What is Ecotourism
Indecon sees ecotourism as a suitable concept for Indonesia, more specifically for the development of community-based ecotourism. If implemented properly and correctly, Ecotourism can be a vehicle for the community to manage their natural resources in a sustainable manner. In addition, at the same time receive economic benefits from tourism to support their welfare.
Ecotourism focuses on quality experiences when traveling in natural areas, which increase understanding, appreciation and encourage all involved to protect natural and cultural resources as tourism assets. Indecon defines “ecotourism as the development and management of sustainable nature tourism that supports conservation efforts and environmental education (nature & culture), as well as socio-economically providing direct benefits to the community and local government from generation to generation”. (Indecon, 1996). As a result of a stakeholder workshop in 1996, Indecon developed several principles to ensure the development and management of ecotourism runs according to its objectives, namely:
- Economic principles; Provide benefits to the local community, private sector and government in a sustainable manner and minimize negative impacts.
- Conservation principle; Having concern, responsibility and commitment to contribute to nature conservation and cultural preservation, and development must follow ecological principles by minimizing negative impacts.
- Principles of Community Involvement; Making the community as a subject by involving the local community from the planning and implementation in a participatory manner and receiving benefits;
- Principles of education; Increase awareness and appreciation of nature, historical and cultural heritage values as well as knowledge for visitors, communities, and stakeholders, through interpretation.
- Travel principle; Creating a sense of security, comfort and providing satisfaction and a valuable experience for visitors.
Indecon consistently continues to develop approaches to ecotourism practices at the site level, taking action with the community and related parties, to demonstrate good ecotourism practices. If implemented properly and correctly, ecotourism will provide long-term benefits and also increase the resilience of destinations.
Some experts who share similar views, such as Silva (2015) view ecotourism as a sustainable non-consumptive strategy for the benefit of conservation and local communities. Focuses on sustainable resource management, contribution to economic sustainability, cultural identity and social relations. Fennell (2003) provides a definition of ecotourism as the management of sustainable natural tourism, which mainly emphasizes experiences and education about nature, which is ethically low impact, non-consumptive and locally oriented. Meanwhile, the Global Ecotourism Network (2015) defines ecotourism as responsible travel to natural places by preserving the environment, supporting the welfare of local residents, increasing knowledge and understanding through interpretation and education for all involved, be it visitors, management staff and those visited.