I have to write some definitions on few terms related to tourism before giving some wide perspective on damage created by Eco-Tourism.
Tour refers to the Journey to various places, coming back in the end to the place the journey started from!
Tourism refers to the business of providing travel, accommodation, food, entertainment etc for tourists.
Tourist refers to a person who goes to holiday to visit places away from the home.
Eco Tourism refers to responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.
The concept of the using of Term "DEVELOPMENT"
Development refers to GROW OR START. I have seen in many brochures Canopy Development, Eco Development, Green Development, Forest Development, Tribal area Development, Mangrove Development etc and list goes unending...
I was thinking all for a while "Any development in the area of Canopy, Ecology, Green, Forest or Mangrove all these years? I have only seen shrinking of Greenish belts where all Eco tourism is rooted" The word "Development" is a hypnotic term that creates mass hysteria. I have seen Urban Development, Rural Development, Tribal Area Development which proportionate the Destruction of Canopy, Ecology, Green, Forest, Mangrove etc. If Birds and Animals talk, they may use only obscene languages to describe the masters of Eco-Tourism.
Tourism is a money spinning industry. Tourism is a kind of big business that erodes a person's financial stability through advertising. One can use that money for many creative purposes. Tourism exploits curiosity of a person, Health, Wealth and Beliefs and someone counts that big benefit and laugh at the travelers after they are back, by presenting statistics. I have attended such seminars, for example one of the presenters starts talking about some statistics regarding arrivals of tourists, "1000 tourists were there this season, and we expect to increase the frequency by 50%, what we should do?" Construct more resorts, roads and pavements through bushes, waterlog areas, put some lamps inside forests, few seats etc... imagination flies high. You can assume negative aspects in this simple line itself. Birds inside bushes are scared; Fishes and other amphibians disappear, Forest ecology is disrupted... and many more... on long run hundreds of shopping malls and vehicle parkings arrive creating a mini urban area.
International Eco Tourism Society quotes in their report
"There are 109 countries with coral reefs. In 90 of them reefs are being damaged by cruise ship anchors and sewage, by tourists breaking off chunks of coral, and by commercial harvesting for sale to tourists."
"Cruise ships in the Caribbean are estimated to produce more than 70,000 tons of waste each year."
"An average 18 whole golf course soaks up at least 5,25,000 gallons of water a day-enough to supply the irrigation needs of 100 Malaysian farmers"
This is 2006 results from Eco-tourism. I don't know whether thorough research is going on in Poor, Developing and Developed nations yearly. Hope very little because money changes anything and everything.
These all resulted from Ecotourism:
Introduction of new species by Tourists.
Capturing and Killing of Rare animals for souvenirs.
Intrusion into core areas by researchers and photographers in search of rare species disturbs habitats.
New construction of Tracks, Road, Lodges.
Extraction of Fuel wood.
Forest fires resulting from Tourists irresponsible behavior.
Vegetation clearing in order to provide better views for tourists.
Hunting, Vehicle Accidents, Bigger carnivorous animals are killed in order to prevent potential tourist injuries and damages to vehicles.
Alteration of landscapes, leading to destruction and relocation of Fauna and Flora.
Introduction of Virus and Bacteria's by human causing new epidemics to animals.
Feeding by humans alters natural behavior in animals and birds. Particularly monkey and squirrel species are affected.
Over breeding of some small insect species and Floras, that depends on dumped waste products by humans.
Wildlife population comes under constant stress due to human presence in day and night.
More business man crowds around the forest area creating more stress for forest products and directly on all species.
Nocturnal creatures are more affected in daytime. They shift their location constantly.
Creation of migration barriers.
Some Natural areas are partitioned creating havoc in natural behavior of large animals.
Irresponsible Tourist Guides creates new crisis in Natural habitats by leading money motive tourist to new areas for immediate monetary benefit.
Sensitive animals and birds and other species prematurely die because of tourist frequency and its leading stress.
Raring of small babies, eggs and cubs becomes a problem for all species.
Carnivorous species are more effected because of tourist flow and tourist tracks that threat their food searching behavior.
Over fishing by tourists for food, creating break in food chain.
Boating contaminates water bodies, killing various sensitive water dependent species.
Reduce Plant density and decrease in biomass.
Reduced plant regeneration.
Mechanical damage on vegetation.
Reduction of deadwood leading to break in foodchain. Insect breeding is dependent on dead wood where many birds are dependent on Insect species.
Fresh water contamination. Algal growth in inland water bodies.
Changing water courses.
Soil erosion and soil compaction.
Air pollution by vehicles and boats.
Collection/consumption of firewood.
New organic and inorganic wastes inside and both side of the tourist tracks.
If you are responsible what as a Holiday maker or Travelers can help to restore the Ecology of forests and water bodies:
Avoid Visiting Eco-Tourism Spots as Holiday Camps or Picnic Camps, unless you are a wildlife photographer or in research with something from the forest or wildlife area.
Never rely or stay in Jungle lodges or amenities given by Tourist departments or Forest departments, once business is on, they create more lodges inside forests. They are sniffing money from your pocket.
Avoid exploring core areas. As one person comes interested others all yells for it creating more tracks and roads towards in future. Tourist planners are keen to mobilize more tourist attraction inside jungles.
Avoid fishing and boating.
Avoid buying forest products. Buying creates not restoration of Ecology but exploitation of entire forests including farming more demanding things by Tribal creating conflict with forest. More amenities and money spinning, Tribal behavior changes causing transition in their culture and outlook. Money can change behavior creating sociological crisis.
Use Vehicles that have only minimum pollution level.
Avoid Adventurous Games inside sanctuaries and Water ways inside forests. Most of the Games and clubs inside Forest creates destruction of ecology inside forests.
For Trekking select outer trek paths of the forests.
For policy makers in Tourism:
Ban Eco-Tourism for rest of life.
Put new strict guidelines to enter into forest areas.
Close all introduced tracks.
Seal all roads leading to forest area with anti-poaching squads. Equip forest officials with new technology warfare instruments and equipments, radar and satellite searching systems.
Open Vetnary hospital for rehabilitation and management of sick animals permanently on outskirts of forests area.
Ban plantations inside forests area permanently.
Leave forest area as it is.
Regulate researchers and set guidelines for them.
Demolish all Jungle lodges and decommission it.