There is considerable acrimony among proponents of mass tourism and those of ecotourism concerning various factors including travel safety as well as security and even global or regional schisms are developing. There are indeed many factors such as the rich vs. poor, developed vs. developing, economic vs. cultural values and of course terrorist vs. tourist that needs to be considered. The question is whether we will choose one side or is integration possible. Tourism is it mass tourism or ecotourism is certainly a vehicle that promotes better learning about different peoples and their cultures.
Making An Informed Decision
Nevertheless, there are certain differences between mass tourism and eco-tourism and we need to explore these to arrive at an informed decision about which one is better and also to learn how to improve both forms of tourism. Mass tourism will generally have its own characteristics that include concentration of high volume sales, shifting of large groups of tourists, full utilization of holiday packages and also development of huge transport systems and infrastructure, and marketing is more hedonistic.
On the other hand, differences between mass tourism and eco-tourism show that ecotourism is more nature based, low impact as well as small scale, promotes conservation, supports local communities, helps maintain natural and cultural integrity, and makes use of environmentally friendly methods as also technologies. Thus, one can easily see that there are major differences between mass tourism and eco-tourism and mass tourism is normally associated with high volumes, large scale, fast pace as well as hedonism, while ecotourism is small scale, nature centric as well as conservation oriented.
Whereas mass tourism has been around for a long time, ecotourism only began in the eighties and this is another one of the major differences between mass tourism and eco-tourism. Ecotourism aims at balancing economic development of tourism, and conservation as well as protecting the natural resources is central to it, while mass tourism is like a juggernaut that pays scant heed to any lofty ideals and is instead hell bent on churning profits and thus pays little attention to sustainable development, and as such, this is another of the many important differences between mass tourism and eco-tourism.
In addition, while considering the differences between mass tourism and eco-tourism one can also think of tourist destinations themselves that are either suited for one form of tourism and exclusive to the other. Take for instance the Pacific Islands that are ideally suited for ecotourism and not for mass tourism. Thus, one can easily understand that if ecotourism is uppermost in the minds of tourists, they will naturally gravitate towards such places, where there is little or nothing for the mass tourist type of traveler. Ecotourism may also take one to places where the climate as well as constraints of smallness make such destinations unsuited for mass tourism. Other such destinations that do not make for ideal mass tourism include Fiji, Tahiti, New Caledonia as well as the Cook Islands; though they do see some amount of mass tourism along with ecotourism, which of course is the primary form of tourism it is helping in leading to a more integrated type of tourism, which is thus narrowing down the differences between mass tourism and eco-tourism.
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