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Whatever the name is, the concern is for people and environments

Salama, Ashraf M. (2007) Whatever the name is, the concern is for people and environments. Open House International, 32 (4). pp. 4-8. ISSN 0168-2601

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Abstract

Increasingly, people are abandoning traditional vacation for a new type of tourism that gives them the sense of nature. Trekking in mountains, bird watching, archaeological digs, desert and photo safaris, scuba diving are some new types of vacations that attract tourists to travel to relatively remote and unspoiled areas. This type of travel is referred to as nature-based travel, ecotourism, or environmentally sustainable tourism. These terms are used interchangeably to reflect this trend in the travel industry. While many studies continuously attempt to differentiate between the terms used to reflect this type of travel, the general concern is to address the dialectic relationships between the natural and the man made, the visitors and tourists and the local population, and tradition and modernity. The generic concept of environmentally sustainable tourism has emerged in parallel to the realization of the potential benefits in combining people interest in nature with their concern for the environment. It is a responsible way of travel; an alternative to traditional travel, but it is not for everyone. It appeals to people who love nature and indigenous cultures. It allows those people to enjoy an attraction or a locality and ensures that local cultures and environments are unimpaired. As the environmentally sustainable tourism industry expands world-wide, well planned, ecologically sensitive facilities are in high demand that can be met with ecolodges: small scale facilities that provide tourists with the opportunity of being in close contact with nature and local culture. In response to this theme, research papers in this issue of Open House International attempt to answer the primary question: How much change in or alternations of natural and cultural environments will be acceptable? They explore sustainable planning and design for tourism by debating, analyzing, and visioning a wide spectrum of issues, with a focus on the developments taking place in biologically sensitive areas, whether desert, forest, tropical coasts, or rural environments. Interestingly, they cover the planet Earth from Australia through the Arab World and Turkey to Argentina and Chile. An important shared aspect in these papers is that emphasis is placed upon integrating people, nature, and local economy into responsive development processes while offering lessons on how such integration may take place.