Welcome to Eco Wild!
In this issue:
1. Local community issues
2. Did you know that...?
1. Local community issues.
I have spent the last two issues of Eco Wild discussing the definition
and the Four R's of ecotourism. Now that we have a general idea of the ecotourism
basics, we need to consider the code of conduct and appropriate behaviour for
ecotourism operators. However, before we look at the code of conduct, let's step
back and consider the possible impact ecotourism can have on small, local communities.
While there are many benefits for small communities involved in ecotourism, if
ecotourism is implemented without a managed plan, there are also drawbacks that
must be considered. Once we understand the possible drawbacks to ecotourism in
small communities, we can then work on the code of conduct with the positive and
negative aspects of ecotourism in mind.
The stages mentioned below are from Carolyn Hill of the ecosourcenetwork.com.
The team at ecosourcenetwork.com gives excellent feedback and information on ecotourism;
unfortunately, they have had to close their business due to lack of interest and
support. This reminds me how important it is to support initiatives like theirs,
for the future of ecotourism!
While you read the Tourism Impact Stages below, I encourage you
to think of your local area. Has a similar experience occurred in your area? If
so, how could it have been prevented? If not, how can you ensure that the below
scenario doesn't happen in the future?
Tourism Impact Stages
1. Tourists arrive for the first time
-They find hospitality and friendliness.
-They cause little offense and no money changes hands.
2. More tourists arrive
-Word of mouth spreads concerning the friendliness and hospitality of the locals.
-Tourists give sweets and pens to the local children.
3. Tourists arrive regularly
-Accommodation is built, food is supplied locally and children ask for sweets
-Tourist English and other international languages are learned and used.
-More natural energy resources are used to cook and provide lights and refrigeration
4. Tourist arrivals increase
-Community becomes more dependent on tourist money; children ask for clothes,
money, cassette tapes and are sometimes tempted by requests for sex from tourists.
-Energy demands increase, putting pressure on local forests. Sewage outfall can
become a problem, as can litter and garbage disposal.
-Food and drinks are often imported to the area to satisfy the tourist needs.
5. Tourist arrivals increase rapidly
-Community members, including children and teenagers, become more aggressive in
their dealings with tourists.
-Drug sales can become established with tourists. Prostitution and drug production
-Communities become more and more dependent on tourism.
-Culture and environment both start to suffer.
6. Travel operators and tourists start to look for new destinations
that are less spoilt and thus export the problem to a new area where the cycle
may start again.
I know this is cynical and sobering scenario, but it is sadly
often the truth. However, if a proper ecotourism plan is created with input from
all the stakeholders from the outset, this situation may be averted. I challenge
you to take 5 minutes and think of new ways to avoid this scene. Please send me
your feedback and ideas on how we can avoid these potential problems when writing
the code of conduct for tour operators. I look forward to hearing from you!
2. Did you know that...?
....there are over 50 US university campuses, such as Harvard,
MIT and Notre Dame, that have asked university graduates to sign the Graduation
Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility? This pledge commits the student
to taking into account the social and environmental consequence of any job they
consider, by screening potential employers for the company policy with regards
to environmental impact, contribution to society and fair treatment of employees.
Green is good and becoming a standard feature in US companies! How about your
....planetark.org is a funny, interesting and creative website
offering environmental news, free information environmental packs and other eco
news? Gotta love those Aussies!
....within the next 18 months in Britain, the switch to a fixed-rate
internet pricing scheme is expected to allow one in two Brits to go online compared
to the current ratio of one in five? They'll be just as savvy as the American
internet users and expect to collect all their travel information online at any
time. Are you ready for this next wave of internet users?
....wetlands are capable of maintaining water levels during a
drought? Maybe we need more wetlands with these Kenyan power cuts!
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
Thank you for your support!
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