Ecotourism is regarded as a sustainable solution to preserve ecosystems around the world, all the while offering a good source of income for locals living in the communities in and around them. However, there is a lot of debates on whether the industry is as sustainable as it claims, or not. To make a well-informed decision about this matter, it is best to assess the pros and cons that come with ecotourism.
List of Pros of Ecotourism
1. It provides sustainable income for local communities.
If people involved are able to properly manage activities, ecotourism will be able to offer sustainable local communities and even provide incentives for environmental protection. As the industry can create new jobs, it can bring more substantial sources of revenue that locals can use to help lift their communities out of poverty and even bring about important resources and technologies to struggling communities that help them achieve sustainable development goals.
2. It allows for new experiences with the environment.
This industry provides people with an opportunity to gain new experiences with nature and to learn more about the problems with the environment. As for eco-tourists, they would gain greater respect for nature once they have observed it up close and personal. If people are given the chance to know what they do not know about nature, they would come to care for it.
3. It helps with research and development.
With ecotourism, people will have the opportunity to further their research efforts and learn better practices for management, as more people will be able to experience nature up close.
List of Cons of Ecotourism
1. It risks spoiling a region’s ecosystem.
Too many people will be allowed to explore a particular ecosystem and might disturb the organisms that are living there. In some cases, habitats could be overly loved, which means that tourists might unsustainably harvest things for souvenirs, trample on plants and compact soil, which can be bad for certain areas.
2. It can ruin natural habitats.
Highly visited ecotourism destinations will more likely see development and encroachment in and around the region, which can lead to habitat fragmentation and destruction, leading to loss of species that depend on their natural habitats. New structures, pollution, noise and other activities can lead to wildlife disturbances.
3. It can lead to conflicts within the tourism sector.
Activities that come with ecotourism can become a problem for communities if locals are not doing their part in helping manage them. Typically, this can happen when an outside ecotourism agency wants to establish tourist activities without the permission of the locals, leading to conflicts between members of the local people and the industry. This said, ecotourism must fully involve local communities to be successful.
No matter the intentions, the bottom line with ecotourism is that there will always be some sort of impact on the local people and ecosystem, including the good and bad. It would take wise planning, proper ecological management, commitment from the locals and responsibility of tourists to make it sustainable and work for all. Based on the pros and cons listed above, what do you think?
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.