The New Concept of Ecotourism

It is low-impact tourism, usually small scale, that helps to educate the traveler. Ecotourism fosters respect for different cultures and human rights, directly benefits the economic development and political empowerment of the local communities and provides funds for conservation. (p.2).
An ecolabel is a certification for meeting certain standards and criteria regarding the quality and performance of an ecotourism operation. It is primarily a tool in consumer choice. Buckley. Font, 2001, (pp.19-20) are of the opinion that, in order to be meaningful to a consumer, an ecolabel must be part of an ecolabel scheme,
administered by a reputable organization. Like any form of a quality label, an ecolabel must have defined and transparent criteria for use, and effective means to prevent abuse. This can be achieved through national and international standards organizations, with the potential to prosecute for misuse under fair-trading legislation. Or it can be achieved through certification or accreditation schemes, either public or private, with expulsion and negative publicity as a deterrent for misuse. Thus, a tourism ecolabelling scheme is a certification or accreditation scheme for ecotourism. It is used to promote the implementation of standards and objectives, and to enable customers to identify those ecotourism operations that comply with applicable standards of quality and sustainability.
There are two main categories of ecolabels, according to Buckley and Font, 2001 (p.20): 1.Environmental quality labels for tourism destinations and 2.Environmental performance labels for tourism providers. Only one or two labels cover both categories. The Blue Flag label in Europe for clean beaches, and more recently for marinas is perhaps the best-known example of a destination quality ecolabel. The Australian National Ecotourism Accreditation Programme (NEAP), is a well-known example of an operator performance ecolabel. The scheme operated by the German company Turistik Union&nbsp.International (TUI) covers both destinations and operators, as does Green Globe 21, revised from the Green Globe scheme originated by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

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