Friday, 7 February 2014

Locally Responsive EcoTourism

Many people are in two minds about ecotourism. Tourists visiting developing areas bring wealth that is valuable for developing social infrastructure such as clinics and schools. Visitors also help create and maintain small businesses such as guest houses and restaurants.

On the other hand, there are the obvious carbon emission impacts of international and local travel. There are also a wide range of negative impacts that come with uncontrolled development including damage to the pristine environments which may be the main attraction for visitors in the first place.


hammock banana island sierra leone dublin


An interesting take on ecotourism has been the ecosalone approach developed in Sierra Leone. This describes the attractions of potential ecotourism areas and presents local development needs, as articulated by the local communities, such as the need for a ferry or a school. The site also proposes innovative 'locally friendly' attractions that may be supported such as:

  • Story telling festivals
  • Language and cultural lessons
  • Tour guide schools
  • Agricultural work tourism
  • Home stay programmes
  • Build observation areas
  • Cultural dance lessons

While the approach does not address the obvious negative carbon impacts of travel, it provides and interesting alternative to conventional tourism development. This is done by attempting to shape development to suit local needs and be 'locally-friendly' instead of catering for conventional international tourism standards and attractions.



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