Discovering the Impact of Ecotourism



9 Questions

What is the main goal of ecotourism?

What are some of the potential negative effects of ecotourism?

What is the role of certification programs in ecotourism?

What is the impact of ecotourism on indigenous people?

What is the impact of ecotourism on conservation?

What are some criticisms of ecotourism?

What are some environmental impacts of ecotourism?

What is the impact of ecotourism on local communities?

What is the role of private companies in managing ecotourism sites?


Ecotourism is a form of tourism that involves responsible travel to natural areas, conserving the environment, and improving the well-being of the local people. It aims to educate the traveler, provide funds for ecological conservation, benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, foster respect for different cultures and for human rights, and minimize environmental impact. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. It can have direct and indirect ecological, economic, and sociocultural benefits, but also unintended negative effects that can be mitigated through regulations and codes of conduct. Certification programs and guidelines exist to promote sustainable practices and differentiate ecotourism companies based on their level of environmental commitment. Ecotourism can benefit conservation, provided that animals and their habitats are sufficiently protected, conflict between people and wildlife is avoided or mitigated, there is good outreach and education of the local population into the benefits of ecotourism, and there is effective collaboration with stakeholders in the area. Small scale, slow growth, and locally based ecotourism can create viable economic opportunities, including high-level management positions, and reduce environmental issues associated with poverty and unemployment.Ecotourism: Efforts to Preserve Ecosystems, Impact on Indigenous People and Criticisms

Efforts to preserve ecosystems at risk:

  • Galapagos Islands designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, added to UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger in 2007
  • IGTOA non-profit dedicated to preserving the islands against invasive species, human impact, and tourism
  • Natural resource management can be utilized to develop ecotourism for conservation of resources
  • Researchers from Jadavpur University working in Kurseong, West Bengal for the development of ecotourism to be used as a tool for natural resource management
  • Southeast Asia government and non-governmental organizations working together to spread economic benefits of tourism into kampungs and villages of the region
  • 2008 Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria involve standards such as effective sustainability planning, maximum social and economic benefits for local communities, minimum negative impacts on cultural heritage and the environment

Impact on indigenous people and indigenous land:

  • Ecotourism can bring in revenue for indigenous peoples and employment to local people
  • Proper business plan and organizational structure needed to ensure generated money from ecotourism flows towards indigenous peoples and protection of their territory
  • Indigenous territories managed by governmental services who can decide whether or not to implement ecotourism in these territories
  • Depending on how protected areas are set up and handled, it can lead to local people losing their homes, and mostly with no compensation
  • Ecotourism can lead to conflict and changes in land-use rights, fails to deliver promises of community-level benefits, and damages environments


  • Environmentalists, special interest groups, and governments define ecotourism differently

  • Many terms are used under the rubric of ecotourism, which can lead to confusion among tourists and academics

  • Ecotourism projects are not meeting conservation standards

  • Ecotourism can transform nature and environment into commodities, leading to abandoning rich ecological sites or destroying valuable sites

  • Ecotourism exercises tremendous financial and political influence, which can lead to funding being used for ecotourism instead of other projects

  • Ecotourism operations occasionally fail to live up to conservation ideals, leading to environmental degradation with tourist infrastructure, population pressures, and pollution associated with the Western lifestyleEcotourism: Environmental Impact and Challenges

  • Ecotourists often fail to understand the ecological consequences of their visits to destinations.

  • Ecotourism activities can disturb fauna and flora, leading to soil impaction, erosion, and plant damage.

  • Ecotourism can also scare away animals, disrupt their feeding and nesting sites, or acclimate them to the presence of people.

  • Ecotourism is considered to be playing a role in environmental depletion, including deforestation, disruption of ecological life systems, and various forms of pollution.

  • Most forms of ecotourism are owned by foreign investors and corporations, providing few benefits to the local people.

  • The resentment by local people results in environmental degradation, and the lack of economic opportunities for them also constrains them to degrade the environment as a means of sustenance.

  • Up to 250,000 people worldwide have been forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for conservation projects since 1990.

  • Governments often lack the commitment or capability to manage ecotourism sites, and they are susceptible to making decisions that spend on politically beneficial but environmentally unproductive projects.

  • Management of ecotourism sites by private companies offers an alternative to the cost of regulation and deficiency of government agencies.

  • The model of monopolistic competition states that distinctiveness will entail profits, but profits will promote imitation.

  • The tragedy of the commons offers another model for economic unsustainability from environmental protection, in ecotourism sites utilized by many companies.

  • The systematic literature review by Cabral and Dhar (2019) identified several challenges due to slow progression of ecotourism initiatives, such as economic leakages, lack of government involvement, skill deficiency among local communities, inadequate infrastructure development, and sporadic increase in pollution.


Test your knowledge on ecotourism and its impact on the environment, local communities, and indigenous people with this informative quiz. From efforts to preserve ecosystems at risk to the challenges of sustainable tourism, this quiz will cover a wide range of topics related to ecotourism. Learn about the potential benefits and unintended negative effects of ecotourism, as well as the criticisms and challenges that come with it. Take the quiz and see how much you know about this important and complex topic.

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