Ecotourism has its roots since the late 1970s through the work of Miller (1989) on ecodevelopment. According to Hetzer (personal communication, October 1997), the development of its characteristics, as mentioned above, was brought about by a culmination of dissatisfaction with negative approaches towards development in areas where indigenous species and habitats reside.
Ecotourism is defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people (TIES, 1990). Ecotourism encompasses consideration for the well-being of local communities, conservation of the environment, socio-cultural integrity of the areas and environmental education to generate awareness and the inculcation of attitude and encouragement towards environmental conservation among the visitors, as well as the host communities (Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), 2014, February 12).
Since ecotourism represents a more responsible form of tourism, it includes the following characteristics: 1. minimum environmental impact; 2. minimum impact on and maximum respect for host cultures; 3. Maximum economic benefits to the host country’s grassroots; and 4. maximum “recreational” satisfaction to participating tourists.
While nature-based tourism, which includes wildlife tourism, has been expanding rapidly in the last decade or so due to increased demand and opportunities (“Growing wildlife-based tourism”, 2018)
According to a new report published by Allied Market Research, the global adventure tourism market was valued at $444,850 million in 2016, and is projected to reach $1,335,738 million in 2023, registering a CAGR of 17.4 % from 2017 to 2023
Technology has dominated our world and has brought about an insurmountable level of convenience to humans. However, to pave the way for technology, the natural resources that were once in abundance, has been depleted. In fact, it has been depleting at a rapid pace that calls for concern. As a result, ecotourism is thus crucial in ensuring the future generation will continue to have access to clean air and a healthy and blooming environment to live in. Based on the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), it was stated that eco-friendly initiatives and sustainable travel will become the highlight in recent trends.
Right now, the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) is taking measures to ensure that awareness on the importance of ecotourism continues to increase (Hunter, 2018). According to New Indian Express, to boost the growing eco-tourism sector, the state Cabinet has decided to constitute an ‘Eco-Tourism Development Board (ETDB)’, which would formulate policy framework to attract more tourists and ensure protection of flora and fauna. Moreover, while exploiting the eco-tourism potential in the state, Higher Education Minister Dr V S Acharya remarked that it would encourage the involvement of local people and promote private sector participation in tourism (New Indian Express (India), 2012, January 20).
As such, ecotourism can be seen booming recently in parts of Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Canada. Ecotourism based on natural forests has been receiving much attention lately and in Sri Lanka, natural forests such as Sinharaja have become a key tourist attraction.
Next, the first multiple-use park in Malaysia, where ecotourism is expanded, and fishing is restricted to designated zones to better protect the marine and coastal ecosystems and manage the rich underwater resources that support some 80,000 coastal inhabitants. Lastly, in Canada, one of its most noted ecotourism initiatives is the Cree Village Ecolodge in Moose Factory, Ont., which has earned accolades for its beauty and commitment to sustainability.