Nature Based Tourism
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. A key element of this growth is attributed tourists wishing to travel outside of the traditional package vacation and pursue individual interests. One of the main features of this is nature-based ecotourism. The definition of this form of tourism is arguable, however the key concepts include: visitation to a relatively non-disturbed area, non-damaging/degrading use to a resource, contributes to the protection and management of an area, and provides an educational experience to the visitor. This industry’s growth also stems from an increasing awareness of environmental issues and the globalization of culture and ideas. This gives tourists a desire to learn more about certain areas (ex: the rain forest) because of curiosity, the desire to learn more first hand, a need to experience before “it is gone”, a desire to help, and a combination of other things. Many regions are attempting to capitalize on this growing revenue source.
Known as the smokeless industry, nature-based tourism is popular in developing countries because it creates a large amount of revenue that when done correctly and has little impact on the natural environment. The private sector is also trying to capitalize on this changing market by increasing the emphasis on nearby natural attractions to increase visitation.
Increasing visitation to sensitive areas can be positive step towards advocacy, however several things must be considered in order to protect the resources and facilitate a positive and educational experience for visitors. A delicate, site-specific balance must be determined in ecotourism because the sought after experience can quickly be degraded and otherwise ruined by too many overzealous experience seekers. The articles, “Trail Building in Latin America by Jon Kohl and Rafael Manzanero and “Using Interpretation to Manage Nature-Based Tourism by Mark B. Orams, give ideas and theories...