Advantages and disadvantages of responsible and ecotourism
Tourism is now one of the largest sectors in the economy, especially in the third world countries. In the last few decades, two types of tourism – ecotourism and responsible tourism – have expanded and developed. While these two tourism types offer several benefits, they are not free from presenting some serious disadvantages. However, in my opinion, the advantages overbalance the disadvantages.
Ecotourism and Responsible tourism
According to Chavez:”WTTC now considers tourism as the world’s biggest industry and a key 21st century economic and employment driver”. Indeed, in the last decade tourism has been fastest growing industry. Nowadays the most popular types of tourism are: ecotourism and responsible tourism. The two tourism types mentioned above brought both negative and positive impacts and if you weigh up the pros and cons of ecotourism and responsible tourism, from my point of view, the advantages will be more than the disadvantages.
Roe (2006), describes responsible tourism as follows: “This is tourism practiced by tourists who make responsible choices when choosing their holidays, such as minimizing their environmental and social impacts and ensuring their activities benefit local people”. From the definition given by Roe we can see that responsible tourism is a very favorable type of tourism because, it is beneficial for local people and also for the environment. One of the companies which offer responsible tours for tourists is Dragoman Overland, cited by Chavez (1999). Chavez (1999) states, that Dragoman overland runs small scale community projects to help local people. Tourists stay in the home of local, which means that the money goes directly to local people. Also, Dragoman overland provides financial help for local schools. For example, it raised $ 50 thousand to finance Langalanga School project. Moreover, Dragoman overland is concerned with environmental issues. It tries to minimize adverse affects of tourism on environment by recycling, using reusable shopping bags, using gas instead of wood (cited by Chavez (1999)).
Together with advantages responsible tourism still has some disadvantages. One of the main drawbacks of all tourism types, including responsible tourism is that the result in climate change in our planet. As you know touring involves moving from one place to another which is usually done by airplane, buses and cars. Those vehicles use fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gases. According to United Nations Environment Programme (2008), the temperature of Earth’s surface has increased significantly in the last years because of burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gases. Moreover, in addition to change in climate, tourism is contributing to the pollution caused by solid waste and littering. To illustrate how dramatic are the adverse affects of tourism UNEP (2008) gives an example of waste caused by cruise ships: “Cruise ships in Caribbean are estimated to produce more than 70000 tons of waste each year”.
Roe (2006), gives the following definition for ecotourism:» responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. You can find ecotourism destinations mostly in Third world countries. According to Chavez (1999) ecotourism serves as a means of repaying the debts for the Third World countries. In fact according to statistics cited by Chavez (1999) in 1997 tourism generated $448 million and by the year this number is expected to be $1.5 trillion. Ecotourism is also considered to be the major employer in the Third world countries. World Travel and Tourism Council states that: “tourism employs directly or indirectly 260 million people and the coming decade the number is going to increase by 100 million”.
However, ecotourism adversely affected local people of some countries. One of the adverse effects cited by Chavez (1999) was the construction of 204-room hotel in the Cook Islands on the land which was sacred for the local people. The total environmental damage amounted to $1 million. Masai tribe has also suffered from ecotourism. Chavez (1999) states that: “negative Western values have influenced Masai youth, leading to a loss of traditional values, prostitution, and the spread of AIDS”.
In the essay I have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of two types of tourism, in particular responsible and ecotourism. Summarizing advantages of above mentioned tourism types it can be deduced that tourism is considered to one of the main sources of income to the countries and also it is one of the biggest employers. Apart from advantages I have also described disadvantages of those tourism types in the example of environmental damage, different kinds of pollution and socio-cultural degradation. Putting on a scale all the advantages and disadvantages of ecotourism and responsible tourism I came to conclusion that advantages are more than disadvantages.
Chavez, R., (1999). Globalisation and tourism: Deadly mix for indigenous peoples.Third World Network. Available from: http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/chavez-cn.htm
Dragoman Overland, (2009). Dragoman Overland Adventure Travel. UK: Dragoman Overland. Available from:< http://www.dragoman.com/responsible/index.php>
Roe, D., (2006). Glossary. id21 insights. 62, 2.
United Nations Environment Programme, (2008). Environmental Impacts of Tourism at Global Level. UNEP. Available from: < www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/sust-tourism/env-global.htm>