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ECO-RESORT DEVELOPMENT

LAU JEH FARN 165538 BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE, FACULTY OF DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE UNIVERSITY PUTRA MALAYSIA This paper is an outcome of seminar on Eco-resort development which aims to enable students to understand the concept of ecotourism; definition, key components inclusive of facilities and aspects of sustainability. The popularity of ecotourism represents a change in tourist perceptions, increased environmental awareness, and a desire to explore natural environments an in-depth understanding of key elements of ecotourism is needed to create a good eco-resort proposal. Back to the basic, the role of the protected area as part of the tourist attraction must fulfill these three functions: conservation, preservation and education but MUST BE economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. There is no simple solution to developing a working definition for ecotourism. It is probably useful to re-emphasise the criteria which Fennell (1999) advocated in an analysis of ecotourism definitions since any attempt to establish what characterises ecotourism as a phenomenon will need to consider whether the activity (ecotourism; Stephen J page & Ross K Dowling):
Has an interest in nature; Contributes to conservation; Is reliant upon parks and protected areas; Benefit local people and has long-term benefits to them; Advances education and study of the natural environment; Is los impact and non-consumptive; Has a commitment to ethical conduct and promotes responsible tourism; Is sustainable in principles to minimise visitor impacts; Promotes enjoyment and appreciation of nature and the environment; Is sensitive to local culture; Has an element of adventure; Is small scale.

By investigating the profiles of ecotourists from several parts of the world, it is evident that different destinations have different ecotourism profiles. Rather than establish a rigid definition of the ecotourist, a set of broad characteristics may instead be established. As Eagles and Higgins (1998:36) poignantly observed,s
The number of people desiring to experience nature through travel is increasing. Ecotouristsare primarily interested in learning about nature first-hand. They want to see, feel and experience wildness. While it is the job of the ecotourist industry to provide the services, programs and sites to fullfill this need, it is also important to understand the social, environmental and business implication of this growing sub-sector.

Ecotourism's impacts often are categorized using groups like "direct" (effect or the visitors themselves) and "indirect" (effect of the infrastructure or activities necessary to provide the visitor experience) or "on-site" and "off-site". Using the latter groups, some on-site impacts include:
soil erosion and compaction; disturbance of wildlife;

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trampling of vegetation; removal of vegetation (e.g., collection of plants or firewood); accidental introduction of exotic species; increased frequency of fire; and litter and vandalism.

Some off-site impacts include:


reclamation of land for infrastructure (e.g., clearing of forests for hotels); generation of solid waste (e.g., rubbish/garbage); water and air pollution (e.g., effluent in rivers and oceans); and purchase of souvenirs utilizing threatened or endangered species (e.g., black coral).

Although most discussions of this dimension focus on negative impacts, ecotourism also can generate positive environmental impacts. For example, some tours involve cleaning trails or undertaking rehabilitation work. Also, ecotourism indirectly can generate positive impacts by increasing political and economic support for natural area conservation and management (Lindberg, Enriquez, and Sproule 1996). The existing large scale ecotourism highlights the need for small scale, slow growth, and locally based ecotourism. Local peoples have a vested interest in the well-being of their community, and are therefore more accountable to environmental protection than multinational corporations. The lack of control, westernization, adverse impacts to the environment, loss of culture and traditions outweigh the benefits of establishing large scale ecotourism. The increased contributions of communities to locally managed ecotourism create viable economic opportunities, including high level management positions, and reduce environmental issues associated with poverty and unemployment. Because the ecotourism experience is marketed to a different lifestyle from large scale ecotourism, the development of facilities and infrastructure can be much simpler and less expensive. There is a greater multiplier effect on the economy, because local products, materials, and labour are used. Profits accrue locally and import leakages are reduced. There is no universal model and guidelines on ecotourism development as the type of ecotourism activities may vary according to geographical condition such as the climate, weather, altitude, and etc. In this project, the eco-resort located within a Borneo environment setting. Study of the Borneo natural environment should be carrying out in order to determine the potential ecotourism activities within the area. The greatest challenge facing those in the tourism sector is to ensure that ecotourist activities grow with sustainable development and do not expand too rapidly. This mean successfully coping with increased visitor numbers, ensuring that the environment is suitable protected during peak, holiday periods and at particular times in natural cycle, for example, when birds are nesting or new seedlings have been planted. Combined with mission to inculcate a healthy and environmentfriendly attitude among users, due regard needs to be exercised in relation to the history and culture of the local populations. How to sustain such sociocultural identity and ensure local control of ecotourists business and decision-making processes is as important as knowing how to protect indigenous plant and animal species.

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