‘Ecotourism is protecting the natural resources by stressing the tourism value of those resources over their exploitation or other development,’ said John Kusler, American coordinator of the Ecotourism and Resource Conservation Project.
Ecological tourism includes birding, hiking, sightseeing and visits to cultural sights. Several examples from third world countries were cited at a workshop held by the Ecotourism Project last April in Mexico.
In Belize, Central America concern for tourism prompted the government to create aquatic parks along coral reefs and to set aside a forest park to protect black panthers. New hotels in the interior are often of rustic design, resembling native villages.
In Africa, Kenya recently proposed a complete halt to world trade in ivory. Some Kenyans have profited from ivory sales, but officials evidently calculated that elephants are worth more alive than dead. In the last two years, tourism jumped ahead of coffee and tea to become the largest source of foreign exchange for the East African nation. Business Is Booming
‘Many of these countries considered environmental considerations a luxury of rich nations,’ said Arthur Heyman, of the development office of the Organization of American States. ‘Now they can’t afford not to be conscientious about protecting their environment. If that goes, then tourism follows.'”
Margaret Lowman. “Ecotourism and Its Impact on Forest Conservation”. ActionBioscience.org. August 2004 – “Ecotourism probably had its foundations in the ethics of conservation, but its recent surge has certainly been due to its economic benefits as developing countries begin to recognize that nature-based tourism offers a means of earning money with relatively little exploitation or extraction of resources. It is this economic incentive, perhaps more than the consciousness of human ethics, that has given rise to the global expansion of environmentally responsible tourism activities.”
Margaret Lowman. “Ecotourism and Its Impact on Forest Conservation”. ActionBioscience.org. August 2004 – “Canopy walkway in Savai’i, Western Samoa[…] The village was offered a large sum of money in exchange for logging rights to its forest. The chiefs were not happy about the proposal but they needed to pay for reconstruction after a devastating monsoon. Paul Cox had a novel suggestion for the chiefs: What about developing ecotourism to bring in a cash economy while managing the forest sustainably? He suggested a canopy walkway to attract tourists, who would in turn pay for the privilege of walking in the treetops of Samoa. A loan was obtained, and some generous seed money was provided from Seacology Foundation in the United States.”
“Benefits Of Ecotourism”. Untamed Path.com. Retrieved 1.29.08 – “The Agency’s involvement is recent, beginning in the mid-1980s, and the effect of these activities is only starting to emerge. USAID biodiversity conservation programs have demonstrated that potential local resistance to setting aside forest and fishing areas for conservation can often be softened by employment and income-producing opportunities ecotourism can generate.”