What are the advantages and disadvantages of ecotourism?

Answer

According to Global Underwater Explorers, ecotourism can bring sorely needed funds to small communities and teach the locals the value of preserving their environment, but it can also increase human intrusion into the natural world if not carefully managed. Unregulated ecotourism can actually be a detriment to endangered plants and animals if too much human traffic begins to damage the local ecosystem.

A common problem facing endangered animals is that the communities closest to their habitats often have no real ability or desire to spend the resources necessary to protect the threatened organisms. Ecotourism can provide the funds needed for this protection, as well as to help increase local awareness of their natural resources. For instance, local poachers might make less than $100 for killing an endangered animal, but catering to those who want to view these threatened species could become a lasting source of income. The chief danger of ecotourism, however, is that it brings more humans into ecologically fragile regions of the world, and the more humans there are, the more likely the environment will suffer damage. Also, as competition for ecotourists increases, local guides may begin searching for rarer and rarer sights to offer, drawing human activity further into these animals' habitats and potentially causing more damage.

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Ecotourism
The International Tourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people." A relatively new travel model, ecotourism attempts to reduce negative human... More »
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