Does Eco-Tourism Help Or Hinder The Environment
In recent years, the term “eco-tourism” has become a bit of a buzz word. Increasingly, travel companies are promoting eco-tourism as a sustainable solution to help poor communities in remote locations to generate wealth, without decimating the beautiful natural habitats that they live in.
In many ways there is no better way to teach people about the benefits of protecting the environment than by letting visitors experience the outstanding natural beauty of the world we live in. If managed correctly, eco-tourism can greatly benefit the environment. It places economic value on preserving rainforests instead of exploiting them for short term financial gain from intensive deforestation. Eco-tourism increases the financial motivation for preserving rainforests rather than clearing them for intensive agricultural use. What could be better for the environment than that?
Eco-tourism brings financial benefits for many local people too. There are increased employment opportunities as park guides and wildlife rangers, service workers in hotels and restaurants and even trade from selling locally produced handicrafts. It seems that everyone gains. So what happens when eco-tourism isn't managed properly? Too many people can scare away wildlife from the national parks where it's meant to be protected. Increased demand for timber for new accommodation and leisure facilities can result in deforestation of natural woodland and the increased sewage and pollution brought by hordes of tourists can destroy areas that were once pristine.
To be effective in protecting the environment, eco-tourism needs to be properly planned and sustainably managed within strict guidelines in order to provide effective benefits local people and natural habitats which it is meant to preserve.