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Finding Perfect Ecotourism May Be Impossible

Feb 24, 2008
Tourism in general has an impact on nearly every part of life, whether the effect is in the form of social consequences or environmental consequences. Tourism is a huge industry that also affects cultures and economies around the globe.

Ecotourism, as a significant portion of the worldwide tourism industry, also has its impact, with associated consequences. Most of the influence that ecotourism has is positive, but it is also true that such activity has some negative affect. One such consequence, especially with ecotourism that is not well planned or well managed, is the increase of low-paying jobs offered to local residents.

In the planning stages, those without the best interest of local populations in mind may see to it that the higher paying positions and management positions go to company representatives who have travelled to the location from abroad. For example, in the case of an ecological park established in a remote location, members of the local population are placed in the labor positions. They are given menial jobs, with lower pay, while a select few from the development company are more fortunate.

Fortunately, an increasing number of responsible ecotourism developers are creating situations that truly benefit local residents. More revenue is finding its way to local schools, cultural exhibits and maintenance of local infrastructure. Some of the more culturally sensitive developers avoid importing manufactured goods that do not benefit the local economy. They choose instead to encourage and support local production.

In some cases, especially in the early stages of ecotourism, activities have damaged the environment, with natural resources exploited almost to the level of mass/recreational tourism. The increase in outdoor experiences sometimes had a negative affect on fish populations, vegetation and natural structures such as coral reefs.

In some early developments those promoting ecotourism did not give sufficient thought to the impact the project would have on the location. Airstrips for landing small planes created scars on the landscape and sometimes disturbed the natural flow of wildlife in the area. Increased use of resources by human populations, even in the smallest sense, sometimes caused problems with local water and food supplies.

Of course, there are significant economic benefits associated with many ecotourism projects. Local populations sometimes enjoy a massive increase in revenue. Overall, personal income increased, though individuals may not have enjoyed the improvement in status they anticipated. Closer inspection of the long term affects show that the increased income remains in the immediate vicinity of the tourism site, and does not spread to the surrounding region.

But ecotourism supporters emphasize that, overall, the concept is more beneficial to the area and its local population than in the past. The positive impact is quite noticeable when compared to exploitive mass tourism that often does not benefit local populations at all.

Every action in life will have some positive consequences and some negative consequences. It is no different with ecotourism, though supporters are striving to make the positives outweigh the negatives by a large margin. It is to the credit of conscientious developers and tourism planners move to spain that ecotourism does not cause problems so large that they are irreversible. When mistakes are made, the situation is improved in favor of the environment and the local population, more often than not.
About the Author
Linden Walhard routinely edits online reports on areas relating with tips for people who move to spain and tips on moving to spain. You might come across his writings on moving to spain over at http://www.alicante-spain.com.
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