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- ?Lv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
For many countries, ecotourism is not so much seen as a marginal activity intended to finance protection of the environment than as a major sector of national economy and as a means of attracting tourists. For example, in countries such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nepal, Kenya, Madagascar and Antarctica, ecotourism represents a significant portion of the gross domestic product (or in Antarctica's case, economic activity).
The concept of ecotourism is widely misunderstood and, in practice, is often simply used as a marketing tool to promote tourism that is related to nature. Critics claim that ecotourism as practiced and abused often consists of placing a hotel in a splendid landscape, to the detriment of the ecosystem. According to them, ecotourism must above all sensitize people with the beauty and the fragility of nature. They condemn some operators as "green-washing" their operations — that is, using the label of "ecotourism" and "green-friendly", while behaving in environmentally irresponsible ways.
Although academics argue about who can be classified as an ecotourist, and there is precious little statistical data, some estimate that more than five million ecotourists — the majority of the worldwide population — come from the United States, with other ecotourists coming from Europe, Canada and Australia.
Gnus and zebras in the Maasai Mara park reserve in Kenya.Currently there are various moves to create national and international ecotourism certification programs, although the process is causing controversy. One example of ecotourism certificates has been put into place at Costa Rica, though the program has been dismissed as green-washing by others.
Another problem is that some of the destinations visited by ecotourists are extremely sensitive to environmental impact from human use (e.g., Antarctica, Amazonian rainforest, bird breeding colonies) and can be damaged even by careful travellers.
One criticism against ecotourism is that the air travel required for many tourist destinations is not included in the "environmental impact calculation". A journey to a place 10,000 kilometers away from home consumes about 700 litres of fuel per person. This issue was discussed in detail during the Environmental Impact of Transportation E-Conference . However there are now hundreds of websites that enable travellers to offset their carbon emissions.