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A dikdik, one of the smallest and most graceful antelopes.

Welcome to Eco Wild!

In this issue:

1. What is ecotourism?

1. What is ecotourism?

Everywhere you go, it's "green" this and "green" that. But what exactly is ecotourism? Where did the word originate?

According to the Centre for Ecotourism, the term ecotourism was created by Hector Ceballos-Lascurain in 1983. The original term was for describing "nature-based travel to relatively undisturbed areas with an emphasis on education." However, this term has been over-used since then with no standard definition.

Another phrase for ecotourism is sustainable tourism.

Either way you define the word, it is generally agreed that ecotourism should be:

E-environment, lands, ecosystems, biodiversity
C-communities, cultural diversity, local customs
O-orientated

Ecotourism is sustainable tourism, which follow clear steps that:

  • Ensures prior, informed participation of all stakeholders, such as the local communities, NGOs, governments, tourism based participants and conservationists.
  • Ensures equal, effective and active participation of all stakeholders in the decision process.
  • Promotes processes for the local communities to control and maintain their resources while keeping the highest percentage of a tourist dollar in the host country for the benefit of the local communities and in-country conservation efforts.

In general, ecotourism is an insightful, mindful and participatory travel experience to natural and cultural environments, assisting the well-being of the local cultures and environments for future generations. At the same time ecotourism produces viable economic opportunities for the tourism industry and host communities. If done successfully, it should create an integrated and holistic approach to product development in the tourism industry.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? As my American colleagues would say, "I don't think so!".

Now that we at least have a starting definition of what ecotourism is, we need to look at how to implement it, for everyone involved. So next week I'll discuss the "Four R's of ecotourism", namely:

Responsible
Respectful
Reasonable
Rational

In the meantime, if you have any comments about my definition of ecotourism, please email me at anne@eco-resorts.com.

I hope you enjoyed this week's issue as much as I enjoyed writing it; now I encourage you to take some action and go wild about East Africa, wildlife and ecotourism!

Thank you for your support!
Anne

Article ideas, quiz ideas, general feedback and other suggestions are always welcome! Please send them to: anne@eco-resorts.com.

If you would like to join the Eco Wild email eco forum discussion group, please send an email to: ecowild-subscribe@egroups.com. If you would prefer not to receive any more copies of the Eco Wild newsletters, please email anne@eco-resorts.com with "unsubscribe" in the subject line (sniff! !).

For permission to reprint this or any article from Eco Wild (formerly HMS corporate newsletter), please contact Anne Loehr at: anne@eco-resorts.com.

Copyright 2000 - All Rights Reserved Anne Loehr

Eco-Wild
Anne Loehr
Eco-resorts
P.O. Box 120
Watamu, Kenya

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