a concept, ecotourism has essentially evolved over the past decade.
Its specific aims and objectives lay emphasis on tourism being ecologically
friendly. It is thus a force that is contributing to the greening
of the tourism industry and can be visualised as a process of significant
importance to the industry as a whole, even though it is presently
limited to a small niche market with a very few operators.
term "ecotourism" was originally defined as "travelling
to relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated areas with the specific
objective of studying, admiring or enjoying the scenary, its wild
plants and animals, as well as any existing cultural manifestations
found in these areas"(Ceballos-Lascurain,1988). However since
then different definitions have been put forward, some of which
do not clearly demarcate between different forms of nature based
tourism. The most appropriate appears to be the International Union
for the Conservation of Nature's definition, which describes ecotourism
as being .... "...environmentally responsible travel and visitation
to relatively undisturbed natural areas in order to enjoy and appreciate
nature (and any accompanying cultural features, both past and present);
that promotes conservation; has low visitor impact; and provides
for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations"
(Ceballos-Lascurian, 1993, in Ceballos-Lascurian, 1996).
major underlying assumption of ecotourism is that visitors can provide
the necessary economic
licentives to achieve local conservation and development.. In theory,
ecotourism generates revenue which will be used to protect and conserve
the existing biodiversity and natural environment that drag visitors
to a particular site. Ecotourism's objectives, therefore, include
visitors education, non-alterations of ecosystems, and local economic
ecotourism is universally recognised as defining a very specific
type of nature based tourism,in which small groups of people are
taken to experience various aspects of nature and participate in
wildlife viewing, nature trekking, educational tours, and so on.
Special care is taken to prevent negative impact on the ecosystem,
and tourist education in matters related to the environment is given
high priority. The distinguishing feature of ecotourism is that
it emphasises the ecological fragility, carrying capacity and biodiversity
conservation of the region, while acting as a liaison between local
communities and the tourism industry.