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Role and Potential of Ecotourism in the UK

by Dani
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Ecotourism
  • Ecotourism Not Promoted As a Major Sector in the UK Tourism Market
  • Role and Potential of Ecotourism in the UK
  • Examples of the Areas That Can Facilitate To Augment the Potential of Ecotourism in the UK
  • Forms of Ecotourism
  • Conclusion
  • References

Introduction

Tourism is one of the fast growing hospitality sectors in the world. It has a positive impact on the economy of a country and has captured the attention of several countries. However, the growth in tourism might cause relevant threats to the cultural and natural diversity. In this respect, eco-tourism has grown in importance in the global economy over the last few decades. It is primarily relevant in a niche sector and is attempting to achieve long-term growth. Ecotourism differs from other types of travel in that it focuses on the preservation of natural habitats by exchanging information and teaching tourists regarding the value of these properties. According to the writers, wasteland sites and pristine regions are attractive to ecotourism. Ecotourism generates profits by allowing tourists to ride across natural environments while still educating them (Wood, 2002). Ecotourism, on the other hand, will not be able to overtake traditional tourist operations, nor would it be able to maintain a successful sector. This article would use relevant examples to assess the importance of eco-tourism and its failure in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the potential and function of ecotourism in the United Kingdom, as well as the manner in which it can be implemented, will be decided.

Ecotourism

It is a type of ‘nature-based’ tourism that is an important tool for environmental development by appreciating and adoring natural resources without causing them to be disturbed. It is a valuable mode of transportation since it is useful in informing citizens about the importance of environmental preservation. Ecotourism is a significant portion of tourism as it impacts and contributes for the welfare of the community. It emphasizes educating the people regarding the environment and also contributes to its conservation. The natural environment is the primarily area which is explored due to ecotourism. Ecotourism has helped in developing and creating new areas for tourism which was left unexplored and unreachable. Desert regions and coastal areas that are marginal and underdeveloped are only a handful of the emerging tourist areas that have emerged as a result of ecotourism. For the reason of travel, eco-tourism visits places rich in heritage and encompasses the protected environment. National parks and castles are examples of such places (Wood, 2002; The International Ecotourism Society, 2000).

Role and Potential of Ecotourism in the UK

One of the most significant problems with ecotourism is that it has no guidelines or limits about who may use the term to encourage tourism. It is often misused for the promotion of the tourist sector, and it is used for the purpose of advertisement without ever visiting the natural areas (Wood, 2002).

Ecotourism Not Promoted As a Major Sector in the UK Tourism Market

The main issue with ecotourism in the United Kingdom is the shortage of destinations that are yet to be visited by the tourism industry. Furthermore, the United Kingdom has less natural habitats, such as trees and deserts, that can be discovered and clarified by tourism. Furthermore, the United Kingdom is unlikely to meet the orthodox expectations of small-scale tourism. The role of eco-tourism in the United Kingdom is being impacted by the country’s growing population, as the amount of natural areas decreases as the population grows. According to estimates, the population of the United Kingdom is expected to double by almost 4.3 million by 2018, posing a threat to ecotourism (Office for National Statistics, 2013).

Another important determinant is that a country’s demography has an effect on ecotourism to some degree. Young adults, middle-aged people, and senior citizens make up the majority of ecotourism visitors. The people belonging to these age vicinity usually prefer to go for tourism which is exotic in nature and desire to disburse money on the tourism packages which would entertain them by making them visit wildlife which is not really found in the UK. This has not enabled the UK to promote ecotourism as a major sector of tourism. Additionally, it is not promoted as a major form of tourism as it is more into educating people regarding the areas. Only people with high education and children prefer this form of tourism where they can learn about the different locations while enjoying them. Moreover, the ecotourism based trips’ duration is often 8-15 days which is a long period for any individual to spend and it is not quite cost effective for people as well. Only the people who prefer expedition and love wildlife would favour ecotourism and hence it cannot be promoted as a major sector of tourism in the UK. The amount of money spend can also be a factor that has affected ecotourism in the UK (The International Ecotourism Society, 2000; Tourism Queensland, n.d.).

Role and Potential of Ecotourism in the UK

Ecotourism is gaining importance in recent years in the UK by taking into account the good practices of ecotourism for its long-term sustainability. Ecotourism has a potential to attract “good money” as it has the opportunity to expand travelling to Islands which are filled with beaches free from the crowd. This would enable the UK to make a sustainable profit through ecotourism and improve the ‘health and wealth’ of the country along with the tourism sector. Besides, eco-tourism has a potential to grow in the UK as this category of tourism would follow the conservation ethics while traveling and educating people. Consequently, as a major role played by ecotourism, it can be determined that the people of the island and other areas will be able to earn their livelihood (Cousins, 2006; Mair, 2006). 

The United Kingdom can develop as a potential market for ecotourism because of the changing lifestyle of the people. To feel motivated and to enjoy their leisure time people now are increasingly focusing on ecotourism as it enables to spread tourism with cleanliness and ethics. In the recent years, people now prefer to spend more money on ethical holiday and thus with the changing lifestyle of people, eco-tourism is gaining importance (Lindsay, 2003).

Examples of the Areas That Can Facilitate To Augment the Potential of Ecotourism in the UK

The potential market in the UK can increase for ecotourism with the development of the areas such as the Brecon Beacons, Northumberland and Snowdonia National Park. People who love wildlife would also prefer this form of tourism as it moves around areas such as Paradise Wildlife Park which is located in Broxbourne. It is a well-known zoo which is enjoyed by elderly persons and children. In these areas, the people will be provided with knowledge regarding the breeding programs of the various species. All these areas are becoming amid the most important attractions for the people in the UK and other travellers. Ecotourism has also helped in enhancing the efforts of the people to maintain these areas. In this context Reynolds and Braithwaite have enacted a framework that illustrates the prevailing association between ecotourism and wildlife. Among the categories highlighted by Reynolds and Braithwaite, nature-based tourism would the most beneficial aspect that can enable to enhance ecotourism by a considerable extent (Fennell, 2007). Thus, in order to uphold the expectations of ecotourism, the parks are required to become more green and sustainable as the people are becoming aware and conscious about the environment. Paradise Park in the UK has become one of the major attractions for the people due to its fresh environment and the cleanliness which can aid ecotourism. Therefore, it can be stated that these areas are coming into focus due to ecotourism and they are providing earnings for  people in the local areas and thus helping the economy as well (The International Ecotourism Society, 2012; National Park, 2013).

Forms of Ecotourism

Ecotourism has a positive impact on the environment and helps in maintaining the beauty of the nature. The purpose of ecotourism is to help in reducing the exploitation of the natural environment. It intends to develop the areas and improve the infrastructure of these areas to facilitate the local habitants. There are various forms of tourism which promote international and domestic tourism. It can be stated that one of the major forms of ecotourism is “green tourism” which takes into account the environment while traveling. The type of tourism provides services such as awareness programs while visiting locations and also develops green networks. Due to all these facilities provided by green tourism as a part of ecotourism, it can be promoted by the UK government to ensure safety of the environment. Green tourism would enable to promote the nature and the culture of the country. It would help in reducing the carbon footprints and believes in the concept of ‘Go Green’. If this is promoted in the UK, it would enable to reduce the pollution and enhance the experience of the people while travelling as they would be able to enjoy the nature to the fullest. It would also help to bring the people close to the nature without damaging the environment. It takes steps in protecting the wildlife, plants and other natural resources. All these steps might motivate people and make them cherish the craft of the local people of these areas (The Green Tourism, 2013).

Preservation of the culture is a crucial constituent of green tourism as it facilitates in providing the experience of the heritage sites which promotes the cultural values of the UK. Eco-tourism promotes tourists to enjoy the nature, love it and assists them in exhibiting commitment towards environmental protection. Moreover, it allows people to enjoy the cultural value of the country along with the scenic beauty. If eco-tourism is promoted more aggressively in the UK, it will be able to provide all the benefits of green tourism and make the experience an unforgettable one for the tourists who have come to visit the natural areas of the UK (Font & Wood, 2007).

Conclusion

Ecotourism is an adventurous form of tourism which helps in promoting the cultural heritage of the UK by visiting its natural resources such as national park and islands. It has the features of sustainability as it attracts people to visit the natural areas while educating them regarding the importance of the areas. Ecotourism has not been able to be the major part of the tourism sector in the UK because of certain limitations. However, with the modernised form of the ecotourism, it is gaining importance in the United Kingdom. Ecotourism is not being promoted in the UK because of a lack of the existing areas. Nonetheless, the trend is changing in the UK and the people are becoming more interested in this form of tourism to enjoy the environment and the aura associated with it. 

References
  • Cousins, J.A., 2006. The Role of UK-Based Conservation Tourism Operators. Tourism Management, Vol. 28, pp.1020–1030.
  • Font, X., & Wood M.E., 2007. Sustainable Tourism Certification Marketing and its Contribution to SME Market Access. CAB International, pp. 147-163.
  • Fennell, D., 2007. Ecotourism. Routledge.
  • Lindsay, H.E., 2003.   Ecotourism: the Promise and Perils of Environmentally-Oriented Travel. Review Article. [Online] Available at: http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/ecotour/overview.php [Accessed December 19, 2013].
  • Mair, J., 2006. Eco-tourism: A Sustainable Trade? BBC. [Online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6179901.stm [Accessed December 19, 2013].
  • National Park, 2013. National Park Facts And Figures. Physical Facts And Figures. [Online] Available at: http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/learningabout/whatisanationalpark/factsandfigures  [Accessed December 19, 2013].
  • Office For National Statistics, 2013. Statistical Bulletin: National Population Projections, 2012-Based Statistical Bulletin. Population Projection. [Online] Available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/npp/national-population-projections/2012-based projections/stb-2012-based-npp-principal-and-key-variants.html?format=print [Accessed December 19, 2013].
  • The International Ecotourism Society, 2000. Ecotourism Statistical Fact Sheet. General Tourism Statistics, pp. 1-5.
  • The Green Tourism, 2013. Green Tourism. Services. [Online] Available at: http://www.green-tourism.com/business/services/destinations/ [Accessed December 19, 2013].
  • Tourism Queensland, No Date. The UK Ecotourism Market. Eco tourist Definition, pp. 1-6.
  • The International Ecotourism Society, 2012. Eco Destinations – UK. United Kingdom. [Online] Available at: http://www.ecotourism.org/united-kingdom [Accessed December 19, 2013].
  • Wood, M. E., 2002. Ecotourism: Principles, Practices & Policies for Sustainability.  Ecotourism, pp. 5-59.

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