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GBO Resource book on eco-tourism

— type: Manuals

Development of the tourism industry is of great value to national economic growth, cultural exchange and the public’s physical and mental well-being. However to our disappointment, as the tourism industry kept developing in China, its development and operations have led to increasingly greater environmental pollution, ecological damage and conflicts with the local people.

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The environmental, social and cultural influence brought about by tourism is directly related to the normal order of social life in tourist destinations, and the healthy and sustained development of the tourism industry as well.
Hence we need a more sustainable pattern of tourism development and operation. Ecotourism, as a form of environment-friendly tourism which respects community interests, must have positive effects on the maintenance of the traditional culture, the favorable development of local communities and the protection of local eco-environment while bringing economic benefits.
As a branch of the service industry, ecotourism needs to take into consideration market demands and customer sentiments. An entrepreneur, as the one managing the overall development of an enterprise, is expected to think carefully what he really wants to do, what he actually can do, what his interests really are and what the life he wants is like while considering the market. With these considerations and coupled with market demands and opportunities, he may start his undertaking of long-term development. Besides, what is being run is not only an undertaking, but also a life.
As for its contents, one thing must be pointed out here: the definition of “ecotourism” in this handbook is different from that made by the present day academia. Many researchers hold that, “the existence of ecotourism products relies on the natural and cultural landscape resources, and is the result of developing and utilizing the natural and cultural landscape resources, so they do
not include tourist facilities and other tourism resources and products”. Though the definition is precise, for an entrepreneur, he needs great investment, experience and social resources to develop a whole ecotourism product, which is especially true for developing an ecotourism attraction. This, as the starting point of entrepreneurship, clearly does not apply to most people. Therefore we think
ecotourism ventures may be large or small in scale, large scale such as the overall planning and development of a scenic area or a village, or small scale such as the operation of an eco-inn or an ecotour route. It is believed that, following the concept of protecting the environment while respecting local people and community interests, to run tourism products with a sense of responsibility in an area with good natural ecology is worth trying.


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    Fast facts


    Status: Roll up

    Project period: Tested, Regular offering (training package available)

    Donor: Regional and CO-Beijing

    Country: China

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