Ecotourism is a type of tourism that entails a person or a group of persons visiting natural areas that encourage the conservation of environment, ensures a sustainable living environment for the local people and also it involves education. The main reason behind ecotourism is the need to unite communities, conservation and well-managed travel. Ecotourism serves different purposes which include; provision of funds for conservation of ecology, encourages development economically and also benefits the local communities through political empowerment. It majorly focuses on the social travels, sustainable environment and personal growth. It brings out an insight to tourists on the effects that human beings have on the environment and also is intended to foster the appreciation of the natural resources.
Benefits of ecotourism to local communities
Most of the ecotourism enterprises involve management that is controlled at the local level. The members of a community get involved in all the steps and stages of ecotourism management and also help in empowering tourist and encourage them to the community. Ecotourism creates employment to the local communities, which helps to reduce rural-urban migration in search of jobs. Employment can be as a form of the locals working as tour guides, providing accommodation and food. It improves the living standards of community with facilities such as hospitals, electricity, clean working environment and improved roads. Ecotourism helps reduces poverty on a long-term solution, unlike the charitable handout. Ecotourism encourages cultural preservation since it provides a platform for cultural interaction between the locals and tourists. It brings the best on the social and political issues in a community since the community may not want the visitors to witness the ugly side of it.
Ecotourism and Displacement of People
In most cases, communities have been moved for the purpose of creation of a park. In most countries, communities have been displaced with about seventy percent of parks in pastoralist’s communities land. Most communities that have been displaced have been because of their ignorance and assumption of the situation. The ignorant communities mostly do not benefit from an economic gains and employment in the areas mostly favours the educated which is something that misses in that community. Displacement of people can occur as a result of government manipulating the local communities or even without the knowledge and consultation of the local people. In some cases, ecotourism has exploited and depleted the local people making it a tool that doesn’t empower the local community who ensure that it is satisfying and rich.