Why Ecotourism or Sustainable Tourism
At StoryScape Travel we support the concept that Eco-Tourism should comprise of three equally important pillars, environmental, economic, and socio-cultural. Tourism must be a balance of all three parts to truly be considered “Sustainable or Eco-tourism.”
The environment is obviously important to tourism. Both the natural environment, (fauna and flora, forests, waterways, savanna) and the built environment (historic buildings, structures and ruins) must be supported by a continuous preservation process in order for an area to be environmentally sustainable. Environmental sustainability means making sure resources in an area, whatever they may be, can be preserved for use by future generations. It’s much more than just being “green”, or only adhering to the well-known saying “take only photos, leave only footprints”.
Once an area starts being visited by larger quantities of tourists there are bound to be some social and cultural impacts on the host community. The local community may see a surge of activity by people that have little in common with themselves. People who show little respect or understanding for their culture, traditions, religion or general beliefs. Worst case, they will perceive the local investment to only support the creature comforts and ‘home-lifestyle’ of these foreigners, while the locals remain in whatever state they were found. In the tourism industry, this can often be mitigated by involving the locals. Having the community involved will not only create local employment but ensure visitors a more genuine experience, with the locals more likely to see tourism in a positive light, installing a pride in themselves and a better appreciation and understanding of their local assets.
The last pillar of sustainability revolves around one the most important parts, money. Many people don’t consider economics when thinking about sustainability, but it’s really the key to making a tourism venture sustainable. Economic sustainability means building linkages and reducing leakages, essentially, keeping the money local, employing locals, educating locals, and above all empowering locals.