Efforts to better understand implications of ecotourism, as well as to improve its planning, management and marketing techniques have been conducted in many parts of the world by many ecotourism companies and practitioners, government officials and research people. Nevertheless, there has not been so far a truly comprehensive effort to disseminate widely the results achieved or to integrate such results so as to produce necessary synergies that will ensure that ecotourism will indeed generate the economic, social and environmental benefits expected from it.
Ecotourism can bring benefits in case existing difficult problems are solved. For instance, it is well-known that a well organized and long-term management program is necessary to ensure a sustainable ecological system for the future generation. The absence of such programs means that no measures are taken to prevent excessive tourism harmful to many biological species and vulnerable territories. As it has been stated above, it is necessary to implement a new approach, a new point of view on ecotourism resources, which are considered ecotourism objects.
That is the reason why a community as a whole must review customs and legal regulations, which prevailed earlier and corresponded to a previous paradigm. This is not an easy task, the solution of which presupposes the availability of trained staff for working in the sphere of ecotourism. However, the availability of trained management staff is still not the only sufficient condition for the realization of environment friendly plans and organization of training courses for ecotourism companies. Sources of investment into a new tourism activity as well as new infrastructure planning, national and international market relations should be also well considered.
Ecotourism is a small, but rapidly growing industry, working within a niche market that is governed by market forces and regulations. Ecotourism is primarily advertised as being equivalent to nature tourism in the marketplace. Some countries, companies and destinations have social and environmental policies and programs, while the others do not. It has led to some confusion worldwide about the meaning of the term ecotourism as it is applied in the marketplace.
Ecotourism aspires in all cases to achieve sustainable development results. Nonetheless, it is important to clarify that all tourism activities, be they geared to holidays, business, conferences, congresses or fairs, health, adventures or ecotourism, should aim to be sustainable. It means that the planning and development of tourism infrastructure, its subsequent operation and also its marketing should focus on environmental, social, cultural and economic sustainability criteria.
A strong orientation of the ecotourism field toward the evolution of principles, guidelines and certification, based on sustainability standards, gives it an unusual position in the tourism field. Over the years discussions at conferences have provided a general consensus on the following components of ecotourism. It contributes to the conservation of biodiversity; sustains the well being of local people; includes an interpretation / learning experience; involves a responsible action on the part of tourists and the tourism industry; is delivered primarily to small groups by small-scale
businesses; requires the lowest possible consumption of non-renewable resources; stresses on a local participation, ownership and business opportunities, particularly for rural people.
A great natural beauty of a region stipulates the priority of ecotourism companies' work. As they claim themselves as companies working in the sphere of ecotourism, they should regard it very important to follow the ecological principles: realizing the importance of keeping recourse potential of the area; getting knowledge about the Nature by the direct communication with it; being in harmony with the Nature; raising the level of ecological consciousness among local inhabitants and tourists; leading tourist routs without any environmental disruption; supporting a preservation and conservation program; educating travelers about geography customs and cultures of the areas they are to visit.
Ecotourism statistics are sparse. Estimates on the number of ecotourists vary widely, depending on how they are defined and where they travel. Nevertheless, nature tourism (including ecotourism) is recognized as a fast-growing market that has benefited from an existing tourism infrastructure, travel agents and other booking services. Nature tourism is expected to continue its rapid growth, fueled by an increasing demand for outdoor and adventurous travel in isolated regions as well as by concerns for the environment. To promote ecotourism, as opposed to the more general nature tourism, ecotourism companies would have to emphasize their positive contribution to conservation and overcome its inherent financial difficulties.