The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of the local people." While the industry receives constant praise for its efforts in promoting sustainable practices and contributing much-needed foreign dollars to some of the world's poorest areas, some question its total benefit.
Compromising of land
Converting undeveloped land into profitable space for tourism is one disadvantage. National parks and wilderness areas may be compromised by an influx of tourists.
Residents may leave
Ecotourism may displace some local residents. They either won't be able to afford to stay, or they may be forced by developers to leave.
The industry of ecotourism attracts upper-class, urban tourists who may not be culturally sensitive and may alienate the local residents.
Lack of income prospects
Ecotourism jobs for local residents often don't pay well. And profits may spill into other nations' pockets as wealthy investors gain from the success of an ecotourism project.
Ecotourism is susceptible to catastrophic downfalls, such as those that could come from worldwide economic instability. Tourism dollars that poor, foreign governments grow to depend on could easily disappear.
Article Written By Laura Andrew
Laura Andrew began writing for community publications while in school in 2002. She has worked as a staff reporter for newspapers across the country, with work appearing in the "Columbia Missourian," "The Virginian-Pilot" and the "Belleville News-Democrat." She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2006 with dual degrees in journalism and Spanish.