Ecotourism - Theory and Practice Mr. Cheng Wing Ming, Clement Tour 2004-2005 (Jointly organized by Department of Chinese History, Department of Geography, Green Club, ) Play a game first • http://www.eduweb.com/ecotourism/eco2b. html Outline • Tourism industry • What is ecotourism? • Why ecotourism in Hong Kong? • Potentials • Constraints • Ecotourism Planning • Conclusion Tourism Industry • Planet’s biggest industry • Annual turnover HK$31 trillion • An economy second in the world after USA • Globe’s biggest employer, 10% of the workforce Tourism Industry in Hong Kong • 9th top tourism earner in the world (WTO 1999) • Tourists spent HK$53 billion in 1999 (HKTA 1999) • Highest tourism receipts and arrivals in East Asia / Pacific region in 1997 (excluding China) Tourism Industry in Hong Kong (cont’d) --- Visitor Distribution in 1999 --- Country / Region Visitors (1,000s) % Total Mainland 3,084 28.9 Taiwan 2,000 18.7 East Asia 1,260 11.8 Japan 1,020 9.6 Europe 939 8.8 USA 803 7.5 Australasia 329 3.1 Canada 211 2.0 Others 1,033 9.6 Total 10,678 100 Tourism Industry in Hong Kong (cont’d) --- Tourists’ perception of Hong Kong --- Tourism Category % Total Oriental culture 31.4 Shopping paradise 24.4 Heritage 13.5 Natural landscape 9.6 Stopover to China 9.6 Feng Shui 4.5 Theme parks 3.8 Horserace 1.3 Others 1.9 Source: Vinci Li (2000) What is ecotourism? • Ceballos-Lascusain (1987) “Travelling to relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated natural areas with the specific objectives of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals, as well as any existing cultural manifestations (both past and present) found in the areas……while producing economic opportunities that make the conservation of natural resources financially beneficial to local citizens.” What is ecotourism? (cont’d) • Australian Commonwealth Department of Tourism (2010) “Nature-based tourism that involves education and interpretation of the natural and cultural environment and ecologically sustainable management of natural areas.” Components of ecotourism • Nature-based component • Environmentally-educative component • Sustainable management • Ecotourism ethics • Economic benefits Nature-based component • Wildlife including species, habitat, landscape, scenery and water features • Camping, hiking, picnicking • Nature-based tourism not necessarily ecotourism • Leaving nothing but footprints and taking nothing but photos Environmentally-educative component • Enhance knowledge and foster positive attitudes of participants towards environmental conservation (Bottill and Pearce 1995) • Management strategy (Orams 1995) Behaviour Enjoyment Increasing success lifestyle of strategy satisfaction change Sustainable management • Green tag vs environmental disruption • Ecotourism market vs nature-based and educative dimensions • Sustainable tourism not necessarily ecotourism • Green management measures (minimize fuel and energy consumption, effective waste disposal, waste recycling, educational, minimize impacts, etc.) • Ecologically sensitive, economically viable, culturally appropriate (Wall 1997) Ecotourism ethics • Ecotourists vs mass tourists • Shallow ecotourism vs deep ecotourism • Ecotourists are motivated individuals with specific values, attitudes and behaviour towards nature • Foster a positive attitude towards natural environment Passive Active Increasing success Minimize Actions that can of strategy disturbance enhance ecosystem to environment health Ecotourism Today • Buzzword • Utopia in the tourism domain • Fastest-growing sector of tourism industry, swelling by 20% a year • Growing fastest in developing countries with “natural wonders” • “Dyed-green” package trips Why ecotourism in Hong Kong? • Earth Summit on Environment in 1992 • Decline in tourists 1997 10,408,000 visitors 1998 9,575,000 visitors • Development of new tourist attractions (Disneyland Theme Park, Lantau Cable Car, Wetland Park, etc.) • Lack of an interpretative dimension in our country parks • Concerted effort of HKTB, AFCD, NGOs and tourist agencies Group Discussion • Does Hong Kong possess enough tourist attraction to develop ecotourism? Potentials (nature-based perspective) • Country Parks Potentials (nature-based perspective) • Country Parks Potentials (nature-based perspective) • White dolphin watching Potentials (nature-based perspective) • Nature Walks Potentials (nature-based perspective) • Marine Parks Potentials (nature-based perspective) • Mai Po Nature Reserve Potentials (nature-based perspective) • Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve Constraints (Stakeholders’ perspective) • Hong Kong Tourism Board(HKTB) • Advisory body without statutory power • Specializes in marketing approach instead of proactive and sustainable management tactics • Need of a new government department for tourism (or restructuring) • Emphasize on the development of mainland Constraints (Stakeholders’ perspective) (cont’d) • AFCD and EPD --- Specialized and technical knowledge --- Limited by resources Constraints (Stakeholders’ perspective) (cont’d) • Tour operators --- General travel agencies (mass travelling package) --- One-person operation (e.g. guided nature walks or dolphin watching) --- Can they co-exist? --- Accreditation / Certification system of tour guide (English vs knowledge on hiking, responsibility, taboos, first aid, etc.) Constraints (Stakeholders’ perspective) (cont’d) • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) --- Countryside Heritage Society of Hong Kong, WWF, Green Power, FOE, Hong Kong Marine Conservation Society --- Profound knowledge and expertise in nature --- Advisory role, yet not influential (e.g. KCR railway project at Long Valley) --- Lack of coordination and commitment --- Bottom-up approach problem Constraints (Stakeholders’ perspective) (cont’d) • Tourists --- Social attributes, travel experiences, environmental values and future travel preferences (Higgins 1996) --- 3 visitor information centers in town --- Pamphlets in Chinese less emphasis on ecotourism Ecotourism Planning • Objectives or themes (bird watching, jungle excursion, adventure sport, etc.) • Target tourists (age, educational levels, income groups, occupations, country or origins) • Format (safari, leisure tour, guided, duration) • Recruitment and training of tour guides • Site selection (criteria, uniqueness, resistance to impact, reversibility) Ecotourism Planning (cont’d) • Baseline data of site (monitor changes) • Management plan for site complete with different threshold levels / carrying capacity • Promotion • Law and enforcement • Periodic monitoring and evaluation • 若爾大草原 • 黃龍 • 四姑娘山 • 米亞爾及桃坪羌寨 Evaluation of your choice to study Ecotourism • In terms of nature base Excellent • Things to consider: • cultural heritage • different stakeholders • the other three components of ecotourism?? Conclusion • Brand new concept characterized by misconceptions • Starting point of development • Impossible to follow overseas scenario? • Government department to oversee planning and implementation • Package to include facilities, opportunities and professional services • Targeted at tourists and local people --- The End --- Thank you!