File(s) not publicly available
Research methodologies for planning ecotourism and nature conservation
journal contributionposted on 2002-03-01, 00:00 authored by Mudiyanselage Herath
Ecotourism is an important niche market in the world tourism industry. It is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to mass tourism. The emergence of ecotourism was facilitated by the environmental damage associated with mass tourism. Ecotourism is defined in many ways and there is no consensus as to its exact meaning. However, a number of salient elements, such as environmental conservation, maintenance of biodiversity, a satisfying experience for the visitors, study and appreciation of nature and sustainable community development, are included in many definitions. Tourism creates negative environmental externalities in the form of environmental damage. Such adverse effects can have serious implications for the tourism industry because they damage the very natural resource that forms the raw material for ecotourism. Ecotourism ventures should thus be properly planned and implemented and carefully monitored. Proper planning of ecotourism is hampered by the paucity of relevant qualitative and quantitative information. The use of analytical tools such as the Contingent Valuation Method, carrying capacity, decision analysis techniques with which multiobjective and uncertain consequences can be analysed, and other management strategies, such as the Safe Minimum Standard, can be useful in enabling better planning of ecotourism. Ecotourism can thus enhance the opportunities for better management of natural resources while providing a satisfying experience for the visitor.