Due to the deterioration of the environment in all areas of the world, economy is looking for alternative uses of natural resources. One such area in the tourism industry is eco-tourism, which in recent decades have been widely developed throughout the world. In a broad sense, eco-tourism is a form of recreation that is directly related to the use of natural building. This is a travel and outdoor recreation in a natural, mostly unchanged habitat. In the final analysis, eco-tourism is a vivid example of the combination of nature, sport and the environment in order to promote the spiritual, physical and cognitive principles in man.
There is currently no generally accepted concept of ecotourism, which allows a broad interpretation of the term. The West had the attitude to eco-tourism as an economic category, as eco-tourism abroad is a commercially profitable type of tourism. To Finland, for example, come annually up to tens of thousands of foreign tourists to make a trip to “wilderness” places.
Socio-economic role of ecotourism in different areas has different functions. In agricultural areas ecotourism may be an additional source of revenue to support production, landscape and traditional way of life of local people. In the territories, the main function is to protect natural and cultural heritage, eco-tourism – a major source of revenue, cost justify the implementation of this function. In the industrial districts of the role of ecotourism is to protect natural areas and maintaining the physical and mental equilibrium of the population.
Geography of ecotourism differs from the traditional geography of tourism. Major international ecotourism flows are directed from developed to developing countries. But it cannot be said that in the last fraction of ecotourism in the tourism sector higher, as in Europe and North America is widespread domestic ecotourism. One of the first countries in the world to attract eco-tourists was Kenya. Eight out of ten visitors come to Kenya with ecotourism purposes; receipts from tourism in 1990 totaled $ 350 million. Ecotourism is particularly notable in the fast-growing tourism market in Latin America and in South Africa, which holds the hope of significant eco-tourism in the areas of infrastructure, human development, the rise of the backward “black” areas, the further democratization of society.
In the United States generated more than half the demand of the international eco-tourism. Various types of eco-tourism is also actively developing in the country itself. In the United States focused the world’s largest number of organizations associated with both domestic and international eco-tourism. In the United States and other developed countries, with a small value of ecotourism at the national level, its role in regional and local levels is increasing.
Income from eco-tourism constitutes at least 10% of the revenues generated by international tourism. This share in domestic tourism is likely even higher. As the chairman of the Adventure Travel Society, J. Pearson, “The economy is belt ecotourism. Without it, the establishment of eco-tourism will not happen. “