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Potential And Impact Of Eco Tourism Tourism Essay

Tourism is a leading and the single largest industry in the world today. According to the World Tourism Organization, the tourism industry accounts for 11% of total global employment. It is said that every twelve tourists create a new job. Tourism has a different set of principles- tourism peculiarities, sustainability and community participation to other industries such as agriculture that underpins traditional primary production and trade (Shen, Hughey & Simmons, 2008). It is often argued that tourism can be a major catalyst for economic and social development in such a way that can (a) generate jobs; (b) provide hard-currency for foreign exchange (Armstrong and francis,1994); (c) generate taxes and other indirect revenue for government; (d) stimulate activities in the agriculture, industry and commercial sector of the economy that come into contact, directly and indirectly with the tourism industry (Alleyne,Brown,1974); (e) infrastructure improvements and education diversity. In spite of the above positive impacts, tourism also has some negative impacts, such as, ecological depletion, cultural and social pollution, economic exclusion and revenue volatility resulting from the development of tourism. So, sustainable tourism depends on sustainable ecology of a set of environment of a nation or a region.

In the Bruntland Report, Mc Minn (1997) suggested that the term “sustainable tourism” simply limits the meaning to those particular elements associated with tourism. The importance of the links between tourism and other activities leads to the conclusion that tourism should be seen as a tool for development and not end in itself (Mc Cool and Moisey, 2001). Tourism is unlikely to be the sole user of resources and that a balance should be sought out between tourism and other existing and potential activities.

It is suggested that a sustainable livelihood (SL) approach (scones, 1998) may offer a practical way forward. Sustainable livelihood procedures usually involve an assessment of community activities, assets, capabilities, adaptive strategies and technologies, all of which contribute to their livelihood systems (IISD, 1999). Communities decide to incorporate tourism as one of their livelihood in order to achieve sustainable development that will also be a form of livelihood diversification. Such diversification can have many advantages and tourism can become, (1) a means to enable accumulation for consumption and investment; (2) a means to help spread risk; (3) an adaptive response to long term, and (4) a means to take pressure off fragile lands and increase household incomes for purchase of additional food or payment of school fees (Hussein and Nelson, 1998). It is particularly important that tourism complements rather than replaces existing livelihood sources leading to diversification of livelihood strategies.

Sustainable tourism is a spin-off of ecotourism (Weight, 2002). In the 1990s, ecotourism came on the scene to become one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world (Orams, 1996). Ecotourism is described as a form of natural resources based tourism focused on experiencing and learning about nature, which is low-impact, non-consumptive and locally oriented with respect to control, benefits and scale (Fennell, 1999). Orams (1995) provides three linear scales along which ecotourism can be positioned. The first of these scales represents the degree of human responsibility from low at one end to high at the other. The second and third scales represent the impact of ecotourism on the eco-tourist and natural environment. Blamey (1997) assumes that ecotourism is nature-based and it is placed within four overlapping circles such as small groups/personalized, education/interpretation, sustainability in intention, and sustainability in outcome. Ecotourism has also been defined in relation to its philosophical, moral, or ethical position within the tourism industry (Fennell, 2004). Eco-tourists are seen as more likely to use locally owned accommodations and services and thus to benefit local economics and more likely to support parks and conservation organizations through user fees and voluntary donations and thus to support conservation programs (Carrier and Maclead, 2005).

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To speed up the development of tourism industry, the Malaysian Tourism Policy was formulated in 1992. The policy had identified ecotourism as one form of tourism to be expanded and sustained. Three years later, national ecotourism plan was formulated with more specific issues in 1995 that was accepted in 1996. The national ecotourism plan was intended to provide a general framework to assist the government in developing the country’s ecotourism potentials. In order to ensure the success of the ecotourism plans, joint efforts between the various levels of government, the private sector and the local communities were planned and carried out to maximize the economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefit it has to bring in (Siti-Nabiha, 2006). Although, the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism (MOCAT) acts as a single coordination body to spearhead the overall implementation of the National Eco-tourism plan, the Ministry recognizes the imperative role of the private sector and specifics roles for all sectors of Federal, State and Local Authority (LA), private business, NGOs and other players (APEC, 2002).

The Eastern Corridor Economic Region (ECER) involves three east coast states of Malaysia, namely Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. It is formed to be focused on the socio-economic and industrial development of the region. The development of the eastern corridor, spearheaded by PETRONAS, together with the northern corridor spearheaded by Sime Darby Bhd and southern corridor (Khazanah Nasional Bhd) are part of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), which has the objective of spreading economic development throughout the country. According to Aseambankers Malaysia Bhd, the eastern corridor offers big potential for certain industries, especially oil and gas (O&G) and tourism. The eastern corridor contributed RM30.8bil, or 12%, of Malaysia’s real gross domestic product in 2005 versus 15.6% for Sabah and Sarawak, 20% for the Northern Corridor states and 54.5% for more developed states of Selangor, the Federal Territory, Penang and Johor. The main clusters or sectors were identified as the engine of growth for the Terengganu state include tourism, oil, gas and petrochemical, manufacturing, agriculture and education. Agriculture and tourism will be the main project for development in this state. Because there are huge tracts of land available here for cultivation. On the other hand, this state is full of natural beauty which may be the main attraction for ecotourism.

Conceptual Framework

Therefore, advocates of sustainable development should not emphasize the maintenance of tourism over an indefinite period of time. Rather, their aims would be better served by exploration of how tourism might fit into a suite of livelihood strategies, contributing to the achievement of sustainable livelihood outcomes. The strength of the sustainable livelihood approach is that it encourages the adoption of a broad perspective from which to examine the consequences of tourism.

Analysis of institutional/

Organizational influences on access to livelihood resources and composition of livelihood strategy portfolio

Contexts, Conditions & Trends

Livelihood Resources

Institutional Processes & Organizational Structures

Livelihood Strategies

Sustainable Livelihood Outcomes

Contextual analysis of conditions and trends and assessment of policy setting

Analysis of livelihood resources: Combinations, sequences, rends

Analysis of livelihood strategy portfolios and pathways

History

Politics

Macro-economic conditions

Trade climate

Agro-ecology

Demography

Social differentiation

Natural capital

Economic/

Financial Capital

Human capital

Social capital

and others

Institutions

and

Organizations

Agricultural intensification- extensification

Livelihood

Diversification

(TOURISM)

Migration

Livelihood

1. Increased numbers of working days

2. Poverty reduction

3. Well-being and capabilities improved

Sustainability

1. Livelihood adaptation, vulnerability and resilience enhanced

2. Natural resource base sustainability ensured

Analysis of outcomes and trade-offs

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Policy

Figure 1: Sustainable Rural Livelihood: A Framework for Analysis (Source: Scoones, 1998; page 4).

S

through tourism

E N activities

I H

Tourism

Domestic

International

Institutional Arrangements

Vertical

National Governments

Regional Governments

Local GovernmentsHorizontal

Governments

Tourism Enterprise

Local Community

NGOs

Tourists

Vulnerability context

Trends

Shocks

Seasonality

Institutions

external market risks

Livelihood Outcomes

Sustainable economic development

sustainable social developments

sustainable environmental development

sustainable institutional development

Tourism

Domestic

International

Figure 2: Sustainable Livelihood Framework for Tourism.

Literature Review

The study has reviewed a vast literature from various sources such as journals, reports, proceedings and related documents on assessments of impacts of ecotourism on livelihood security in various countries. In Malaysia, there is a lack of study on assessment of potential and impacts of ecotourism destinations for livelihood security in a specific area.

Etsuko Okazaki (2008) stated that community participation in the tourism planning process is a way of implementing sustainable tourism. He discussed the community participation in the study include the ladder of citizen participation, power redistribution, collaboration processes, and social capital creation form the basis for defining a community-based tourism (CBT) model. He also showed how this model can be used to assess participation levels in a study site and suggested further actions required.

Steven Jackson (2008) studied the attitudes towards the environment in general and ecotourism in particular, which were assessed for several groups of stakeholders in the UK tourism sector. The New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) scale was used to measure general attitude while an ecotourism scale (TES) was used to measure specific attitudes. Significant correlations were measured between the NEP and TES scales suggesting that general attitudes affect specific attitudes. The study suggested that there is a reluctance to translate good intentions into practice.

Kaltenborn et al. (2008) discussed about rural tourism, especially through second-home development, which is increasing rapidly in much of Europe, the USA and Canada. The study also reveals that second-home development program is offering new economic opportunities for local communities, but it is having challenges related to environmental impact. The study examines associations between the environmental attitudes of residents and their attitudes toward second-home development.

Make J. et al. (2008) revealed that sustainability, environmental friendly, and eco-sounds are the terms that are widely used nowadays and emphasized very much in any industry inclusive of agriculture, forestry and tourism industry. Agro-forestry and integrated farming system are the approaches that are strengthening in Bario for producing food, energy and also increasing the aesthetic value of the area. The highest ranking of problems faces by Bario community is transportation (24%) that significantly influenced the high cost of living. The type of development preferred according to the highest ranking was related with conservation (60%), followed by eco-tourism, agriculture and research. The future challenges faced by Bario community would be trying to address the problems and meeting with the development needs of the residing community in order to sustain their livelihood and the highland ecosystem. Based on the resources and potentials, agro-eco-tourism can be the alternatives for uplifting and sustaining the livelihood in Bario.

Dhan B. Gurung and Klaus Seeland (2008) analyzed the present state of tourism in Bhutan and consider the prospects for the development of ecotourism. Empirical surveys of tour operators and foreign tourists indicate that visitors interested in the natural beauty of the Himalayan kingdom stay longer than those who come to experience its culture. By attracting younger tourists, ecotourism could contribute to the goals of Gross National Happiness. The majority of tourists and tour operators are in favor of ecotourism activities that might benefit local rural communities. The prerequisite for a substantial promotion of ecotourism would be changes in the Bhutanese tourism policy to encourage the diversification of tourism products. Ecotourism operations based on urban environments give various benefits and sustainability in Kenya. There are six strategies have followed when marketing ecotourism products. These are broad distribution, partnership development, show bottom line, ownership, uses friendly products and practice what you preach (Roselyne N. Okech, 2009). Carlos (2009) presents the concept of the firewalls of ecotourism wherein the introduction of different protection and conservation components is instituted in the operation of ecotourism sites. He uses some environmental concepts coupled with social, cultural, and economic considerations should be developed and practiced by institutions wishing to utilize ecotourism as a conservation tool. There is a consistent need to develop and apply concepts and practices to help protect the resources from the potential impacts of travel industry for sustainable resource utilization through ecotourism.

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Zhang Meng (2009) reflects on the current connotations of ecotourism in terms of four aspects namely, objects of ecotourism, ecotourists, nature of ecotourism as well as the relationship between ecotourism and communities. The study reveals that ecotourism should go beyond natural, pristine, or even only primitive natural areas to including cultural resources together with their natural context which also deserve preservation. Tourism operators, compared to tourists should shoulder more responsibilities for conservation. Ecotourism should serve as a principle to guide tourism initiatives towards sustainability and community participation. Regina Scheyvens (1999) considers ways in which we understand how ecotourism ventures impact on the lives of people living in and around. From a development perspective, ecotourism ventures should only be considered “successful” if local communities have some measure of control over them and if they share equitably in the benefits emerging from ecotourism activities. The research has proposed an empowerment framework as a suitable mechanism for aiding analysis of the social, economic, psychological and political impacts of ecotourism on local communities.

Abby Liu (2006) examined the adequacy of the planning approach and establishment types in developing rural tourism in Malaysia with a focus on rural capacity to absorb tourism. It explores the policy background that encourages the growth of rural tourism and highlights issues and factors hampering the involvement of rural communities in tourism. Three illustrations, which are drawn from Kedah State, involve the investigations of regional planning initiatives, remote resort establishments and a home-stay program. Views of stakeholders, the planning agencies, tourism industry and communities, concerning their expectations, development initiatives, and responses to address concerns of tourism, are examined. Results indicate that the current development irony arises because of the insufficient attention to local capacity building, reluctance to integrate local settlements and a misplaced notion of professionalism. Insensitivity to cater for cultural and ethnic differences in the encounters of host and guest also impedes meaningful local involvement.

Sheng-Hshiung Tsaur et al. (2006) evaluate the sustainability of an ecotourism site utilized subjective measures to analyze the relationships between resource, community, and tourism. A Taiwanese indigenous ecotourism site was taken as an example in the study, and the Delphi technique was used to identify evaluation indicators of this tourist destination. Local residents, tourists, and resource administration were interviewed to explore each group’s perception of relationships with the remaining two groups. The results of the study reflected the main concern for ecotourism development is the negative impact on the environment and its degradation and destruction. The study suggested that the main concern is protecting residents’ livelihoods so as to maintain an attractive living environment and help the tourists to develop more awareness in conserving and protecting resources.

Problems Statement:

Ecotourism now considered as a main stream of tourism in many countries. Because it has minimum negative environmental effects and attract the tourist highly. Those countries also emphasize ecotourism for their economic development and the livelihood security for the peoples. It is one of the important tools for socioeconomic development in any country. Substantive changes and improvements should take place in tourism policies and activities at a diversity of levels and concrete aspects: national, regional, design and coordination for strategies, financial support and bureaucratic facilities and infrastructure development (Alexandru, 2005). A comprehensive policy and legislative package for ecotourism and resource use should be formulated to ensure that local people can share in the benefits generated by these activities (Jianqiong, 2008).

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Ecotourism has been identified as a form of sustainable tourism expected to contribute to both conservation and development. Unfortunately, due to inadequate environmental assessments and audits, many ecotourism destinations tend to be both hazardous and self-destructive. The main concern for ecotourism development is the negative impact on the environment and its degradation and destruction. For community and residents, the main concern is protecting residents’ livelihoods so as to maintain an attractive living environment (Sheng-Hshiung, 2006).

The success of ecotourism depends on its’ impacts on the livelihood security of the local community. When the local residents may support ecotourism development, their intentions to act will depend on local environmental, social and politico-economic conditions. That issues related to community empowerment, relation between government and communities, and the dynamics among and between various community groups will need to be addressed if positive community intention to participate in ecotourism is to be encouraged (Lai & Nepal, 2006). Mohok Agreement for responsible ecotourism recommended various suggestion for developing ecotourism. Among these, a) provide economic, social, and cultural benefits for local communities and foster community involvements, where appropriate, b) minimal impact on and presentation of local (indigenous) culture and locally appropriate scale and design for lodging, tours and attractions are required to meet ecotourism standards (Robin,2010). Tourism has an important role in stimulating investments in new infrastructure, as well as in generating government revenues through various taxes and fees. Tourism comprises a huge portion of gross domestic production (GDP) in some small developing countries such as the Maldives, Barbados, etc. makes clear the profound importance of tourism for economic development (Halicioglu, 2004). There is research gap to measure the tourism demand analysis for any tourism destination due to proper tourism development.

From the above discussion it is clear that effective policies and strategies are necessary for ecotourism development in Malaysia. The success of any tourism depends on the measure of sustainability. Because, unsustainable tourism does not meets the needs of community as well as environmental cohesion. There is research gap to measure the sustainability of tourism due to success ness. Again, ecotourism creates socioeconomic impacts on the livelihood security of the local communities. So, it is necessary to examine the socioeconomic impacts of ecotourism on the livelihood for determining the potentiality.

Research Questions

In light of problem statement, the study has set out some research questions which are as follows:

How to assess the sustainability for ecotourism?

What are the effects of ecotourism on the local community?

How to measure the socio economic impacts of ecotourism on the livelihood security?

Hypotheses

Once all the data have been analyzed using various statistical and econometric techniques, this study will come up with empirical results obtained from the testing of a considerable number of specific hypotheses. Nevertheless, the study primarily considers a few, but wide-ranging hypotheses which are mentioned below:

Ecotourism helps by improving incomes and economic potentials of small farms and rural communities, in Terengganu,

Ecotourism fosters respect for local cultures and greater appreciation of natural habitats, and

Eco tourism appeals to ecologically and socially conscious individuals.

Objectives

The overall objective of the study is to assess and analyze the potential and impact of eco tourism for livelihood security in Terengganu state of Malaysia. In order to attain the above, the following sub-objectives will be pursued:

To evaluate the existing policies and strategies relating to ecotourism in Malaysia; especially in the state of Terengganu,

To identify the potential for ecotourism derived from analysis of community needs and sustainable tourism,

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To determine the socioeconomic impacts of ecotourism on the livelihood security of the local communities,

Significance of the study

Many developing countries of the world, today, have improved their economy through the means of tourism. The relationship between tourism and economic development is a topic of interest to policymakers, planners, and researchers everywhere whether or not tourism plays an important role within the social and economic fabric of society. So it is important to understand the overall situation of tourism industry and tourism policy in Malaysia. Ecotourism is broadly defined as travel that allows interaction with nature and local communities with minimal negative impact (Carrier and Macleod, 2005; Palacio, 1997). It aims to minimize environmental and cultural damage and maximize long-term economic growth for a nation or a region. Tourism marketers use the term ecotourism as a brand to label commercial tour packages that offer a broad range of activities. Tourism is different than other productive sectors. This is especially true for community development in terms of the tourism sector being deployed as a livelihood strategy. Neither the SL approach nor conventional tourism research theories can exclusively guide tourism to achieve sustainable development. Consequently, knowledge about an integration of SL and tourism is needed (Shen, Hughey & Simmons, 2008). Malaysia has huge opportunities to develop ecotourism, which will ensure economic development including livelihood security of the rural communities. But unfortunately only few studies are done on this issue. Thus, this study is an effort to identify the opportunity and potentiality of ecotourism in the Eastern Corridor Economic Region of Malaysia, especially in Terengganu state. The findings and recommendations of the study would help the appropriate authorities in formulating and implementing specific policies in order to raise prospects for and develop the ecotourism in Malaysia.

Methodology

Sources of data:

The study will use both primary and secondary data which are expected to be collected from dependable sources. Two recreational forests and ecotourism place- Tasik Kenyir Lake of Terengganu will be chosen for observation and data collection. For surveying and observational purposes, however, the study will apply some rational criteria to determine the number and select the ecotourism places in the state.

The secondary data as well as the necessary documents, acts, regulation, and policies will be collected from the relevant departments and ministries of the government of Malaysia. Published materials such as relevant research reports, articles, books, annual reports, and so on will also be reviewed in order to accumulate secondary data and justify arguments.

Sample size, Data Collection, and Sampling techniques:

While a wide coverage of data does always provide more accurate results, but budgetary constrains may result in an unexpected change in the sample size. The present study has intent to interview a minimum of 300 respondents from the study areas for the purpose of data collection. A purposive sampling technique and a set of structured questionnaire will be used to interview the most important stakeholders of the eco tourism industry, such as local communities, relevant authorities/officials, and the visitors. In order to collect primary data, trained enumerators will be hired for interviewing the above groups of stakeholders, including local communities who are involved in and dependent on eco tourism activities for their livelihood. Besides interviewing a number of tourists visiting the eco tourism places, a considerable number of officials in the ecotourism industries will also be interviewed in order to get relevant feedback from them. While the proposed sample is 300, the proportion and distribution of sample will be determined based on some criteria reflecting the weight and importance of the questions asked and scopes of the survey.

Data analysis

For obtaining (1) objective,

The existing policies and strategies of ecotourism are examining thoroughly. To attain this objective, the high officials and management professionals are observed and discussed with them on various aspects of tourism.

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For obtaining (2) objective,

To measure sustainable tourism, you can see the attached article- Sustainable tourism. (Developed equation)

To measure the community needs you can develop equation on the basis of some variables, such as, employment opportunity, local resident participations in decision making, residents’ perception to the tourism, change in the community, environmental effects (positive & negative), community and rural development etc (Developed equation)

An equation for willingness to pay (WTP) of tourists;

Probability (WTP) = This equation is must. Because it suggested by my Supervisor.

You can see the attached article- WTP.

For obtaining (3) objective,

To measure the visitor satisfaction you can develop equation on the basis of some variables such as, responsiveness, tangibles, price, communication, assurance, empathy, natural resources etc.

You can see the attached article- Visitor Satisfaction.

For economic impact, some variables are sales, job, income level, tax revenue, quality and quantities of food, household spending, reduce poverty, higher quality of life etc.

For social impact, some variables are culture, religious, residents’ feelings for the presence of tourists, demographic character, impact on the occupation of family member etc.

For measuring tourism marketing strategy,

TOT= f (SP, SE, AC, E, CS, TR, TIA)

Where, TOT= Tourist, SP=Spots, SE=Security, AC= Accommodation, E= Entertainment, CS= Cost of Services, TR= Tour operator & guide, TIA= Tour information and Advertisement.

You can see the article- Tourism Bangladesh.

Expected Outcomes

Socioeconomic and livelihood profile of affected communities,

Economic, social and environmental impacts of ecotourism in Terengganu,

Factors affecting potential growth and barriers to growth of ecotourism in Terengganu,

Policy implications and recommendations for sustainable ecotourism in the area.



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