Status and Trend of Ecotourism

Ecotourism evolves simultaneously with tourism. The trend of tourism in general from 1841 to 1950 was making gradual increments. Later on, massive growth in tourism was observed onwards. Since then to till now, tourism is one of the largest industries globally contributing 10% of global GDP. Tourism has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the last 50 years with an average 4.5% growth rate. However, it's hard to figure out the actual number of tourists involve in ecotourism. This is because up to now no country can provide data related to the number of tourists engaged in ecotourism activities. It is relatively difficult to generate such data as even activities of tourists reflect ecotourism but objectively they may not do as whole ecotourism. 

Directly or indirectly local communities involved in ecotourism. But, there is no such finding that reflects the number of people participating in ecotourism. Sometimes, in some pristine areas, local communities remain unknown about tourism. The outsider makes a trip on their own arrangement. The international trend now increasing in the calm area, instead of visiting large urban.

Trend of Tourism

In 2000 AD tourism grew by an increase of 45 million arrivals, a rare event in tourism. In 2001 AD international arrivals decreased by 0.6% due to 7/11 incidents in the USA. There were 1.23 billion international arrivals in 2017 where 23.8 million people have employed 10% of the global economy with 53500 billion dollars (UNWTO). Peace & Security is one of the major threats for international arrivals: Gulf war, Bali attack, Middle East conflict, disaster in Japan. The trend of tourism diverts from the sophisticated life of Europe to virgin and wilderness to the Asia Pacific, about 22% for wildlife safari and rafting.

International workshops, seminars, meetings, conferences & campaign focusing Ecotourism:
- International year of ecotourism 2002
- Mt. Everest summiteers gathering 2003
- International year of climate change & tourism 2003

Increasing trend of visitors: Saudi Arab (+60%) Bhutan (39%), Sri Lanka(+31%), Myanmar (+26%). Peace, stability, help to increase tourist flow. The political settlement increases tourist visits while Myanmar Royinga Crisis again causes a decrease. The decreasing trend of tourism: Syria(-41%), Egypt (-32%), Japan (-28%) overall decrease in 15% of the survey of over 100 countries. International tourist arrivals in 2012 based on UNWTO data, Europe- 51%, Asia Pacific- 22%, America 16%, Middle East – 6%, and Africa 5%.

Ecotourism trend in Nepal

In Nepal, modern tourism started since, 1950 when the successful climb of Mt. Annapurna on 3rd June 1950 and later Mt. Everest on 31st May 1953 respectively. Till 1970 Nepalese tourism based on Mountaineering & Trekking & since the 70s commercial activities. The effect of mass tourism was sensed in Nepal since the 70s accordingly tourism market extended to Pokhara and Chitwan since the 1980s. Tourism is a democracy or open market-friendly business hence the restoration of democracy in 1990 geared up the tourism industry and the number of arrivals in Nepal. Visit Nepal 1998, is the best year, the number of visitors increased continually till 2000 and reached over 5 hundred thousand but ups & down due to pollical unrest, insurgency, earthquake, indian blockage, and the reviving phase at present context but unfortunately Coronavirus pandemic takes to the ground level.
Status and Trend of Ecotourism: Fewa Lake Pokhara
Mt. Fishtail reflecting on Fewa Lake

Since 1950 from Mountaineering of the Mt. Annapurna by Maurice Herzog and team Nepal opens for tourism and notably tourism starts with ecotourism. Although the number is not significant compare to other touristic destinations, 942,000 visitors visit in 2017, increased by 32% compared to last year, recovering from the massive earthquake of 2015. Among them 707,000 by air (75%) & 235,000 by land (25%), their objective of visits was 15% for trekking, 17% pilgrimage & 38% pleasure. The length of stay 12.6 days. (due to mountaineering) general visitors stay 2/3 days that is quite low. GDP contribution from tourism 4.3% of the total. Benefitting by 8.2% of the total employment in the country. In the figure, 150,000 direct employment opportunities while 5 lakhs obtain indirect benefits.

Event, festivals, and celebrations are the means for the positive movement of tourism in any country accordingly Nepal had practiced the following:
  • Visit Nepal Year 1998
  • Destination Nepal – 2002
  • Visit Pokhara Year 2007
  • Nepal Tourism Year 2011
  • Visit Lumbini Year 2012
  • Tourism Revive Campaign 2015
  • Visit Nepal 2020 (canceled due to CoVID 19 pandemic)

A tourism product is composite in nature and included everything nature, culture, adventure. The development process of tourism products;
  1. Exploration: To search the place of attractions like Springs, Lakes, Caves, Wild lives, Temples, Monasteries, Monuments, Traditional ornaments, Musical instrument, Folk Songs & Dance, etc. and the adventure activities like Trekking, Hiking, Rafting, Air sports, Jungle Safari, etc.
  2. Development/Production: To Construct & maintenance as per its traditional or original & cultural values for beautification.
  3. Promotion: As per the interest group in the domestic & international market with media & web page.
  4. Conservation: Benefit-sharing with community & activate them to preserve the product by the formation of the committee.

Four Stages of Tourism Destination Development

A knowledge of these stages of tourism destination will make the planner avoid problems related to mass development and ensure the continued success of a tourist destination. The curve of Hypothetical Evolution Process of a tourist Area clearly shows visitors' flows. Visitor arrival increases along time gradually in beginning, rapidly for a certain time for a while, and remains steady then starts to decline in the timeline of stages of tourism destination development. The Tourism Development Stages are:
  1. Inception:- Discovery, exploring phase
  2. Growth:- Local response and initiative: During this period more tourists are invited, spreading its existence & advertisement. Marketing and promoting the destination during this phase.
  3. Maturity:- Institutionalization: Property of the community but private run business and benefit alone. Proper management and sustainable use of resources should be done during this phase.
  4. Decline:-  Saturation and alienation: However, how much it's popular its decline, needs to rejuvenate. New program should launch to revive the tourism destination. The better effort required to rejuvenate tourism activities. 

The phase of Tourism, Butler’s Tourist Area Life Cycle (TALC) Model

Exploration: Small tourist number following irregular tourist patterns, No specific facilities provided for tourists
Involvement: Increase in tourist numbers, high levels of visitors- local contact, some tourist facilities beginning to be provided.
Development: Tourism market defined, Marketed as tourist destination.
Consolidation: Rate of increase in visitor numbers will decline, Tourism a major part of the economy, efforts are made to extend tourist season and market area.
Stagnation: Peak of visitor numbers reached, Capacity levels reached; social, environmental and social problems., No longer a fashionable destination so required to rejuvenate.
Decline: Area unable to compete with newer attractions, No longer appealing for holiday goers
Rejuvenation: May occur if there is a complete change in attraction. 

Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism is regarded as behavior. It is more than a form of tourism as it represents an approach to engaging with tourism, be that as a tourist, a business, locals at a destination, or  any other tourism stakeholder. It emphasizes that all stakeholders are responsible for the kind of tourism they develop or engage in. Whilst different groups will see responsibility in different ways, the shared understanding is that responsible tourism should entail an improvement in tourism. Tourism should become ‘better’ to both the visitors and the host community.

Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism 2002 emphasized to minimize negative economic, environmental, and social impacts. It should generate greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities,  improves working conditions and access to the industry, and makes positive contribution to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage. It also needs to provide more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues. tourism should involve the local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances. It also mentions accessing for people with disabilities. Tourists should be aware of whether the tourism destination is culturally sensitive? engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and stop bully local pride and confidences.

Responsible Hospitality
As per the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism, responsible hospitality is culturally sensitive. Instead of them calling for the unachievable, responsible hospitality simply makes the case for more responsible forms of hospitality, hospitality that benefits locals first, and visitors second. Certainly, all forms of hospitality can be improved and managed so that negative impacts are minimized.

The Quebec Summit Declaration 2002

It recognizes that ecotourism embraces contributes actively to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage. Includes local and indigenous communities in its planning, development, and operation, and contributing to their well-being. Interprets the natural and cultural heritage of the destination to visitors and lends itself better to independent travelers as well as to organized tours for small-size groups. 
Acknowledge that tourism has significant and complex social, economic and environmental implications, benefits local and environment. It considers the growing interest of people. It recognizes that ecotourism has provided a leadership role and emphasizes that ecotourism should continue to contribute to make the overall tourism industry more sustainable.

In Guiding Principles of Sustainable Tourism Development -2003, WTO declared 4 pillars/principles of Ecotourism, they are Economical sustainability, Ecological Sustainability, Cultural Sustainability, and Local sustainability.

Oslo Statement on Ecotourism

The Global Ecotourism Society 2007 declared the Oslo Statement on Ecotourism which includes the status/trends since the United Nations declared the International Year of Ecotourism (IYE) in 2002. The main sections it includes are ecotourism current status and challenges based on the time period between 2002- 2007, including new opportunities and challenges, appear during the interval. GEC07 recommendation based on results. It recognizes the valuable role that ecotourism plays in local sustainable development.
Status and Trend of Ecotourism: GEC07
Global Ecotourism Conference 2007

Ecotourism, often occurring in regional, rural, and remote levels of poverty are frequently high local income, attention must be given on economically sustainable, Local, and Indigenous communities involved in planning and benefits of ecotourism. It suggests maximizing the potential of well-managed ecotourism as a key economic force for the conservation of tangible and intangible natural and cultural heritage.
Ecotourism depends on fine landscapes, abundant wildlife, and richly diverse culture. Ecotourism development and the revenues it can bring should be seen. It supports the viability and performing of ecotourism enterprises and activities through effective marketing, education, and training. Managed well, standardized, education, skill to people, micro-level, overactive level planning, business, Soft loan to develop tourism. It also, address some of the critical issues facing ecotourism in strengthening ints sustainability. Skilled training, new opportunities.