Environmental Impacts of Ecotourism

Environmental Impacts of EcotourismEcotourism is growing in popularity as world travelers increasingly recognize the importance of sustainable practices. If not facilitated correctly, however, ecotourism may do more harm to the environment than good.

Significance

Ecosystems may not be able to sustain an influx of tourists, and the systems' animal and plant life may suffer.

Deception

Travel services that claim to be environmentally friendly may draw tourists in droves, but some may use the claim more as a marketing tool than as an actual practice. Thus, companies that work to benefit the environment may lose business to those that don't.

Misconceptions

Profit-seeking tour guides may play off tourists' hunger for untouched experiences and lead them in environmentally damaging activities. American University gave the example of a tour guide in Costa Rica who led adventure seekers on a volcano climb that damaged a local reptile park.

Considerations

A lack of resources and training, combined with inadequate oversight of conservation efforts in areas frequented by ecotourists, may mean the environment isn't as protected as ecotourism marketers may promise.

Effects Locally

Local residents, if alienated by new ecotourism in their villages, may feel discouraged and decide not to promote environmentally friendly efforts. They may act against any movement toward conservation.

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.

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