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What is an ecotourism case study?

Ecotourism is a concept that you may have come across in whilst studying Geography either at A Level or whilst studying your degree. Ecotourism is an interesting yet perhaps complex area of geography that is a mix between sociology and geography. It is a system by which tourists can visit delicate and sacred sites but not in a way that would damage these sites of areas for future generations; it is a sustainable form of tourism that ensures that the locals benefit from the revenue of tourism but said tourist don’t harm the landscape that they visit. One of the things that you will be asked to investigate when studying Geography are case studies. These case studies may involve how nature has changed over time due to industrialisation or how the environment has affected human society. Another type of case study that you may have to tackle is that of ecotourism. This article will explain what exactly an ecotourism case study is and how to use them when doing a Geography essay or as part of your degree.

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First, let’s examine the different types of ecotourism case studies that you could be presented with. It is wise at this junction to clear up that ecotourism is not sustainable tourism – the two often get confused as they are similar. However, ecotourism is usually on a smaller scale and is centred on areas that are often pristine and not visited much by people from outside of the area – the Amazon rain forest for example. Sustainable tourism, however, can happen anywhere and is more concerned with the economic benefits of tourism as a whole.

Types of ecotourism studies can vary though they normally are divided between the ancient and natural. The ancient are areas where you may want to travel to an ancient monument like the Pyramids at Giza or Skara Brae. These type of ecotourism studies are heavily linked to sustainable tourism because they are more similar to traditional sustainable tourism than ecotourism as ancient sites are generally better accessible.

Natural ecotourism studies make up most of the discipline. These are typically remote locations that would be damaged by sustainable tourism and are better served by not allowing more people than is necessary to visit them. Natural locations are traditionally places like the Antarctic, the Amazon rain forest, the Savana and other wonders of the Earth. Some locations are both natural and ancient examples of ecotourism case studies – for example Ulu in Australia is both a natural site that can be damaged by sustainable tourism but also an ancient site as it has religious significance for the Aboriginal Australians. In cases like this it is up to the person who is using this case study to decide how they want to use it.

Now that you understand the concept of ecotourism it is time to talk about how you can apply them in practise, either in an essay or in a dissertation. Ecotourism case studies can be very useful as a means of supporting your argument and ensuring that you understand people’s full impact on the environment.

In an essay, you can use them as evidence. For example, you could use them in an argument regarding people’s impact on the environment and use a particular case study to demonstrate that climate change is human made because of the direct effect humans have on the environments of remote and delicate regions.

In a dissertation you can use a case study as data. By using a variety of case studies, you could demonstrate the correlation between the quality of life in highly urbanised environments and those that lack a great deal of human activity. A case study could, therefore, provide an invaluable bit of data to support your argument.

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