Niche Tourism Essay Topics

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Contemporary issues in travel and tourism

Introduction

The travel and tourism sector are one of the sectors which have undertaken the changes at very large scale. It is clear that these aspects put its huge impact at the business operations of travel and tour companies. It is something that has a high level of relevance with the technological as well as social changes (Anheiser, 2011). Here in the current scenario, the whole lot of consideration has been paid to identify the current trend in the travel and tourism sector. It is to acknowledge that the economic impacts, as well as development of tourism, have also described in an appropriate manner.

Task1-

The three issues

Technological advancement-

It is one of the major issues that have changed the dimensions of travel and tourism sector at very large scale. It is clear that with the help of certain aspects the organization can definitely improve their service quality. The example is that the hospitality industry and aviation industry has provided the facility of advanced booking reservation that has become possible only because of a high level of technological advancements. Further, the hospitality industry is able to improve their service quality and has added certain features which facilitate to put positive impact at the customers (Sharpley, 2006). The technological advancements are   huge within the travel and tourism sector as the online platform has also contributed immensely within the same. Social media and search engines have provided the facility to explore the world’s best destinations and plan for the vacations could be made by the tourists and connections with related companies could also establish. Here the major role of technology is that it allows providing the virtual tour to the tourists. The tour operators and hotels are making perfect use of it. The example of a virtual tour is very significant as it has improved the potential of travel and tourism sector. Hence, the technological advancement is something that has a high level of significance with respect to bringing the change in travel and tourism sector (Roy and Tisdell, 1998).

Increased environmental awareness-

It is another very crucial element which is driving change within the travel and tourism sector. It is something that has a high level of significance within the prevention of nature from any kind of harm. For the same purpose, the green tourism tends to be fostered or developed which promote the safety and protection of the environment. It is clear that the environmental awareness has been disseminated among the tourists as well as companies active into the wide spectrum of travel and tourism sector. Every party has their responsibility to contribute for the safety and protection of environmental resources. The wastage is required to be dumped properly. The level of pollution is also increasing very rapidly due to the high level of travel and tourism sector. It is clear that efforts have been made within the sector to save the unique habitats and there should not be any kind of physical damage (Bell and Morse, 1999). It helps on the ground of improving the increasing the knowledge about environmental awareness. Thus, the changes have been noticed into this area.

Increased security

Security is an arrangement for the safety or against any kind of threat for the society or any community. As the level of tourism is increasing on the regular basis so improving the security measures has become one of the major challenges in front of local government as well as for the travel and tourism sector. Every year the number of tourists increased very rapidly. The disposable income of people is high so they spend it on travel and tourism. But the social security and terrorism put its impact at the growth and development in the ratio of international tourists or domestic tourism. The example is the 9/11 incident that still has a huge impact at the memory lane of people and afterwards the level of security measures for the safety of international tourists has been increased. Different countries have a high level of frisking procedures which has made the security layers very strict and stringent (Connor and Dovers 2004). The example is that in America every Muslim needs to go through strict frisking procedure before entering the country’s territory. Thus such kind of security measures is very common in other European countries. It is something that has huge impact at the travel and tourism sector and these three elements are driving the change at very large scale.

b-1- Three issues currently developing in travel and tourism sector

One of the major issues is the rapid fluctuations within the currency prices of different countries. It is something that plays a crucial role in selecting the tourist destination by the tourists. It is to acknowledge that the depreciation in the currency prices is the major issues which are rising and it is causing the slow growth of travel and tourism sector. Another crucial element which is also associated with the economic environment is the rise in inflation. The rate of inflation is very high due to uncertain market conditions and unpredictable market conditions. Both the market situations and volatile currency fluctuations have become one of the major issues which are developing within the travel and tourism sector. Rise in fuel prices is another element or economic scenario that couldn’t be neglected at the same juncture (Beaver, 2005). Here in the discussion, this issue should get priority by the travel and tourism industry. Due to this element, the mode of transportation or local travelling has also become so costly and expensive. It is something that has a high level of impact at the pricing structure of aviation industry which is the main source of connecting the international borders. Thus, in this way, these are three major issues which highly tend to be problematic for the travel and tourism sector.

b-2- Analyses of these three elements

Some experts who understand the problem very deeply they said that in a globalized world the economy is highly connected at world level. Thus, the negative consequences of any one country’s problem could be faced by various other countries and in this way, it continues as the chain. The major reason behind the currency fluctuations and rate of inflation are that the level of globalization is increasing very rapidly (Dale and Beyeler, 2001). People have tended to get high-income power and the gap of distribution of income is not very accurate. The people who have the capacity to purchase they spent lavishly and it just affect the price or supply game. Ahead the professionals or experts have indicated towards the high level of uncertainty and change in environmental situation people   have the burden of inflation. It is considered as one of the major reason behind the birth of certain unbalancing situations. Further, the fuel is the most burning issue all over the world. The prices of fuel fluctuate very rapidly and it has become the most crucial commodity for entire travel and tourism sector. It affects the prices of related products also. Further, its scarcity has also increased its prices. Thus, there is need of identifying the alternative that can definitely suppress the prices of fuel (Faucheux and O’ Connor, 1998). With respect to these three elements, the experts have provided their opinion that it could be handled easily if the resources have been utilized in an effective manner. Wastage always leads towards the loss and in future the problem could become worse. Next heat and tension in the gulf countries are another reason that affects the currency fluctuations of various countries and even the fuel prices. Therefore, these are the major reasons that are burning these issues and in future the problem could be immense if some initiative would not have been taken at global level.

Task 2-

Separate description of niche market within the travel and tourism sector

Grey tourism- It is a kind of tourism when old age people tend to visit or show their interest into the tourism activities. Here in grey tourism, the companies always focus on the old age people so that the different kind of niche market could be developed. The reason behind the development of grey tourism is that the old age people have more disposable income and most importantly they tend to spend their leisure time in a proper way. The old age people have been retired have grown up children so they have more leisure time and money as well. Thus, the companies focus on grey tourism by focusing on old age people. In the UK the trend related to the growth and development is grey tourism is very high as the old age people are showing their huge interest into the travel and tourism (Hezri and Dovers, 2006).

Gastronomy tourism- It is very interesting kind of tourism which is highly popular nowadays. The gastronomy tourism is tourism where the purpose of the visit is to understand the local culture related to food and drink. Gaining the knowledge about the local taste and ingredient is the major priority for the tourists into the gastronomy tourism. Further, in an advanced manner understanding the food production process, various processing stages, cooking pattern and myths related to food etc. all these aspects lie within the category of gastronomy tourism.   The main reason behind the gastronomy tourism is the cultural exchange which creates the interest of various people towards the food and drink of other countries. The people who are dedicated to understanding the local accustoms towards the food and drink they show their huge interest within the gastronomy tourism (Vieceli And Values, 2000). Within the gastronomic tourism the unique kind of tourism is the wine tourism and somehow culinary tourism could also be a part of this particular tourism. The major impact of such kind of tourism is that it provides a huge level of taste and fusion within the UK’s local dishes. But here what is threatening and needed to be required is that the local food and culture should be protected properly. Thus, it is very different kind of tourism which is changing very rapidly.

Health tourism- The tourism which contributes into the improvement in health and fitness is the part of health tourism (Kourteli, 2000). It includes mental, physical, emotional, psychological etc. every kind of element that can affect the health and well-being of an individual. It increases as the people show their interest into the particular medical facility or ancient health treatment that can focus on bringing the immense improvement into the health of people. The Yoga from India, Ayurvedic from India and Thai massage etc. these are very popular medical treatments which are highly popular and significant with a view of promoting the health and well-being tourism (Youell, 2000). Further, in advanced health measures exchanging the medical education or information is also a part of health and well-being tourism.

Religious tourism- This kind of tourism is on its shaping stage as so many people are inclining towards the spiritual and religious thought process. It comes into existence when people visit any other country just to see the monuments and religious sites so that the information or intellect about the country’s religion could be improved. The impact is that more people are becoming spiritual and except the existence of god. Again the hub for such kind of tourism is India where the level of religion tourism and spiritualism is very high. It also includes the study of sacred texts and holy books etc. therefore, these are specific four kinds of tourism which are growing and developing the travel and tourism sector.

b-1- Eco Tourism and product life cycle

To promote the eco-tourism, the Bukit Lawang village was developed in the year 1973 for the rehabilitation of orangutan (Waterton, 2010). The government and other apex bodies put their effort and bring rare species of an orangutan to the forest and ecosystem of cited village. At the starting phase or introductory stage, the number of visitors was 4000 due to the efforts made by government and rehabilitation center. Afterwards, the stage of growth comes and the number of visitors reached to 18000 by the end of 1992. It was immense growth in the number of visitors. But after this stage, the stagnant comes into existence where the ecosystems were not working properly as the forest’s development ratio was very slow (Chen and Mohamed, 2008). It causes lots of problems and issues on the ground of retaining the number of customers. Due to rise in eco-tourism the development of other aspects like hotels, commercials etc. were immense so it put negative impact at the development of dense forest which was negative for the eco-tourism. Further the stage of decline comes into existence of ministry of forest decided to close the rehabilitation center. Therefore here the principle of product life cycle aligned with the eco-tourism (Williamson, 2003).

b-2- Suggestions to improve the current situation

The major suggestion is that the government is a requirement to set the level of development that could be done near to the dense forest or eco-tourism site. The high level of development disturbs the environment and species can’t be survived into such environment. This suggestion is crucial as it allows getting control on biodiversity as well. Further the government needs to undertake huge research so that the required aspects or efforts to develop the eco-tourism could be identified. The mistakes took place in previous attempts could be rectified if the nature of ecotourism is clear to the government. Thus, these are a huge level of efforts which could be put in order to ensure the development of orangutan on this particular site (Talwar, 2006).

Task 3-

Application of PEST and SWOT

Selected business- A two-star family hotel in Black pool

PEST analysis-

Political environment- As the hotel is two stars only and is a family hotel so there are no such problems related to the political interference. But the unstable political environment could have the same impact upon their business operations. Further, the legal policies will also remain same as the designed by the government. On the large basis, there are no such issues with respect to dealing with the political environment. The legal policies like filling the tax, ensuring proper security, cleanliness and hygiene are required to be provided in an appropriate manner else the problems could be faced by two stars hotel (Roy and Tisdell, 1998).

Economic environment- Here the family hotel has to work hard on their pricing structure. There is need of putting the reasonable pricing so that the customers could be attracted easily. They have chances to get a number of customers as the middle section of the society can afford their rooms and can stay comfortably.

Social environment- Here the social environment could be positive for the two stars family hotel. The UK has a good ratio of international as well as domestic tourists. Thus, socially the hotel has an opportunity to get a number of customers.

Technological environment- It is the area where cited category of the hotel needs to pay an adequate amount of consideration. It is an area where they can face trouble in retaining the customers (Hezri and Dovers, 2006). The technology for the hospitality industry is changing very rapidly even for the small scale business. Thus here the mentioned category of hotel is required to make a technological arrangement. Like there is need of online presence like website or social networking site. Internally the technology is required to be improved at very large scale. Therefore, it is complete possible environmental analysis for the two stars family hotel.

SWOT analysis-

Strength- Possible strength could be small scale business so it is easy to put control on the business operations. Further, the impact of the global environment also remains very less on small scale business. Due to the family business they can definitely focus upon managing the business by themselves (Vieceli And Values, 2000). There won’t be any kind of financial problems if they have an adequate amount of concrete strategies. The family business provides the scenario of proper consent and quick decision making. The roles and responsibilities could be defined easily and most importantly the understanding level could be at peak. Thus, these could be the possible strength for the two stars family hotel.

Weakness- On the ground of weak aspects it could be said that the less outside exposure and low level of innovation could be seen within the hotel. Due to the external staff, the new thought process could be inherited and it helps in bringing the innovation. Further, the weak aspects could be related to their management weakness. Here it clear that employee retention could have been low if the two stars family hotel is paying well remuneration to their staff. Low branding is another possible weakness in case of mentioned small category of hotel.

Opportunities- The list of opportunities includes the expansion of business as the family people understood the business operations. The opportunities could be availed that they can focus on extensive advertisement strategies and can bring technological advancement as compared to their competitors (Mead and Andrews, 2009). It can provide a competitive advantage and most importantly the sustainability could be ensured.

Threats- Intense competition is one of the major threat that could be faced by two stars family hotel. They need to focus on the new source of income and need to align with current hotel else the limited earning source can create trouble in future. Thus, in this, it is complete micro as well macro level environmental analysis for the cited hotel. It includes both external as well as internal analysis in a proper and effective way.

Recommended Strategy  

Here the marketing strategies could be proposed so that the improvement into the existing business operations could be introduced at very large level. The description of marketing mix is as follows

Product- The product for the hotels are rooms so there is need of providing the clean and hygienic rooms to the tourists. The interior must be effective and so attractive. It could be based on any theme like modern architecture, Kid theme, heritage etc.

Price- It must be reasonable and competitive as well

Promotion- For the same purpose the help of social media could be taken and most importantly the website should be designed on the priority basis (Hamilton and Webster, 2012).

Place- The location of the hotel could be accessible but still the mapping facility could be provided to the tourists. Therefore, these marketing mix strategies must be taken into special consideration.

Justification for the strategy

Above mentioned strategies could be immensely helpful with respect to improving the level of marketing and its elements. The selected product mix can help in putting the positive impression at the customers and most importantly they could be attracted very easily. Through reasonable pricing the hotel can definitely manage their profits as well as return on investment from the customer’s perspective could be satisfactory. Ahead the selected promotional mix has become the essential for all the companies. These strategies come within the budget as well so it also justified from a cost perspective. At last, the place strategy is completely dependent upon the most principle of place i.e. easy accessibility and good location (Riege and Perry, 2000). Hence, the mentioned strategies are beneficial and result oriented.  

Task 4

Analysis of the impact of above-mentioned issues

The issues those who have driving change within the travel and tourism sector have a huge level of positive as well as negative impact over the various dimensions of travel and tourism sector. The description of various impacts is given below

Impact on business- The above-mentioned issues have a huge impact at the business of travel and tourism companies. Majorly the companies who are active into the hospitality industry they have faced a huge level of growth and development within their business. Due to the high level of technology, they are able to deal with the increment in demand of tourism. The sales ratio is very high and most importantly the revenue generation capacity of the companies has also increased tremendously (Timothy, 2011). Further, the environmental awareness has highly affected the business of restaurants and aviation sector. They have a clear set of instructions that wastage should be dumped in an appropriate manner. Further pollution measures are required to be taken by the aviation sector business. The growth has been observed at very large scale (Sharp, 1991). Ahead the rise on fuel prices lower the sales of aviation sector as people prefer to visit the national territory and in national or domestic tourism the distance could be covered through another mode of transportation. It is highly significant that the businesses have become more stable as they have the reach to a maximum number of people but security measures sometimes create trouble in reaching out to the maximum number of customers (Riege and Perry, 2000). But this kind of situation is not common in developed economies where the security measures are very high and painstaking. Thus, these are certain impacts over the businesses.

Impact on product and service- Again it is clear that the service quality has been increased tremendously. The product range has also become very diverse however due to the security measures and uncertain economic feature the highest number of the population don’t show their interest within these product ranges as these are highly expensive. They services like a virtual tour, enquiry or reservation could be done by just sitting at home. Thus it becomes easier to focus upon the customer convenience (Chhabra, 2010). The impact on service is that the quick and fast connections could be established with the customers. The tour operators can provide the map to the customers so that the tourists can create their perception about the visit or travel. Thus in this way it becomes clear that the dimensions of products and service have been changed hugely.

Impact on employment levels- It is something that has seen the positive impacts at very large scale. The companies required large number of people to handle the operations or who can contribute into the organizational success. It is clear that the demand level is increasing so employment generation is taking place in every area of travel and tourism. To handle the various tourism activities the companies are hiring the experts who have knowledge about the particular area of tourism. Therefore these are some of the major impacts that have been experienced within the travel and tourism sector due to the current issues and trends (Conrady and Buck, 2011).

Consequences if failed to respond to market changes.

Above mentioned trends and issues are required to be dealt in proper way else the problems could be faced on the ground of maintaining the sustainability of the business. As mentioned above that the major impact of these trends and issues is that it can hamper the sustainability so the companies are required to dealt with these aspects ineffective way otherwise the objective related to gaining the competitive advantage couldn’t be achieved in an effective manner (Cooper and Hall, 2012). The major consequence, other than adverse impact on sustainability, is that the profitability could be hampered. If the technological advancements are not excellent and effective then it put its impact at the service quality and most importantly the negative impression could be put on customers or tourists. Thus the low sales ratio could be observed. Ahead the impact is that the role of travel and tourism sector within the country’s economy can go down of the security measures are not so effective. It is essential to understand that the element of security is crucial at both macro and micro level (Barron, 2008). There is huge requirement of ensuring that the safety and protection of international as well as domestic tourists is required at very large scale else the problem could be faced in the form of less contribution of travel and tourism sector within the GDP rate. At the same juncture the low level of employment generation could also witness by the country. If travel and tourism sector failed to respond to market changes then the development of niche market is impossible as the service quality will be deteriorated (Mead and Andrews, 2009). Ahead the list of negative consequences includes the slow development of niche tourism. Above mentioned various kinds of tourism like gastronomic, grey tourism etc. could never be developed at very large scale. The problem could be faced on the ground of loss of various kinds of tourism activities. The companies are required to prepare concrete strategies along with government and local tourism board so that the unfavorable consequences could be handled effectively. Overall it is clear that the negative impacts are huge at both micro and macro level (Hamilton and Webster, 2012).

Conclusion

On the basis of above study it is clear that the travel and tourism industry has growth potential and nowadays the trends for the future development are very high. The issues and trends could be segregated into both macros as well as micro level. The issues at the macro level are affecting the business decision making. On the contrary the trends are boosting the sales for the companies. Another impact is that the improvement in service quality has become possible and most importantly the dimensions of the product has been increased. The major contribution of travel and tourism sector is that it has boosted the national economy and bring the whole world on a single platform.

References

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Bell S. and Morse S., 1999, Sustainability Indicators. Measuring the immeasurable. Earthscan London.

Chen, L. Mohamed, S., 2008. The impact of the internal business environment on knowledge management within construction organizations. Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management. 8(1). pp.61 – 81.

Chhabra, D., 2010. Sustainable Marketing of Cultural and Heritage Tourism. Routledge.

Connor R. and Dovers S., 2004, Institutional Change for Sustainable Development. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK. 

Conrady, R, and Buck, M., 2011. Trends and Issues in Global Tourism 2011. Springer.

Cooper, C. and Hall, M., 2012. Contemporary Tourism. Routledge.

Dale V. and Beyeler S., 2001, ‘Challenges in the development and use of ecological indicators’, Ecological Indicators 1: 3-10.

Faucheux S. and O’Connor M., 1998, Valuation for Sustainable Development: methods and policy indicators. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK. 

Hamilton, L and Webster, P., 2012. The International Business Environment. Oxford University Press.

Henri, A. A. and Dovers, S. R., 2006, ‘Sustainability indicators, policy, governance: issues for ecological economics’, Ecological Economics 60 (2006) 86-99. 

Kourteli, L., 2000. Scanning the business environment: some conceptual issues. Benchmarking: An International Journal. 7(5). pp.406 – 413.

Mead, R. and Andrews, T. G. 2009.  International management culture and beyond. John Wiley and Sons.

Riege, A. and Perry, C., 2000. National marketing strategies in international travel and tourism. European Journal of Marketing. 34(11/12). pp.1290 – 1305.

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Ecotourism: niche or the future of the industry?

rodrigo | September 12, 2016

WritePass - Essay Writing - Dissertation Topics [TOC]

WRITEPASS – CUSTOM ESSAY WRITING – DISSERTATION TOPIC IDEAS

Introduction

To say ecotourism is nothing more than a niche project with little applicability to the wider tourism industry is to fail to consider the complexity of the problem: tourism is an expanding industry, and without a plan to create sustainable development, the carrying capacity will be exceeded (Simón, Narangajavana and Marqués, 2004).  According to Wall and Mathieson, once this happens, the overload of tourists has the potential to destroy the very resources that attracted them (2006). In turn, this will limit and possibly even slow down the industry considerably.

In order to argue how the principles guiding the business of ecotourism can be transformed into principles for sustainable development of the wider tourism industry, especially mass tourism, these guiding ideas must first be understood.  For the purpose of this discussion Wearing and Neil’s (2009) perimeters for defining ecotourism and its principles will be used along with the principles of ‘Low Impact Tourism’ (LIT).  These can briefly be explained as follows:

Not “mainstream”:  It is a form of alternative tourism that is not in opposition to but rather separate to mass tourism.  Ecotourism does not actively go against the principles of mass tourism, but, being dependent on a set of value laden judgements, rather provides a seemingly polar alternative.

Nature-focussed:  It has a particular philosophical orientation towards nature.

Motivation-driven clients:  Tourists are characterised by particular motivations – in the case of ecotourism an urge to be a ‘do-gooder’ and contribute to efforts in conservation and development.

Emphasis on experience:  The service provider adheres to touristic practices and provides a quality tourism experience.

Politically involved:  The projects constitute an approach to local, regional, national, and international politics.

Culture-focus:  There is active valuation of culture and a dependency on natural and cultural resources.

Sustainability:  The projects tourists participate in must be part of a strategy for sustainable development and integrate conservation efforts. (Weaver and Neil, 2009)

Ecotourism ‘is a form of tourism that fosters learning experiences and appreciation of the natural environment’ (Weaver, 2001, p. 15) and ‘conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people’ (The International Ecotourism Society, 1990).  In this sense, the concept is extremely limited and non-transferable: it is a form of educational tourism that caters to a very specific set of ideas, mainly that the holiday or travel undertaken will contribute to the improvement of the environment or the minimisation of the impact of humans thereon at the very least.  The broader principled as set out above, however, are highly adaptable and transferable to the wider tourism industry and could help to develop a more sustainable market.

Ecotourism is undoubtedly a niche, but it is an exclusive one.  The fact that the amount of people who can participate at any time must be limited so as not to impact the environment – especially in conservation efforts – mean that participation itself becomes an exclusive commodity.  It has the potential to be the natural equivalent of the Berkin bag – knowingly regulated in production so there is a constant waiting list creating an air of exclusivity. In this way, ecotourism effectively commodifies nature (Castree, 2003 and Demeritt, 2000)

Furthermore, the importance of striking the correct balance between allowing tourists access and preserving the environment makes it more bearable for customers to be waitlisted: to insist on an increase in group size is to directly go against the ideals that are the foundation of eco-tourists.  In other words, the ideology creates the exclusivity, which, in turn, increases the commodity’s value.

It is not easy to apply this logic to mass tourism as there are few instances of this that is currently dependent on ideology, but the model can be incorporated into other niche markets.  The thrill-seeker on an adventure trip will hunt for experiences few others of his ilk have had.

The niche market can increase value by limiting access thus increasing revenue generated per person, decreasing impact on the environment due to less over-crowding and make the experience more enjoyable for the tourist.  In order to do this, the experience must be something worth waiting for – a problem addressed through the development of the experience in relation to a set of values.

Exclusivity and a covetable product can also contribute to creating a better experience for the tourist, especially in relation to mass tourism problems like over-crowded beaches or giant resorts giving little or no interaction with the local environment.

Imagine for example, instead an offer that would combine 3S tourism with ecotourism and contribute to alleviate the pressure of overcrowding on popular beaches.  There are plenty of beaches around the world that require work adjacent to them in the form or wildlife, marine or nature conservation.  If trips to some of these could be offered at an affordable price in exchange for some volunteer time from tourists who would not otherwise go on ecotourism holidays it could solve several problems: it could solve some issues of over-crowding in popular tourist spots nearby; it could help conservation efforts worldwide; given some time it could provide sustainable development of work and living space in less conventional places helping to address problems of over-populated areas through tourism.

It is crucial to all tour providers that their experience is enjoyable to the client (Fennel and Smale, 1992), and thus this principle should not only apply to ecotourism, but to all tourism.  The experience of ecotourism crucially lies in the motivation and to transfer this into mass tourism could have interesting and fruitful results.

That ecotourism will supplant other forms of tourism such as 3S or adventure tourism is not very likely.  There is still a vast group of tourists who enjoy their comforts and have little interest in the great outdoors.  However, what ecotourism does have is a value-based development of their product (Zografos, and Allcroft, 2007).  Operators sell the concept that to be an ecological traveller is to be a champion of nature – especially in the case of packages involving conservation.  Due to the popularity of ecotourism, this is not always the case as fragile ecosystems with much less carrying capacity than more traditional tourism venues will be oversubscribed and the conservation effort can damage the system beyond repair.

Weaver, crucially writes that ‘[ecotourism] has the appearance […] of being environmentally and socio-culturally sustainable’ (2001, p.15).  He does not claim that it actually is, only that it appears to be better than mass tourism from a sustainability perspective.  The dissonance between ideal and actuality is of little consequence; ultimately ecotourism feeds the individual’s ego (Wheeller, 1993).  The travellers can believe they are helping to save the world, one tree or community at the time, but still not know the full extent of the help or harm of their visit.  What they are participating in can be as much an idea as it is a reality.

In the same way as a luxurious honeymoon, ecotourism is also partly about feeding a fantasy: it is perhaps a more idealistic and philosophical fantasy, but it is a fantasy nonetheless.  Ecotourism is ultimately about taking a journey to what or who you want to be.  It is a different kind of escapism – one that means running to something rather than from it, but is still about doing something out of the ordinary.

To use people’s ideology and create an appropriate tourism option to satisfy this could greatly benefit the wider tourism industry (Blamey, 2001). To travel is appealing in itself, be it domestic or international travel, but the emotional gratification of contributing to a charitable cause makes things like Spartan accommodation and hard work seem more appealing.  If ‘you derive personal pleasure and joy from helping others’ and thus ‘your charity is selfish because you want to feel good’ (Keng, 2012) the motivations driving ecotourism need not be so limiting as they first appear – in fact, the rest of the principles can be used to achieve this.

‘The original emphasis of ecotourism was on low key, unobtrusive tourism which has minimal impacts on natural ecosystems’ writes Wearing and Neil (2009, p.1) and this idea of unobtrusive tourism can be extended to include intrusion into other areas than nature.

The limitation of such intrusions can be advertised as part of the appeal of the tourist experience in the same way corporations and other service providers often sell their products based on ideas such as ‘responsibly sourced’ ‘locally grown’ or ‘we don’t use child labour’.  The customer buys the organisation’s merchandise rather than their competitors’ because they perceive the product to be morally better.  A good example of this is the Fairtrade movement.

According to Tao and Wall, ‘it is useful to explore how tourism is and might be incorporated into the existing mix of livelihood strategies so that it enriches rather than replaces the means by which people may be sustained’ (2009, p.91).  Thus, tourism can help to develop sustainable strategies for work generation and cultural preservation in tourist destinations.  Tour operators can, for example, only employ locals and use this as a corporate responsibility selling point that can generate more business from the semi-conscientious traveller.  Weaver argues that there has been a paradigm shift in the way we think about our consumption of both goods and services in a more ethical perspective that accounts for much of the motivation behind ecotourism (2001). This should also inform the wider tourist industry in their approach to creating an appealing experience.

Some problems in other tourism could also be solved by the inclusion of principles from ecotourism, especially in the sectors of nature and adventure tourism.  An example of such issues can be found in Hwange National Park: Zimbabwe’s most visited, most accessible and most densely game-stocked national park (Potts, Goodwin and Walpole, 2002).  A major issue for the park is underfunding from the Department of National Parks and Wild Life Management and as an indirect result, ‘the development of [Hwange National Park] for photographic tourism has led to severe problems for park management, not least visitor overcrowding and environmental degradation’ (Potts, Goodwin and Walpole, 2002, p.200).

The degradation of such a major attraction could be detrimental to Zimbabwe’s national tourist industry.  Introducing ecotourism helps to develop sustainable strategies (Lane, 1994). The national park wants to keep costs for tourists down, but they could charge their current nominal fee but also stipulate some volunteer effort as payment for access to the park over extended time.  In this way, some needed work could go ahead without the need for extensive additional funding and the increased conservation effort would generate more nature tourism as the degradation stagnates which in turn could fund more conservation work.

According to Wall and Mathieson, ‘sustainable development requires a long-term perspective that works towards equity between people, and between people and other inhabitants of the planet’ (2006, 15).  This means that everyone, tourists and locals alike, need to develop a strategy to preserve the environments they live in so that the human impact thereupon is minimised and the places that are amazing to see today will still be amazing for generations to come.

Page and Dowling argue that sustainable development is crucial to the survival and viability of the tourism industry (2002).  If there is to be any special places left worth paying money to see the industry must develop in a sustainable way that will not subsume the local culture and environment into large resorts or streets of tourist junk shops.  In developing local environments, ecotourism could serve as a model to develop sustainable tourism in places that are inaccessible to mass tourism at the moment which will open the world to more destinations and preserve the ones we have.

Bibliography:

Blamey, R. K., 2001. Principles of ecotourism. In: The encyclopedia of ecotourism 2001 (2001): 5-22 Accessible online at: http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=HhfHmSojJ8QC&oi=fnd&pg=PA5&dq=Principles+of+eco+tourism+can+benefit+wider+tourism+industry&ots=AkYPqJfeTN&sig=qvyc4uL5Wim5f718P1BeGgh-H1c#v=onepage&q=Principles%20of%20eco%20tourism%20can%20benefit%20wider%20tourism%20industry&f=false [Accessed on October 14, 2013]

Castree, N., 2003. Commodifying What Nature? In: Progress in Human Geography 27(3):273–297.

Demeritt, D., 2000. The new social contract for science: accountability, relevance, and value in US and UK science and research policy. In: Antipode 32(3):308–329.

Fennell, D.A., and Smale, B.J.A., 1992. Ecotourism and natural resource protection: implications of an alternative form of tourism for host nations. In: Tourism Recreation Research 17(1): 21-32.

Keng, C., 2012. Charity is Selfish and It Needs to Stay That Way [blogpost]. Available on Cameron Keng’s, of the Keng Institute, personal blog: http://www.cameronkeng.com/2012/01/22/charity-is-selfish-and-it-needs-to-stay-that-way/ [Accessed 09 October, 2013]

Lane, B., 1994. Sustainable rural tourism strategies: A tool for development and conservation. In: Journal of sustainable tourism 2(1-2): 102-111.

Page, S.J. and Dowling, R.K., 2002. Ecotourism. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Potts, F.C., Goodwin, H. and Walpole, M.J., 1996. People, Wildlife and Tourism in and Around Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. In: Price, M.F., ed., 1996.  People and Tourism in Fragile Environments. Chichester: Wiley.

Simón, F.J.G., Narangajavana, Y., and Marqués, D.P., 2004. Carrying capacity in the tourism industry: a case study of Hengistbury Head. In: Tourism management 25(2): 275-283.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), 1990.  What is Ecotourism? [webpage]. Available through TIES’s website: http://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism [Accessed on October 14, 2013]

Tao, T., and Wall, G. (2009). Tourism as a sustainable livelihood strategy. In: Tourism Management, 30: 90-98.

Wall, G. and Mathieson, A., 2006. Tourism: Change, Impacts and Opportunities. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Wearing, S. and Neil, J., 2009. Ecotourism: Impacts, Potentials and Possibilities (second edition). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Weaver, D., 2001. Ecotourism. Milton, Australia: Wiley.

Wheeller, B., 1993. Sustaining the ego. In: Journal of Sustainable Tourism 1(2):121–129.

Zografos, C., and Allcroft, D., 2007. The environmental values of potential ecotourists: A segmentation study. In: Journal of Sustainable Tourism 15(1): 44-66.

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