Ecotourism is responsible travel to perfect and usually protected areas. With the purpose to teach the traveler, supply capital for ecological conservation and ensure economic development and political authorization, it also promotes value for different cultures and for human rights. Countries in Africa are now focusing on tourism as a cause of growth and diversification, but with limited policy guidance from most donors, despite the sector’s potential. Ecotourism has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry, growing annually by 10-15% worldwide (Miller, 2007). One definition of ecotourism is “the practice of low-impact, educational, ecologically and culturally sensitive travel that benefits local communities and host countries” (Honey, 1999).
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South Africa as one of the countries in Africa is obtaining considerable economic remuneration from ecotourism, although negative consequences including removing people from their homes, infringement of fundamental rights, and environmental hazards – which according to Miller far outweigh the medium-term economic benefits (Miller, 2007).A great amount of money is being exhausted and human resources are continually being used up for tourism in spite of the negative effects, and a larger amount of money is put into public relation campaigns to dissolve the criticism from the locals and public.
Tourism directs resources away from other schemes that could possibly supply maintainable and realistic results to pressing social and environmental tribulations. “The money tourism can generate often ties parks and managements to eco-tourism” (Walpole et al. 2001).However there is worry concerning the changes in land-use rights, false hope in the delivery of community benefits, damage to the environment and plenty other social impacts. Indeed it’s an argument to consider eco-tourism as neither ecologically nor socially beneficial, but it is still a strategy for. Indeed many argue repeatedly that eco-tourism is neither ecologically nor socially beneficial, this is somewhat true but it too persists as a strategy for preservation and growth.
“WTTC/WEFA forecast that tourism and travel would account for over 11% of GDP in Sub-Saharan African countries in 1999 and has a growth rate of over 5%.” The tourism system has tremendous financial and political influence. It is said that Funding could be used for field studies aimed at finding alternative solutions to tourism and the diverse problems Africa faces in result of urbanization, industrialization, and the over exploitation of agriculture (Kamuaro, 2007). Tourism has has become the source of conflict regarding the control of land, resources and profits made. It has therefore caused harm to the locals and the topic of profit distribution is one that’s not desired as it leads to
At the local level, ecotourism has become a source of conflict over control of land, resources, and tourism profits. In this case, ecotourism has harmed the environment and local people, and has led to conflicts over profit distribution.
In a perfect world more efforts would be made towards educating tourists of the environmental and social effects of their travels. Very few regulations or laws stand in place as boundaries for the investors in ecotourism. These should be implemented to prohibit the promotion of unsustainable ecotourism projects and materials which project false images of destinations, demeaning local and indigenous cultures. Tourism is often considered volatile. As a global industry, all destinations face the heightened risk of terrorist attacks, which, together with civil strife, war and natural disasters, can terminate demand for the product for a prolonged period. Crime and poor public health standards in a specific destination can greatly reduce demand for an indefinite period after it is evidenced. There are some advantages to Tourism.
Tourism is labor intensive with some two employees required per hotel room in developing countries, depending on the type of hotel and local skill levels. Comparisons of investment costs per job in tourism compared with manufacturing, presuppose that countries have a free choice between these alternatives, as well as comparable market entry for each activity. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that tourism is more labor intensive than manufacturing and employs a higher proportion of the low skilled and women. Only in a few small, resource-rich developing countries will the opportunity cost of such labor equal the wages payable in tourism.
An often-neglected facet of employment in the sector is that tourism, in fact, creates “good jobs”. Physical working conditions are healthier and safer than in sugar cane, mining, logging and, often, manufacturing, among other economic activities. But, also, hotels and tourist services create jobs such as waiters, maintenance engineers, and drivers, which are relatively well paid, particularly when supplemented by tips. Finally, it appears that tourism can generate more than sufficient taxes to compensate for public investments. Although, it is said that the negative effects of tourism outweigh the positive ones. There seems to be a lot of resentment and feelings of inferiority amongst the locals.
The government should have to choose one over the other (and the priority should be the culture and the people over financial revenue). Even if it means less money will be received from tourists by portraying a culture like that of the Philippines. The government cannot attempt to do both. One of the real issues in tourism everywhere in developing countries is how to extend the benefits to the poor and to local communities.
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Although ecotourism is intended for small groups, even a modest increase in population, however temporary, puts extra pressure on the local environment and necessitates the development of additional infrastructure and amenities. The construction of water treatment plants, sanitation facilities, and lodges come with the exploitation of non-renewable energy sources and the utilization of already limited local resources. Aside from environmental degradation with tourist infrastructure, population pressures from ecotourism also leaves behind garbage and pollution associated with the Western lifestyle. Although eco-tourists claim to be educationally sophisticated and environmentally concerned, they rarely understand the ecological consequences of their visits and how their day-to-day activities append physical impacts on the environment. Ecotourism is now also considered to be playing a role in this depletion. While the term ecotourism may sound relatively benign, one of its most serious impacts is its consumption of virgin territories (Kamuaro, 2007).
These invasions often include deforestation, disruption of ecological life systems and various forms of pollution, all of which contribute to environmental degradation. In some cases, the resentment by local people results in environmental degradation. As a highly publicized case, the Masai nomads in Kenya killed wildlife in national parks to show aversion to unfair compensation terms and displacement from traditional lands.[ One of the most powerful examples of communities being moved in order to create a park is the story of the Masai. About 70% of national parks and game reserves in East Africa are on Masai land (Kamuaro, 2007). The first undesirable impact of tourism was that of the extent of land lost from the Masai culture. Local and national governments took advantage of the Masai’s ignorance on the situation and robbed them of huge chunks of grazing land, putting to risk their only socio-economic livelihood.
Ecotourism often claims that it preserves and “enhances” local cultures. However, evidence shows that with the establishment of protected areas local people have illegally lost their homes, and most often with no compensation (Kamuaro, 2007). Pushing people onto marginal lands with harsh climates, poor soils, lack of water, and infested with livestock and disease does little to enhance livelihoods even when a proportion of ecotourism profits are directed back into the community. The establishment of parks can create harsh survival realities and deprive the people of their traditional use of land and natural resources. Ethnic groups are increasingly being seen as a “backdrop” to the scenery and wildlife.
While governments are typically entrusted with the administration and enforcement of environmental protection, they often lack the commitment or capability to manage ecotourism sites effectively. The regulations for environmental protection may be vaguely defined, costly to implement, hard to enforce, and uncertain in effectiveness. The increased contributions of communities to locally managed ecotourism create viable economic opportunities, including high level management positions, and reduce environmental issues associated with poverty and unemployment.
Because the ecotourism experience is marketed to a different lifestyle from large scale ecotourism, the development of facilities and infrastructure does not need to conform to corporate Western tourism standards, and can be much simpler and less expensive. There is a greater multiplier effect on the economy, because local products, materials, and labor are used. Profits accrue locally and import leakages are reduced. However, even this form of tourism may require foreign investment for promotion or start up. When such investments are required, it is crucial for communities for find a company or non-governmental organization that reflects the philosophy of ecotourism; sensitive to their concerns and willing to cooperate at the expense of profit.
In conclusion, Ecotourism and Tourism in Africa as a whole should be reconsidered. The depletion of natural resources and cultures is a drastic change that’s most of the time now worth the finance and is irreversible. The bad outweighs the good and Tourism should be accepted and its effects should be reduced.
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