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To What Extent Has Ecotourism Contributed To Environmental Protection And National Development At Large

In spite of this increasing popularity in terms of participation, studies and research, many frequently get the definition and the concept of tourism wrong or better still accurately know what it is. This situation of variance due to the coloring by the background of the definition makers is vindicated by Morley (1990) and has tried in his article to find how best this disparity could be harmonized. The meaning of tourism is so diverse even to professionals that it becomes necessary to give a definition only in context. Many define it in the context of the activity and others do so considering the industry itself whilst a few combine the activity and the industry. In this article, the meaning of tourism is limited only to the activity. The National Statistical Coordination Board defines  tourism as that which comprises of  'activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited'. This is in agreement with the definition that tourism is 'the all-embracing term for the movement of people to destinations away from their place of residence for any reason other than following an occupation, remunerated from within the country visited, for a period of 24 hours or more'. Inferring from the fact that the definition of tourism has deep roots in the reasons for traveling and being cognizant that people travel for various reasons, it is not surprising that there are numerous forms of tourism. Among the list are adventure tourism, cultural tourism, heritage tourism, water tourism, sustainable and ecotourism to mention a few.

In time past tourist just as now have been making trips to nature areas for recreation. This concept in recent years has been developing gradually. Today there has been much regard and special intentions for such travels and or tours. This has now been given the lingo ecotourism. "Ecotourism can be simply though of as tourism and recreation that is both nature-based and sustainable. By the 1980 ecotourism was unknown until around 1988 when the popularity was given birth to. This growth was as a result of concerns of the impact of mass tourism on the environment. By the middle of the 1990s ecotourism has become a catchphrase. The growth of this aspect of tourism has not left behind the expansion in the number of ecotourism operators. The activity has reproduced fire brands of specialist tour wholesalers and retail travel agents who are in charge of marketing the products.

Finally to answer whether ecotourism has contributed to environmental protection and national development depends on who is looking at it, from which angle and for what interest. Some authors and research are very positive about it in terms of its help in creating of awareness for species and nature preservation, improvement of local economies through creation of jobs both directly and indirectly, whilst at the same time a source of recreation for many who want to relax and enjoy nature. Other researchers and writers are very particular about the intrusion it causes to reserve and conservation area. Some have even mentioned its impact to certain cultures like the Yanomami. Its impact on biodiversity was not overstated. Looking at the interesting issue linking tourism to climate changes prompts all people especially policy makers to understand that policy making should be integral. A problem in environmental carelessness could affect tourism and affect the economic situation of the country.

However all writers are of the view that if ecotourism is carefully and sustainably practiced, it will be beneficial in environmental protection and nation development.

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