Responsible tourism means all tourism directly dependent on the use of natural life e.g. wildlife and landscape. Nature based tourism include eco-tourism and mass tourism. Uncontrolled mass tourism continues to contribute to the degradation of natural & cultural significance (commercialization of Culture) thus leading or causing loss of biological and cultural biodiversity, and important sources of income. Nature based tourism offers a way of financing unique ecosystems preservation. This provides opportunity for the community living near the protected areas to benefit economically e.g. employment opportunity. But Nature based tourism & travel while sustaining eco-system also degrades them. Much nature based tourism falls short of social responsibility to the local community.
Sustainable tourism is developed and managed in such a way that all tourism activities will focus on a heritage resource, natural and cultural which can be continued imminently and every effort is made to maintain the resource to perpetuity.
According to hector Ceballos-Lascurian (1983) ecotourism means “the tourism that involves travelling to relatively undisturbed natural area with the object of admiring, studying and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals as well as cultural features found there.”
Eco-tourism embraces four basic elements:-
• The natural environment as the primary attraction and the cultural environment playing a secondary role
• The sustainable use of the ecological and cultural environment.
• Focus on education and the interpretation of the resource
• Provision of the benefit to the host community
Tourism is about people and places where one group of people leave, visit and pass through places, the people who make the trip possible and the people encountered in the tour, it involves travellers, host communities and governments.
In tourism industry the destination is perhaps one of the most important elements. The destination region represents the raison d’tre for tourism and the tourist attraction at the destination generates the visit. Tourism product is consumed where it is produced (destination). Hence the destination comes under considerable pressure from high levels of demand focused both in time and at specific sites for example the warm East Africa, Indian Ocean coastal beaches during the northern hemisphere winter.
Tourist pressures can lead to alteration of the tourism resource and as tourism resource and as tourist demand continues to raise so have many destinations around the world succumbed to environmental degradation. The impact that some form of tourism development has on the environment has raised concern among environmentalist and other constituents. Therefore professional management and planning of destination are critical if tourism is to contribute to their conservation and to be perceived as an acceptable industry in a world whose survival is threatened.
Tourism demand unspoilt environment in which to operate. It is essential that tour operation should be developed and managed in such a way that as to protect the natural assets. We subscribe to the fact that the extent to which tourism is developed, planned and controlled in an orderly and coordinated manner will affect the long-term quality of the tourism product and subsequently the success of the hospitality Industry. While tourism can be a catalyst for development, it is important for the government agencies plan and develop tourism carefully so that the benefit can be optimized without creating social and environmental problems
Low impact forms of tourism counteracts the effects of mass tourism that poses a number of challenges on the resource base i.e. environment, society, and economy. Low impact forms of tourism create a balance between environment quality and resource utilization. This is mainly aimed at empowering local communities in managing their natural resources that is creating an incentive to conserve the biological resource in the environment by allowing the beneficial effects from tourism filter down to the individual families and households.
Alternative tourism is seen as forms of tourism that are consistent with natural social and community values and which allows both the host and the guest to enjoy positive and worthwhile interaction and shared experience it is also known variously as ecotourism, nature tourism sustainable tourism environmentally friendly, environmentally sensitive, ecological compatible ecologically sound or Green and eco-tour such as Walking tours, Birds Safari, Camel safaris Guided nature walks, horse riding safaris, bicycle tours, home and farm stays, youth tourism.
Many destinations marketed as responsible tourism does not consider the local community development, economical, social welfare and human rights. Indeed majority of them care less about the resource as long as it brings the “green bill “. There must be concern with staff and tourist education i.e. the expected visitors’ behaviour. Thus in this, nature based tourism is formulated as sustainable development. The concept of set principles, Ties 1991 defined it as responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and sustains the well being of the local people.
It is now fashionable to look at tourism development in the context of “sustainability” “alternative tourism” “green tourism” all of which have a particular meaning to different people but majority of this are just eco-labels or marketing and PR slongs. Sustainable tourism is that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.