1.     
INTRODUCTION

1.1  Definition:

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Nature based, Ecologically sustainable, Where
education and interpretation is a major constituent and Where local people are
benefited

The
Nature Conservancy adopts the definition articulated by the World Conservation
Union (IUCN):

“Environmentally
responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature
(and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote
conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active
socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”

Most
tourism in natural areas today is not ecotourism and is not, therefore,
sustainable. Ecotourism is distinguished by its emphasis on conservation,
education, traveler responsibility and active community participation.
Specifically, ecotourism possesses the following characteristics:

o    Conscientious,
low-impact visitor behavior

o    Sensitivity
towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity

o    Support
for local conservation efforts

o    Sustainable
benefits to local communities

o    Local
participation in decision-making

o    Educational
components for both the traveler and local communities

Increased
tourism to sensitive natural areas without appropriate planning and management
can threaten the integrity of ecosystems and local cultures. The increase of
visitors to ecologically sensitive areas can lead to significant environmental
degradation. Likewise, local communities and indigenous cultures can be harmed
in numerous ways by an influx of foreign visitors and wealth. Additionally,
fluctuations in climate, currency exchange rates, and political and social
conditions can make over-dependence upon tourism a risky business.

However,
this same growth creates significant opportunities for both conservation and
local communities. Ecotourism can provide much-needed revenues for the
protection of national parks and other natural areas — revenues that might not
be available from other sources.

Additionally,
ecotourism can provide a viable economic development alternative for local
communities with few other income-generating options. Moreover, ecotourism can
increase the level of education and activism among travelers, making them more
enthusiastic and effective agents of conservation.

1.2  The concerns of
ecotourism

Since
ages, nature worship and the conservation ethics have been an inseparable part
of Indian thought and traditions. Traces go back to ancient civilizations of
India, when people used to nurture the philosophy of the oneness of life. The Indian
tradition has always taught that, humankind is a part of nature and one should
look upon all creation with the eyes of love and respect.

It
is tragic that since last few decades, the mad quest for the material end and
economical progress in India and abroad has become identical with the
exploitation of nature in all its appearances. Today, the entire world is
facing a deep crisis and is in the danger of being doomed. The rich forest
areas and biological diversities have been relentlessly divested to erect
concrete walls. The continuos denuding of forest reserves has led to Global
Warming and Greenhouse Effects. Fortunately, this has led to some realisation,
and now the world has awaken for new beginnings about human responsibility
towards nature. 

1.3  Advantages

·        
Benefits to Local Communities

Ecotourism enterprises are planned and managed at a local level.
Community members stay involved at all stages of the process, empowering them
while encouraging travelers to their areas. The projects create jobs locally,
reducing the need for young people to leave home to look for work in the
cities. Almost everyone in the village can become involved by working as
guides, selling crafts, providing food and accommodation, or taking part in
cultural performances. Ecotourism also brings a better standard of living
through improved facilities, such as clinics, drinkable water sources, new
roads and electricity. Small-scale ecotourism projects are relatively cheap to
set up, and schemes such as i to i Volunteering (i-to-i.com) provide volunteer workers who
help make projects viable by offering practical skills and expertise.
Ecotourism provides a longer-term solution to poverty than the “quick
fix” of a charitable handout.

·        
Environmental Conservation

Ecotourism helps create a better appreciation of the world’s natural
resources, such as landscapes, wildlife and coral reefs. This stimulates a
desire to protect the natural environment through the creation of national
parks, wildlife preserves and marine parks. Funding for conservation work is
generated by tourists through sources such as park entrance fees, camping fees,
local taxes and safari tours. Ecotourism can also assist in the battle to
protect the ecosystems of developing countries by providing alternative sources
of employment, which limits the damage caused by over-fishing and land
clearance for farming and logging.

·        
Cultural Preservation

Ecotourists have much greater interaction with native peoples than
traditional tourists who barely venture out of their westernized hotels. Home
stays and eco-lodges allow visitors to experience local lifestyles and customs
first-hand, and this interest helps to preserve the region’s heritage. Dying
crafts are revitalized, and traditional festivals, ceremonies and art forms —
including dance and music — are sustained.

·        
Human Rights

Ecotourism not only educates visitors about environmental
responsibility, it can also help raise awareness about political and social
issues in developing countries. Historically, mass tourism has helped to
support corrupt and undemocratic regimes, but with ecotourism, money goes
directly into local communities, rather than government coffers. Additionally,
as visitors witness the poverty and repression that many third-world countries
suffer, it creates a growing global pressure for Western governments to act on
human rights issues.

·        
Ecotourism Is Catching

The basic principles and good practices of ecotourism are slowly
beginning to spread. Even major international hotel chains, tour operators and
attraction providers are starting to adopt environmentally responsible
practices, such as recycling, use of renewable energy sources,
water-conservation schemes and safe waste disposal.

1.4  Disadvantages

·        
Compromising of land

Converting
undeveloped land into profitable space for tourism is one disadvantage.
National parks and wilderness areas may be compromised by an influx of
tourists.

·        
Residents may leave

Ecotourism
may displace some local residents. They either won’t be able to afford to stay,
or they may be forced by developers to leave.

·        
Cultural insensitivity

The
industry of ecotourism attracts upper-class, urban tourists who may not be
culturally sensitive and may alienate the local residents.

·        
Lack of income prospects

Ecotourism
jobs for local residents often don’t pay well. And profits may spill into other
nations’ pockets as wealthy investors gain from the success of an ecotourism
project.

·        
Instability

Ecotourism
is susceptible to catastrophic downfalls, such as those that could come from worldwide
economic instability. Tourism dollars that poor, foreign governments grow to
depend on could easily disappear.

1.5  Ecotourism in India

India, the land of
varied geography offers several tourist destinations that not just de-stress
but also rejuvenate you. There are several ways to enjoy Mother Nature in most
pristine way. The few places like the Himalayan Region, Kerala, the northeast
India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the Lakshdweep islands are some of the
places where you can enjoy the treasured wealth of the Mother Nature. Thenmala
in Kerala is the first planned ecotourism destination in India created to cater
to the Eco-tourists and nature lovers. The India topography boasts an
abundant source of flora & fauna. India has numerous rare and endangered
species in its surroundings. The declaration of several wildlife areas and
national parks has encouraged the growth of the wildlife resource, which
reduced due to the wildlife hunt by several kings in the past. Today, India has
many wildlife sanctuaries and protection laws. Currently, there are about 80
national parks and 441 sanctuaries in India, which works for the protection and
conservation of wilflife in India
There are numerous Botanical and Zoological Gardens in India, which are working
towards the enhancement of the Ecosystem. Poaching has stopped to large extent.
There are severe punishments for poachers, hunters and illegal traders of
animals and trees. Tree plantation are taking place in several places. There
are several animal & plant rights organisation, who fight for the rights of
the animals and plants. Numerous organisations and NGOs are coming forward to
provide environmental education to the common people at the grass root
level. 

 

2.     
OBJECTIVE
OF THE STUDY

a.      
To assess the level of
the term ecotourism

b.     
To assess the amount of
money a person is ready to pay for a eco tour

c.      
The destination preferred

3.     
REVIEW
OF LITERATURE

3.1  Dr. (Mrs). A. Bhavan
(2016) : Improving Sustainable Development of Ecotourism in India – a View

In this paper I
have discussed with the development of ecotourism in India, The tourism
industry is global. It is big business and will continue to grow. Meeting this
growth with well-planning all over the world. When we think of tourism, we
think primarily of people who are visiting a particular place for sightseeing,
visiting friends and relatives, taking a vacation, and having a good time. They
may spend their leisure time engaging in various sports, sunbathing, talking,
and singing, taking rides, touring, reading, or simply enjoying the
environment. In the global scenario, tourism is the world’s largest industry.
Ecotourism has received much attention in recent years, especially within the
developing world. It has been linked to sustainable development initiatives,
protected area, conservation efforts and regional and community development
strategies in many places. In today’s world eco-tourism is the only tool for
sustainable development. Ecotourism has lot of scope and at the same time there
are problems too.

3.2  : Jianxiong
Qin, Pei Zhang, Guiping Deng and Lu Chen (2014) : A Study on                Eco-Tourism and Sustainable
Development of Economic Underdevelopment Areas—An Example from Kanas Nature
Reserve, Xingjiang Province, Northwest China

Based on the
assessment of eco-tourism resource and its location advantage, the paper has
discussed the principle, projects, and facilities of eco-tourism, in the Kanas
Nature Reserve in Xinjiang as well as the direction of related industries. To
solve the problems occurred at present in the Kanas Nature Reserve, strategic
counter measures of sustainable development of eco-tourism have also been put
forward, including: 1) The establishment of eco-tourism planning legislative
system of eco-tourism; 2) The establishment of environmental protection planning
system of ecotourism; 3) The establishment of environmental audit system of
eco-tourism; 4) The establishment environmental legislation and law enforcement
system of eco-tourism; 5) The establishment ethic education and management
system of eco-tourism.

3.3  Frida Eriksson and
Matilda Lidström (2013): Sustainable development in

ecotourism

Sustainable
development is concerned with acknowledging economic, social and environmental
development aspects, catering for the current needs of society without damaging
the well-being of future generations. Ecotourism is a niche market that emerged
because of increased market demands for sustainable tourism practices. It
serves to provide tourism products and services while accommodating for the
economic, social and environmental aspects of society. However, earlier
research suggests that it is difficult to handle the three dimensions of
sustainable development, indicating that trade-offs may occur. Furthermore, as
tour operators are able to affect local development prospects, it is of
interest to examine how they handle sustainable development, and more
specifically, contribute to trade-offs between the economic, social and
environmental pillars of sustainable development. This thesis was aimed at
answering the following research question; “How do ecotourism tour operators
contribute to trade-offs between the economic, social and environmental
dimensions of sustainable development?”, with the objective of examining how
ecotourism tour operators handle the dimensions of sustainable development, and
what trade-offs that may occur between economic, social and environmental
concerns. This qualitative research was carried out in the context of
ecotourism tour operators in Costa Rica through semi-structured interviews.
Nine respondents participated in this research, representing seven local
ecotourism tour operators. The data collected on the trade-offs of ecotourism
and sustainable development has in turn been analysed with reference to a
pre-established theoretical framework. This study has revealed that ecotourism
tour operators are actively engaging in initiatives supporting the idea of
sustainable development. The tour operators handle the economic, social and
environmental concerns through different initiatives. One conclusion that can
be derived from this research is that all pillars of sustainable development
are important to acknowledge. However, this is difficult as the three
dimensions are somewhat contradicting. Therefore, depending on how ecotourism
tour operators prioritise different initiatives, trade-offs are inevitable as
both inter- and intragenerational needs are difficult to align.

3.4  Jim Butcher (2011):
Natural Capital and the Advocacy of Ecotourism as Sustainable Development

This paper critically
considers the role of the concept of natural capital (a term originating in the
field of ecological economics) in the advocacy of ecotourism as sustainable
tourism in the rural developing world. Natural capital is defined, and the
sense in which it is employed to underpin the claim that ecotourism can
constitute exemplary sustainable development is examined. In order to achieve
the latter, the paper draws upon five case studies featuring NGOs that have
been at the forefront of developing and commenting upon ecotourism as a
strategy for integrating conservation and development. The paper concludes
that, despite important differences within the advocacy of ecotourism as
sustainable development, there is a shared ‘strong sustainability’ approach to
the issue – one that assumes a very limited capacity for natural capital to be
substituted by human created capital. Moreover, it is argued that this approach
to sustainability is itself limited and limiting with regard to the prospects
for development in some of the poorest areas on the planet.

      3.5 Sanjay K. Nepal   (2002): Mountain ecotourism and sustainable
development

Many
mountain communities around the world have promoted ecotourism ventures to
ameliorate problems of environmental degradation and underdevelopment. Although
there is no agreement on what ecotourism is or should be, it is generally
believed that this form of tourism in the mountains will foster responsible
tourist behavior, conservation of important wildlife habitats and ecosystems,
appreciation of local cultures and traditional lifestyles, and provision of
sustainable forms of livelihood for people living in remote areas and
communities. The present article provides a brief overview of the trends in
mountain ecotourism in developed and developing countries, concluding with a
proposed framework for designation of mountain ecotourism sites.

3.5  ErletCater (1993) : Ecotourism in
the third world: problems for sustainable tourism development

As the
fastest-growing sector of the tourism industry ecotourism offers tourism
companies and Third World destinations alike the prospect of capitalizing on
the comparative advantage of these nations in terms of unspoiled natural
environments. By definition, such development should benefit destinations more
in terms of small-scale, local involvement with fewer adverse impacts. The
opportunity for these countries to enhance their development potential by
harnessing their natural resources without, at the same time, destroying them
cannot be denied. What is essential, however, is the recognition that, without
adequate understanding of underlying factors and careful planning and
management, ecotourism may include unsustainable aspects.

 

4.     
RESEARCH
METHODOLOGY:

4.1  DATA COLLECTION

Primary
data: The study mainly delves on the primary
data collected through survey method for addressing and analyzing the issues.
Information has been collected from the population through close ended
questionnaire. A structured questionnaire have been made use. Secondary data:
Secondary data is collected from various publications, websites, journals, etc
have been used.

 

5.     
SAMPLE

5.1  SAMPLE UNIT: The
respondents are the students of Christ College of Science and Management,
Malur. These samples are of the age group 18-30.

5.2  SAMPLE SIZE: Sixty
students randomly chosen from 250 students. Technique: The simple random
sampling technique had been adopted for choosing the respondents.

5.3  Statistical tools:
The constructed questionnaires were used for the survey purpose. The
questionnaire comprised of close ended questions. The recorded observations of
the questionnaire have been used while data interpretation. Statistical
techniques: Statistical techniques like drawing percentages for
generalizations, use of table for tabulating the primary data and use of graphs
and pie charts for better pictorial representation of the analysis had been
made use of.

6.     
LIMITATIONS
OF THE STUDY

      The study is confined to Christ college of
Science and Management of Malur. Generalizations can be at the macro level but
enough care regarding the change in culture, attitude etc of the groups where
results have to be administered need to be taken care.

Time was another
constrain to the study.

7.     
ANALYSIS
AND INTERPRETATION

The aim of the
study was to assess the understanding of the term ecotourism, the amount of
money one would spend for an eco tour and the most chosen destination for an
eco tour.

Table
1: Understanding of the term ecotourism

Level of Understanding

% of people.

Heard
of the term

45.6

Not
heard of the term

12.2

Already
taken one or two trips

8.7

Taken
more than two trips

33.3

 

Table.1
clearly shows the understanding of the term ecotourism by the students of
Christ College. 45.6% of students have heard of the term ecotourism, and 42% of
them have taken an eco tours. Around 12.2% of the population have not heard of
the term ecotourism.

               Table 2: Amount of money they
would spend on an eco tour

 

Amount
of money

%
of people.

Less than 10,000Rs

56.1

10,000-15,000Rs

26.3

15,000-20,000Rs

12.2

20,000-25,000Rs

5.2

 

Table.2
clearly shows the amount of money one is ready to spend on an eco tour. On an
average from the secondary data collection it was found at an eco tour costs
around 15,000-20,000rs for 2 nights for a couple (the prices might vary from
place to place). From the table it is seen that more than half the population
is ready to pay less than the average amount i.e 83.4% of the population is not
ready to pay upto 15,000Rs. Only 17.4% of the population is ready to pay more
than 15,000Rs. This might be due to the exposure the others got on eco tours or
because they are from economically low backgrounds. The money got from these
eco tours are used for the development of the society nearby or for conserving
the environment. If more people were ready to pay the average amount then it
would have some impact on the economy of the particular state and hence the
country also.

Pie Chart 1. Shows the
preferred destination

The
population was asked to choose one or more destination. From the pie chart it
is evident that most of the people preferred the beach side. The least
preferred destination was village areas with cottages. Compared to the
destinations the majority of the population chose water areas like waterfalls
and beach sides.

8.     
FINDINGS

·        
It was found that 12.2%
of the population had not even heard the term ecotourism. It was also found
that only 42% of them have taken an eco tour.

·        
More than half the
population is not ready to pay for the average amount an eco tour would cost.
From the secondary data collection it was found that 15,000-20,000rs is the
average cost for a couple for 2 nights. Hence the economy of the country is not
affected as most of them refuse to take these expensive trips.

·        
People chose water
destinations like waterfalls or beach sides more compared to the rest.

9.     
NEED
FOR THE STUDY

There are three
important ways in which this study is important. Firstly, this study will
provide insight into the level of understanding of ecotourism and hence people
can take initiative to make eco tourism well known. Through this study we found
that 12.2% have not even heard the term ecotourism and hence awareness can be
spread.

Secondly, the costs
of eco tours can be reduces and hence attract more number of visitors. Since
many of them cannot afford to pay for the expenses of the eco tour the refuse
to go on it.  Hence reduction of prices
will help.

Thirdly, through this
study it was found that people prefer water destinations. Hence the government
of India can take initiative to start some water sports or resorts near the
beaches or waterfall to increase the economy. Just like in Philippines they
started a restaurant at the nose of a falls, the Indian government or any
private company can do something like that. This might help in increasing the
economy of the country as people are attracted to unique things.