Principles of Ecotourism

Introduction Definition of sustainability. Briefly mentions environmental, experiential, socio-cultural and economic sustainability in relation to ecotourism. Environmental sustainability Importance of environmental sustainability in managing ecotourism and examples of impacts Strategies for achieving sustainability and how they are applied Experiential sustainability Importance of experiential sustainability in managing ecotourism and examples of impacts Strategies for achieving sustainability and how they are applied Socio-cultural sustainability
Importance of socio-cultural sustainability in managing ecotourism and examples of impacts Strategies for achieving sustainability and how they are applied Economic sustainability Importance of economic sustainability in managing ecotourism and examples of impacts Strategies for achieving sustainability and how they are applied Conclusion Introduction Environmental sustainability Importance of environmental sustainability *Strategies* for achieving environmental sustainability
Accommodating for hundreds of visitors has disadvantages for a site if the wildlife or vegetation isn’t capable to withstand an increased level of exposure. That’s why hardening of a site allows that site’s carrying capacity to be increased e. g. pit toilets, board walks and but still limiting number to ensure minimal impact of that site. The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania, Australia, have installed board walks along the track for the concerns of environmental degradation and overcrowding.

The boarded sections are established in sensitive areas in the national park with significant importance for an ecosystem. The softening of a site refers to soil replacement and replanting of native vegetation to rehabilitate the site as much as possible. There are many businesses that were built with very low levels of impact, because of the extensive research done before the construction of their building. The Couran Cove Resort in Queensland assessed the area for their resort before construction and removed the native vegetation, planning to replant them after the completion of facilities.
A number of environmental measures were put in place during the construction of the resort, such as installation of solar powered cabins, identification and mapping of significant trees, strategies to manage acid sulphate soils, and an integrated water management system. As a result of many of these management strategies, the resort has become an industry leader in environmentally sensitive technologies. Visitation quotas and fees are a clever strategy to maintain a high revenue flow for the protected area and continue appropriate management.
Zoning and site hardening influence visitation levels in specified areas, so these factors are considered when implementing fees and quotas. The overall number of visitors can be limited through the imposition of quotas and user fees; quotas are formal restrictions on visitor numbers and user fees (entry fees and other fees) increase the latter until visitor demand falls below the carrying capacity threshold. Mt Buffalo National Park in Victoria, Australia charges entry fees for visitors, whether camping or just visiting. These fees are put towards managing the park, including regular maintenance of provided facilities.
There are methods to restricting and allowing appropriate viewing or access of wildlife by providing information and education to tourists; informing users about the recreational resource and current level of use. Making the users more sensitive to the potential impacts their behaviours might have on the environment is an effective way to make them aware. Experiential sustainability Importance of experiential sustainability The experience of the tourist is important to be aware of to evaluate the sustainability in the way it is implemented.
People learn better when they are actively involved in the learning process and use as many senses as appropriate. Interpretation is effective way to educate tourists because it works with the visitors rather than against them. Such techniques include; visitor centres, education centres, displays and exhibits, self-guided trails and guided tours. These techniques are strategies to inform tourists of the natural environment to which they participate in, to help understand the importance of sustainably managing activities in a site. Strategies for achieving experiential sustainability
Socio-cultural sustainability Importance of socio-cultural sustainability Socio-cultural sustainability of ecotourism relates to the stability of social and cultural systems, including the wellbeing of local and indigenous communities. Their involvement is important for tourism to be successful and unique. It is a significant contribution to ecotourism’s global following. Socio-cultural and economic sustainability are linked together to also facilitate the wellbeing and satisfaction of visitors. Strategies for achieving socio-cultural sustainability
Economic sustainability Importance of economic sustainability Economic sustainability is associated with socio-cultural sustainability; relating to the stability of social and cultural systems, including the wellbeing of local communities. The impacts of economics in local communities include start-up expenses (acquisition of land, establishment of protected areas, superstructure, and infrastructure), ongoing expenses (maintenance of infrastructure, promotion, and wages), revenue uncertainties, and revenue leakage due to imports and non-local participation.
Examples of positive aspects of economics include direct employment, improvement of transportation and communication systems; negative aspects of economics include no local employment opportunities, and leakages may be high. Establishing a protected area requires lots of expenses to be able to maintain the environment sustainably. The development of buildings and infrastructure such as visitor centres and toilets require regular maintenance, which means there needs to be enough income to retain a standard quality.
Employing staff can be limited when money is scarce, maybe even overworking employees. For example, the Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology in the Great Otway National Park is an ecotourism operation that was established in 2004. The owners of the Conservation Centre opened the business to become involved in conservation projects and research biodiversity conservation. When opening the operation, the owner’s budget was limited and was unable to employ enough staff to keep up with the daily routine activities; such as delivering service to guests and running of education programs.
Their only choice was to employ enough to manage the business and providing the services themselves. *Strategies for achieving economic *sustainability Economic sustainability relates to the income of an operation or protected area to maintain the natural environment or site. Such income can come from user fees (public’s willingness to pay), taxation (sales tax, accommodation tax) and donations (lack of resources or money for endangered species). Earth Sanctuaries is a company that operates a network of privately-owned sanctuaries, set up with the aim of conserving native wildlife species.
The company has eradicated exotic species from all of its properties, and has erected fencing that excludes feral animals from each sanctuary. To fund its conservation efforts, the company offers a mix of ecotourism products including accommodation, tours, and an environmental education program. These products are managed to provide the ongoing profit needed to run the sanctuaries, and to provide dividends to the company’s shareholders. Conclusion Sustainable tourism is important to be properly managed when utilising the natural environment.
The four components of sustainability are environmental, experiential, socio-cultural and economic sustainability, each is critical principle for achieving ecotourism. Each component is linked to another and one cannot function well without the others. Ecotourism is difficult to be completely sustainable for the natural environment, but can be managed to minimise low impact. This is done by the four components between each; they interact with one another’s resources to appropriate management the natural environment; linking together to facilitate the wellbeing of local communities. References

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