WEEK 3 Eco-tourism clip 1 Definition of Ecotourism

Hello everyone. My name is Bussaba Sitikarn. I’m a lecturer at Mae Fah Luang University. Today, I’m going to teach you about ecotourism management. First of all, I would like to give you the definition of ecotourism. What is ecotourism? And why does ecotourism become a possible form of tourism that leads to the sustainability. So, actually ecotourism comes from two words the first one is the ecosystem and the second one is tourism therefore, ecotourism means travelling in the ecosystem where tourist can enjoy and experience the wild life, the flora and the fauna. However, according to the review it is found that there are many definitions of ecotourism depending on the other backgrounds and school of thoughts. There is no unity of the concept. Therefore, I would like to give you some examples of definition according to the organisation. For example, the world tourism organisation views ecotourism is a travel that provides the first hand active experience of the place, provides education experience which develops visitors’ understanding and appreciation of the place visited and promote both appreciation between the tourist and the host. Then promote the conservation ethic and it’s environmentally responsible and use various strategies to minimize negative impact, then the ecotourism society also views ecotourism as a responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment, sustain the well-being of local people. According to the ecotourism society, the concept of ecotourism is not involved in the ecosystem only, but also involved with the local people in community who live in the setting. Therefore, well-being of the local residents are also focused. Then, Fennell. According to his attitude, ecotourism is sustainable form of natural resources-best tourism that fosters priority of the experiencing and learning about nature and which is ethically managed to be low impact, but none-consumption. And then it is typically occurred in natural destination and should contribute to the conservation or preservation of the destination. Based on my research project on ecotourism in northern Thailand, it found that tourism was used as a key point for marketing strategies and hardly to sustainability due to lacking of collaboration among stakeholders and they have different interests. Therefore, my research suggests that ecotourism in a sustainable form of tourism that fosters understanding appreciation and conservation of natural environment and local culture, provides the local with economic benefit, provides of opportunities of experiencing and learning about natural and socio-cultural environment of the destinations, and it takes place under the control and with the active participation of the local people who inhabit or own natural attractions. From the above definition, it reveals 4 characteristics of ecotourism that would lead to the sustainability. Number 1, conservation issue This involves a contribution to the conservation or preservation of natural environment, socio-culture of local community. The second one, Local employment and income generation and distribution This has implication for a rank of a new business and employment opportunity. Community is earning from their natural resources in order to gain income through the tourism activities to improve the quality of life of its members. So, it is assumed that when residents receive benefits, they are more likely that they are going to support tourism and conservation. Number 3, education experiences and appreciation about natural environment and local culture Ecotourism provides visitors opportunity to learn through the experience obtained from the activity undertaken to acquire a better understanding of the destination, its natural setting, and of its people including the multilingual interpreter employed in the sites. The local residents have an opportunity to share and exchange the knowledge with visitors through this activity. Both tourists and the communities have the experience increasing the better understanding between each other and have awareness on environmental issues. Number 4, local participation and empowerment of host communities This includes the involvement of local people to participate on the development process of tourism. So, it applies both direct and indirect participation beneficially. Participation should occur in the process of decision making, planning, implementing, auditing, evaluating and problem solving. So, these are very important processes that local people have to make decision whether they want ecotourism to take place in their community or not. So, if they say yes, they want to do it, then they have to have right to set up plans of what to do and then participate in planning and then also following up in order to find out what are problems and help each other to solve those problems. So, participation of local people in the whole process of development can be very important issue for the sustainability. And then it is important that all the tourism stakeholders have to help each other. So, this one we call that’s the stakeholders’ collaboration because only the local people themselves, they don’t have potential and knowledge or skills operate ecotourism properly, they would need help from other stakeholders for example, government in terms of funding, university in terms of knowledge and skill development, and also private sector in terms of marketing.

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