Ecotourism is an important and rapidly growing “niche market” within the global tourism industry, which offers an opportunity to develop products that can contribute to national
socio-economic and cultural objectives by providing livelihoods for local communities and giving value to the maintenance of local traditions and culture. Ecotourism can also directly generate revenues for environmental conservation and management. However, while ecotourism has the potential to contribute towards sustainability of the tourism industry,
it can unfortunately be as damaging as mass tourism if not properly managed and regulated.
Until now the Seychelles ecotourism products and attractions have generally been developed through the initiatives of various actors from the public, private and NGO sectors, and there has been no coordinated attempt at regulating such ventures other than through the application of general policies and legal frameworks relating to the protection and conservation of the environment. However, Vision 21 recognises to further develop genuinely sustainable ecotourism, there is a need to establish a framework to guide, and where necessary regulate, such development, so as to ensure that real benefits accrue to local communities, and that environmental impacts are mitigated and minimized, and revenues are generated for environmental conservation and protection.
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