Table of contents
- When Does Ecotourism Sustainability Likely to Happen in the Community?
- Why Environmental Problems Should Impact People on a Broad Scale?
- How Does Sustainable Development Help the Community?
- Role of Community in Ecotourism Sustainability Development
- Benefits of Local Community in Sustainable Development
Ecotourism is nature-based, it is all about being ecologically sustainable, protecting environmental aspects and providing benefit to the local community. Sustainable development is economic development along with environmental protection and social equity. Sustainable development is guided to meet the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising those of future generations. Ecotourism supports in sustainable community development by providing an alternative source of livelihood to the local community. Van der Merwe & Van der Marwe (1999) add that “Sustainable development is a program for changing the process of economic development so that it ensures a basic quality of life for all people and at the same time protects the ecosystems and community systems that make life possible and worthwhile. Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
When Does Ecotourism Sustainability Likely to Happen in the Community?
Ecotourism sustainability is more likely to occur when (1) the community is actively involved in the design and development of an ecotourism project and consequently becomes more environmentally conscious, (2) the community leaders develop and support programs for families and children to learn more about environmental conservation and preservation, and (3) community tourism decision makers recognize the importance of promoting and publicizing the potential economic benefits as a result of a community’s ecotourism.
Why Environmental Problems Should Impact People on a Broad Scale?
Climate change, which is caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels, affects communities worldwide in diverse and often unpredictable ways. Some communities experience increased flooding while others experience increased drought and rapid ecosystem changes. Pollution in the air, water and soil poses a threat to human health, as well as the health of the greater environment that sustains the environment. Caring for environments around the world by keeping biodiversity high and ecosystems intact ensures that people can continue sharing materials through trade to support their needs.
Greater quality of life among people within the community through green outdoor spaces that encourage children to stay active, and the opportunity to explore natural ecosystems fosters a lifelong love of nature and a curiosity about the natural world.
How Does Sustainable Development Help the Community?
- Maintenance of ecological integrity and diversity;
- Meet basic human needs;
- Keep options open for future generations;
- Reduce injustice;
- Increase self-determination within the community;
- Revive economic growth;
- Change the quality of growth;
- Meet essential needs such as for jobs, food, energy, water and sanitation;
- Conserve and enhance the resource base;
- Reorient technology and manage risk;
- Merge environment and economics in decision making.
The community will be aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage through tourism, and this will foster community-based conservation of these resources.
Role of Community in Ecotourism Sustainability Development
The most important reason for the inclusion of local inhabitants in ecotourism is equity, taking into consideration the conservation of the area through ecotourism development which inevitably entails restrictions in the traditional usage of local resources by the residents (Eagles et al., 1992 cited in Lindberg, 1998). The primary concept for the development of community-based ecotourism is the empowerment of local people. This is only possible when ecotourism planning takes into consideration the views, the perceptions and preferences of the local wellbeing (WWF-International, 2001).
Benefits of Local Community in Sustainable Development
The residents earn income as land managers, entrepreneurs, service and produce providers, and employees. At least part of the tourist income is set aside for projects which provide benefits to the community as a whole. Greater foreign exchange through generation of revenue. Income generated among local people because there will be job opportunities among local people and that will change their standard of living for the better. Local businesses benefit through selling their handcraft. Through cultural exchange local community benefit and gain funds. Also, sustainable development ecotourism contributes to the conservation of biodiversity through the fight against poaching, afforestation and reforestation; improving infrastructure, because old roads are being improved and new ones are being laid.
Empowered communities are able to gain better benefits from tourism development opportunities and utilize those opportunities in an effective. Involving the community in the process of tourism development increases their awareness of the costs and benefits of tourism. Communities with opportunities to participate in decisions affecting their lives mobilize their capacity and pride in their traditional culture and heritage. Involving local residents in decision making is a positive attitude towards tourism and is essential for tourism sustainability.
Ecotourism benefits both the environment and the local community as a whole. We must always remain responsible travelers and remember that by visiting different places, through our actions, we can improve the lives of people around. Our activities must protect the environment, benefit and support the community.