Development of the leisure recreation industry
Holiday Excursions That Make A Difference
For many people, the idea of teaching ecotourism does not make as much sense as teaching English, or science, or math, for example. If a person were to suggest teaching ecotourism, those within hearing would probably have a puzzled look on their face, as they tried to determine which planet the speaker came from.
For many, the idea of tourism and travel is simple: Make reservations at a comfortable and luxurious hotel, pack up some clothing and head out for a recreational get-away. This traditional view of exploitive tourism is one reason there is a need for teaching ecotourism. Most people would just think that ecotourism is an odd subject for the classroom. Their knowledge of the subject might not extend past a fuzzy concept of outdoor activity and living among wildlife.
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But ecotourism is important as a subject of education for a wider range of people than those involved in tourism and travel. If those who are uninformed listen closely to a "teacher" for just a few minutes, they might understand how critical it is that, in the 21st century, we understand ecotourism's place in the grand scheme. They would soon get the idea that ecotourism is about much more than relaxation and leisure time (though it does involve this too). What they would learn from a short lesson would be that ecotourism is about dealing with growing threats to the environment and to unique cultures around the globe.
A consistent level of instruction about ecotourism would result, over time, in a rise in the level of awareness about this important industry trend. But for this to work, the instructor must provide the correct information in the proper way. Only then can the result be positive for the people and the places involved.
Since ecotourism is about so much more than booking excursions to some of the world's most beautiful places, it is very important that the teacher emphasize how serious the environmental and cultural problems will become without responsible holiday travel. It is not necessary to alarm the listeners. In fact, this may do more harm than good.
However, if the teacher presents the information about ecotourism in a firm, no-nonsense manner, the listeners will understand that action is necessary, immediately, to stop the environmental damage and to preserve the remaining natural treasures around the globe.
In a similar manner, the instructor/expert on ecotourism must avoid preaching or talking down to the listener. Learning is a process that works best when both parties participate. The "class" setting in which one person talks for an hour while everyone listens quietly may not be the best setting for spreading the word about this important issue. This can be done in a classroom or even an apartment. Teaching, in this case, is not advocacy. While the instructor must believe in the subject matter, the important thing is to gain the listeners' trust.
Hopefully, the instructor will present the facts about ecotourism in the correct manner and the "students" will absorb the information in a manner that will allow them to use the facts in a productive way. In addition, these students will more likely advocate for ecotourism on their own if they receive the correct information in the right setting. Spreading the word about ecotourism is more than talking about an industry trend. In this case, the information can mean the difference between life and death for wildlife and cultures around the world.
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