ECOTOURISM AND EDUCATION

The relationship between ecotourism and education is one which is concerned with ensuring
that agencies deliver effective interpretations of environmental, cultural and resource
management values. Education in this context is more than just a one-way transfer of
information. It is about explanation, stimulation, provocation, revelation and understanding
in a manner that personally involves the ecotourism in an interesting and enjoyable fashion.
This is challenging, even in face to face situations, but particularly so when operators have
to rely on non-personal techniques like signage and brochures. However, this is the challenge
of interpretation, and a key goal for ecotourism to enhance people’s attitudes and actions
towards their environment. In many 4 instances this is the major contribution of ecotourism,
by exposing a wider cross-section of the community to the need to value and protect their
natural and cultural areas, resources and heritage. Ecotourism offers a great opportunity for
education as well as professional and personal growth. It can help instill values in participants
that will lead to serious involvement in environmental and social issues in the future.
Activities can be fun and educational in the present, while building a foundation for
responsible travel and tourism in the future (Black, 2007). In essence, the international
dimension of ecotourism as an educational experience is the creation of a new window from
which to view the world and one’s self. It’s an opportunity to show the growth and
development of various learning experiences and in depthly explore another country/culture
and self-define by questioning one’s pre-conceived values, while going beyond one’s self
perceived limitations.

LEONELA COBEÑA PINCAY