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Advantages and limitations of using tourism as a rationale for nature conservation and protected area establishment

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Serengeti National Park - Africa.
  3. The idea behind the International Ecotourism Society.
  4. The call for change in the tourism industry.
  5. Conclusion.

Nearly everyone on the planet would love to see animals and wildlife in their natural habitat with plenty of the space and the resources they need to survive on their own. The problem is that this level of nature conservation is expensive. Leaving land free from development comes at a price. One solution to the expense of providing animals with protected areas is to use tourism as a way to fund the existence of the park. The advantages of this approach to nature conservation are that the protected area becomes affordable, if not profitable, and therefore the long term survival of the protected area is more assured. It also allows humans to interact with wildlife and see these animals in their natural habitats. This kind of exposure can lead to a lifelong appreciation for the importance of nature. The drawback to this approach to developing protected areas is that the human impact because of the tourism has a serious environmental impact. A look at several international examples will demonstrate how the balance between the advantages of using tourism to fund conservation and the disadvantages is a delicate and precarious balance. Recent moves towards sustainable tourism may offer the solution that both tourist and environmentalist are looking for

[...] Limits are set on the amount of development that can happen, and these guidelines are enforced by local governments. Although not as much money will be generated using this model, the idea is that the natural area becomes a permanent part of the landscape rather than being something that will disappear once tourist have degraded the area and ruined the natural landscape. A great example of this very issue of the beaches that everyone of every nation seems to enjoy visiting. [...]

[...] What happens typically in a beach area is that instead of a natural beach setting, hotels, motels, and resorts are built right on the shoreline. This overdevelopment leads to a huge environmental impact. Habitat for animals is lost to an ocean front pool or sunning deck. Dunes are paved for parking lots and an entire natural area is lost. Tourists are no longer even able to see many of the native or natural plants. The next thing that happens is that the once nice, wide beach begins to erode because the overdevelopment interferes with the natural sand cycle where the shoreline is allowed to move and add new sand through storms and the natural sand cycle. [...]

[...] The national park provides thousands of acres that are protected that allow these animals to exist and survive in a safe place. Unfortunately, the park draws so many tourists each year that the traffic on one of the park's many throughways is considered one of the causes to the severe air pollution in the nearby metropolitan area of Asheville, North Carolina. Although there has been a huge improvement of the quality of life for the native species of animals since the park opened, the poor air quality that has resulted is a serious and potentially lethal result for both humans and animals alike[1]. [...]

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