WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ECOTOURISM?
Ecotourism is highly suited to tourism development in unspoilt locations as it can create jobs and income without destroying or degrading the natural or cultural assets that the visitor has come to see. Like no other industry, ecotourism gives natural unspoilt areas an economic value, but this goes hand in hand with actively creating benefits for nature conservation and focusing on reducing environmental impacts.
Ecotourism experiences also tend to be at the cutting edge of creativity in the tourism industry, and can be readily marketed to the ever increasing numbers of people who wish to ensure that their holiday creates positive benefits, both for the environment and the local communities visited.
CASE STUDY: THE GREENBOX
An tEispéiras Glas
The Greenbox emerged as Ireland’s first and most successful integrated ecotourism destination with a set of standards based on sound environmental practices highlighting all that the region and its people had to offer.
The Green Box aimed to deliver environmentally sustainable tourism products, accommodation and attractions. Such tourism activity would have minimal impact on the ecology of the area, be of maximum benefit to the local communities and meet the needs of the environmentally conscious visitor. The Green Box encompassed an area covering all of Leitrim and Fermanagh and parts of Donegal, Sligo and Cavan.
The Greenbox promoted travel which is small scale, low impact, culturally sensitive and community orientated, and provided a marketing tool for businesses that were grounded in sustainable principles and practices within the Greenbox area. The concept was broader than the established definition of tourism, embracing activities such as organic food production, rural transport, energy and waste management.