Whitney Michael

Document Type



The increasing visibility of ecological alterations due to global climate change have required high-impact industries to reexamine their environmental impact. Transnational organizations such as the United Nations have identified the current management practices of the international tourism industry as a significant contributing factor to global warming. The high volume implications of the large-scale establishments necessary to lodging facilities in the tourism trade are responsible for damages such as resource depletion and pollution. Existing levels of environmental impact show irreparable and imminent damage to the world environment if current methods of the industry are allowed to continue.

New trends in consumer purchasing habits have allowed a segment of the tourism industry to emerge called ecotourism: a sector believed to be significantly less harmful and predominantly helpful in reversing adverse impacts. This paper will examine the specific benefits of ecotourism, including decreased carbon footprints, locally sustainable business models, widespread public education regarding fragile ecosystems, and increased levels of strategic financial stability. Each of these topics illustrate how ecotourism properties exhibit a drive for obtainable levels of environmental protection that is severely lacking within their traditional counterparts.

These benefits are subsequently weighed against the corresponding negative impacts ecotourism locations can create. Aspects such as true environment impact, unsustainable sites, species and environment alteration, and financial impracticability will be examined. The ability of ecotourism to overcome such downfalls and rise above traditional tourism practices is particularly emphasized throughout the argument. Due to advancements in modern management practices and increased emphasis on social responsibility, this paper seeks to show that ecotourism is a positive and viable solution to the environmental degradation caused by the international tourism industry.



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