

Within 30 years much of what the tourists originally wanted to see will be destroyed and is already under serious threat. This is all because the resort wasn't properly planned and wasn't designed to be sustainable. The other type of tourism prominent in Belize is eco-tourism. This tourism involves the conservation of the environment with an educational element while being sustainable. However these schemes are not as economically profitable to the host country as they require more planning resources and maintenance than mass tourism. Yet eco-tourism is used to help countries develop as it is sustainable and can be a long-term economic aid. In Belize there are numerous up and coming resorts. There is a community baboon reserve, the barrier reef and numerous areas of tropical rainforest and mangrove. All of these schemes are involved with the local population and are very allocentric. Although because the carrying capacity of the natural environments is very low, numbers have to be kept down so the facilities are carefully planned. These schemes are much more profitable for the locals as there is n leakage form international companies, and it gives the host country a better understanding of their natural resources and how to conserve and protect it. Chris Hall AKM ...read more.

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