Ecotourism & Ecolodges

Ecotourism is considered to be a growing market within tourism as economy sector. According to data of World Tourism Organization, ecotourism deserves special attention since its growth rate amounts 5% per year, what represents 6% of the world gross product as well as 11.4% of consumption.

                  Many experts were invited to explain and justify necessity of establishing an ecotourism development policy. They primarily come from the domain of geographic information system (GIS), nature protection, oceanography, protected area management, landscape architecture, ecology, history, archaeology etc. Ecotourism is often interpreted as a subcategory of sustainable tourism or a segment of a larger tourism market directed towards natural destinations. It includes interpretation/studying, small-scale business, emphasizes local ownership, refers especially to rural population.

               The term ecotourism has been formulated by Héctor Ceballos-Lascurain, Mexican architect, ecologist and international consultant for ecotourism. Currently, he works as a General Director of the Program of International Consultancy on Ecotourism (PICE) with seat in Mexico City. He also works as an advisor for ecotourism in IUCN (The World Conservation Union), as well as in ecotourism society and World Tourism Organization. His definition of ecotourism has been officially adopted by IUCN at the I World Congress held in Montreal in 1996 (Resolution CGS 1.67 “Ecotourism and Protected Area Conservation“):

ECOTOURISM is environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local people.

           Ecotourism is quickly becoming the most popular type of vacation within the world.

While tourism directed towards destinations in the nature actually represents a simple travel to the areas with beautiful nature, ecotourism provides benefits for local population in ecologic, cultural and economic sense. For example, a tourist visiting nature can do bird watching. However, an ecotourist does the bird watching accompanied by a local guide, stays in local accommodation capacities (ECO Lodge) and contributes to local economy.

 

ECO Lodge:

This type of accommodation has appeared during last several years. The very term ECO Lodge was used officially on the First international Forum on Eco Lodge, held on Virgin Islands, in 1994. The first book including definition of this type of accommodation and treats this topic is International Guide of ECO Lodge (Mehta at al) as a result of International conference held in Costa Rica in 1995.

ECO Lodge” is a type of tourist accommodation fulfilling the following criteria:

• Protects natural and cultural components of its surrounding

• Has low impact on environment during construction

• Is in harmony with a specific environment context

• Uses alternative, sustainable means in water consumption

• Careful treats waste and wastewaters

• Has an excellent cooperation with local population

• Implements programs of ecologic education for both employees and tourist

• Benefits sustainable development of a local community through research programs

ECO Lodge is an accommodation object with low impact on environment, designed and constructed to be ecologically and socially acceptable. The objects are constructed with numerous ecologically acceptable options like: water heating using a solar energy, systems for rainwater collection, composting toilets and renewable energy sources like wind power.

        ECO Lodges are of particular interest to the sustainable development community, because they are small, medium and micro-enterprises that can generate a variety of positive economic development impacts in highly rural, biodiverse areas, where other types of development underway or under consideration are frequently damaging to the environment.


Source: the centre