代写Ecotourism and Volunteering
代写Ecotourism and Volunteering
Tourism, Good Intentions, and the Road to Hell:
Ecotourism and Volunteering
Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
“Every individual tourist builds up or destroys human values while travelling” (Krippendorf, 1987, p. 109). The choices we make about travel and the way we interact with local people and other travellers, make our travel experience what it is. Ecotourism and volunteer-tourism have a strong, positive image, but we need to take responsibility for the positive and negative impacts of our travel choices, rather than just accept the claims made by travel companies.
“Responsible tourism” is about taking responsibility for our travel experience to make places better for people to live in and visit. The traveller’s desire to have a meaningful encounter with another culture, through volunteering or ecotourism, is a good one, but tourists need to be warned against purchasing experiences that may do more harm than good. “As the proverb says, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions” and unintended consequences are a major problem with ecotourism.
i) History: Ecotourism (also called sustainable tourism and responsible tourism) is an attractive idea. Jost Krippendorf, one of the founders, saw the damage caused to his native country, Switzerland, by the post-war tourist boom. He wanted to develop better tourism for locals and visitors alike, with “the satisfaction of social needs: contact with other people and self-realization through creative activities, knowledge and exploration” (Krippendorf, 1987, p. 74). Krippendorf predicted that tourists would increasingly demand more satisfying and fulfilling travel experiences. Professor David Fennell suggests that the concept of “ecotourism” evolved through operators responding to demands for nature tourism, by emphasizing different elements of the product, activity or experience (Fennell, 1999, p. 32). However, whereas “nature tourism” consists of any tour where the enjoyment of nature is central – “ecotourism” is presented as something superior.
The idea of eco-tourism was simple: low-impact nature tourism would contribute to the costs of conserving habitats and species and provide revenue to local communities, thus encouraging them to “value and protect their wildlife heritage areas as a source of income” (Goodwin, 1996, pp. 277-91). The current definition of “ecotourism”, promoted by the International Ecotourism Society, reads “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”.
However, the ecotourism ideal of, “Leave only footprints, take only photographs” has actually given tourists permission to exploit. It costs local communities money to maintain protected areas and sustain habitats and wildlife for tourists to visit. Nature tourism of any kind, assumes it is possible to
visit areas of natural beauty for free, which in turn suggests there is no reason to give money towards maintenance or compensation to local people for taking away the natural resources they depend on for hunting, building materials or saleable raw materials like timber or honey. The International Ecotourism Society’s definition makes no mention of a financial contribution to the cost of maintaining habitats and species, and eco-tourists rarely contribute more than regular tourists visiting the area. To be distinctive, and to fulfil its promise, ecotourism needs to take responsibility for communities, for example by making a significant contribution to livelihoods, sufficient to deter poaching. It needs to fund conservation efforts and increase political support to conserve habitats and wildlife.
iv) An example of negative impacts:
The Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador, provide a perfect example. Visitor numbers increased from 40,000 in 1990 to 204,000 by 2013. These huge numbers of nature tourists, including eco-tourists, have created economic opportunities which attract both legal and illegal practices. Many people now seek development on the islands, which threatens the national park. Already the resident population on four islands, together with tourist accommodation has had significant negative impacts on the environment. Sand, rock and timber are extracted for the construction of accommodation, infrastructure and roads; while waste management, sewage, water and electricity generation all impact the conservation of the island habitats and species. Moreover, transportation of people and goods to the islands carries a serious threat of importing invasive and destructive species (Benitez-Capistros, Hugé & Koedam, 2014). Between 2007-2010, the Galapagos Islands were on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites and the World Heritage Committee remains concerned about bio-security, the accidental introduction of species and “the continued lack of effective response to rapid and uncontrolled tourism-related development”(UNESCO, 2010).
v) Changing Expectations:
Ecotourism has failed to fulfil its promise to benefit habitats, wildlife and communities and deal with the human/wildlife conflict. Travellers expect providers to ensure their trip is “sustainable” without a high price tag. To be genuinely “responsible,” tourists must expect sustainability to be part of the product and be prepared to pay for it.
Voluntourism (volunteer tourism):
Volunteer experiences have become increasingly popular since the mid-1980s. Governments see public benefit in enabling young people to volunteer in developing countries, and thus support groups like the Peace Corps and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). Hands Up Holidays is a UK tour operator, which describes the “voluntourism” they offer as a “combination of volunteering and
sightseeing, enabling travellers to not only visit the scenic highlights of a destination, but also to engage in a meaningful way with the people and/or environment, by giving back”. Volunteers are recruited to give out bread or medicines or to clean beaches, as well as share in a structured development programme with transparent monitoring of impacts.
Volunteerism has both good and bad practices, but the motivation of the volunteers is highly significant. Some only want to build their resumé or encourage their relatives to fund a trek to the rainforest, while a small proportion with successful careers and many skills, genuinely want to “give something back”. The language which organizations use to market their tours also varies. This is a marketplace where buyers must be wary, where the road to hell is paved with gold, as for some companies the key point is making money. Moreover, the industry knows little about its customers and there is always a risk they will engage in irresponsible or even illegal behaviour e.g. child abuse, as there are no background checks.
iii) An example of poor practice: Returned volunteers are often reluctant to complain. Rachel, a young, British charity-worker in Nepal, wrote in her blog, “I do believe that Nepali volunteers (we were all placed with a Nepali counterpart) could have done the job a lot better alone. They understood their country, its needs and its language in a way we never could. We were in an area where nobody needed us, and where we could make little or no difference.” If local workers lose jobs to create opportunities for volunteers, the negative impacts are obvious. Volunteers should never replace local workers as it denies them and their families an income. However, Rachel is unwilling to criticize the charity she worked for as “they work for an excellent cause”. If more returned volunteers shared their negative experiences publicly, there would be less bad practice.
Individuals planning to volunteer abroad should consider whether they could volunteer in the same way at home. If they travel, they should assess training and supervision provided to protect the vulnerable. Volunteers need to take responsibility and consider all the potential consequences, for example children are particularly at risk. When a child forms an emotional attachment to a volunteer, they will suffer a sense of rejection when the volunteer leaves. Volunteers must therefore be responsible for this type of unplanned consequence.
Ecotourism and voluntourism are small segments of the tourism sector, which claim to offer superior experiences when visiting other cultures. Consumers and providers should be responsible for both intended and unintended consequences of their actions. The impulse to travel as an ecologically-friendly tourist or to volunteer to make a difference are both noble motives, but travellers must demand transparency, ask challenging questions of suppliers and speak out if the experience has negative consequences, just as they would for any other form or travel and tourism.
Benitez-Capistros, C., Hugé, J.,& Koedam, N. (2014). Environmental impacts on the Galapagos islands: Identification of interactions, perceptions and steps ahead. Ecological Indicators, 38, 113-23.
Fennell, D. A. (1999). Ecotourism: An introduction. London, UK: Routledge
Krippendorf, J. (1987). The holiday makers: Understanding the impact of travel and leisure. London, UK: Heinemann
The International Ecotourism Society. (n.d.) What is ecotourism? Retrieved from https://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism
UNESCO. (2010, September). Report of the decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session. Report of the 34th World Heritage Committee conference proceedings, Paris. Retrieved from http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/34COM
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN ADAPTED FROM THE ORIGINAL FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
Abuse (n/v) – treat with cruelty or violence
Bio-security (n) – safety of biological species – plants and animals
Compensation (n) – money given to someone to make them feel better about losing something
Consequences (n) - results
Conserve (v) – look after, keep the same
Distinctive (adj) – a characteristic which makes a person or product different to others
Evolve (v) – develop gradually
Exploit (v) – make use of something in a negative way
Habitat (n) – the natural home or environment of an animal or plant
Infrastructure (n) – structures and facilities needed by a society
Invasive (adj) – a non-native species which spreads rapidly and kills the native species.
Monitor (v) – check regularly
Noble (adj) – great or worthy
Poach (v) – to kill animals illegally
Proverb (n) – a short saying, widely used, to express an obvious truth
Rejection (n) – turning your back on someone’s love or affection
Reluctant (adj) – unwilling to do something
Revenue (n) – income, money coming in
Resumé (n) – a record of work or experience used for job-hunting
Self-realization (n) – fulfilling your abilities or potential
Species (n) – a group of very similar plants or animals
Superior (adj) - better
代写Ecotourism and Volunteering