University of Gondar College of Business and Economics Department of Tourism Management
Course Title –Community Based Ecotourism and Wild Life Management
A Book Review on Ecotourism Development Manual volume II
Submitted To: Endalkachew Teshome (PhD),
Reviewed By: Girum Teshome
The Business of Ecotourism Development and Management manual, Volume II, by Andy Drumm, et.all, production by The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia, USA, 2004.104 pages. Reviewed by Girum Teshome
Reason For choosing this manual to review and authors previous achievements
This manual focuses basically providing a set of criteria to ecotourism planners and managers at conservation NGOs to facilitate decisions with respect to ecotourism management and development.
Hence, the basic reason why the reviewer choosing this manual is that in orders to insight readers how the manual is very important especially for those who engaged in ecotourism activities or businesses.
The previous achievement of the authors? of this manual gives understanding for those who are considering ecotourism as a conservation strategy for a protected area, may elect to consult in Volume I part I. In addition to this, volume I Part II, explains the process for ecotourism development and management planning from Site Conservation Planning and Preliminary Site evaluation to full site diagnostic, participatory ecotourism management planning and implementation of a plan.
General overview of the manual
Volume II of this manual focuses an introduction to the critical elements of ecotourism management planning including zoning, visitor impact monitoring, visitor site design and management, income generation mechanisms, infrastructure and visitor guidelines, and naturalist guide systems in part I and which may be usefully consulted to review options for mitigating tourism threats that may already exist at a site.
Besides to this, volume II part II also states business planning for Conservation managers which helps to outlines the business planning process that will assist conservation managers and planners to develop an understanding of business planning, to be able to promote viable business partnerships with communities or private tourism operators, and to contribute to the preparation of business plans.
The main body of the manual
This manual discussed about the appropriate zoning of an ecotourism site, which is fundamental to all other management strategies. Zoning is the division of a site into a number of different sectors, or zones, for the purpose of distributing different types of use or non-use (i.e., protection) in the most appropriate places. The initial zoning for a protected area is usually determined in the General Management Plan.
According to the manual, most protected areas provide for two or more types of public use zones. These are intensive use zones where most of the high impact, concentrated visitor use takes place, and Extensive use zones where more low impact, generally trail-oriented visitor use occurs. Other zones usually set aside parts of the protected area as “untouchable” zones where very little or no public use occurs, either due to remoteness or resource fragility.
As indicated in the manual if the preexisting zoning scheme does not adequately meet the needs for ecotourism development, then changes in the zoning scheme will be needed. Some potential ecotourism attractions should not be made accessible to visitation because of their vulnerability to erosion or destruction. When determining zones, one should take into consideration their unique biophysical, social and administrative/ management factors.
The manual tried to discuss the site planning process which determines exact locations of infrastructure, taking into account the site’s ecological sensitivity and positioning the infrastructure from a visitor management perspective. Besides to this, visitor site planning takes place within the context of the preparation of an Ecotourism Management Plan (EMP) and after a zoning scheme for an area has been established. When determining exactly where buildings and infrastructure should be located, planners should take into consideration.
It also considered different things or steps in site development process which is very important for that ecotourism management plan by referring from different scholars. It is also supported by different examples and figures to be clear.
Concerning to Sustainability and infrastructure design, it does not require a diminished quality of life, but it does require a change in mindset and values toward a less consumptive lifestyle. The manual also embraces some guiding principles of sustainability like recognize interdependence; accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions, eliminate the concept of waste, rely on natural energy flows; and understand the limitations of design. Sustainable design balances human needs (rather than human wants) with the capacity of the natural and cultural environments. Any development would ideally be constructed from natural sustainable materials collected on site, generate its own energy from renewable sources such as solar or wind, and manage its own waste.
Moreover, the manual discussed about Checklists which maintain sustainable building design which is resulted from natural factors like climate, temperatures, wind, Moisture, sun. Besides to the natural factors it discussed about sensory experience which comprises Visual, Sound, Smell.
It also discussed about selection of building materials for sustainability in that the natural materials are less energy-intensive and polluting to produce and contribute less to indoor air pollution; local materials have a reduced level of energy cost and air pollution associated with their transportation and can help sustain the local economy; durable materials can save on energy costs for maintenance as well as for the production and installation of replacement products
The manual tried to discus about revenue generating mechanism in which there are a number of relatively simple market-based mechanisms exist to generate tourism revenues for conservation includes: Entrance fees which allows access to points beyond the entry gate and its objective is to increase the funding available for the area’s maintenance and development activities. However, the amount of the entrance fee can also be a mechanism for facilitating or limiting visitor access, depending upon the site’s particular situation. Another revenue mechanism which is stated in the manual is admission fees that is collected for use of a facility or special activity, e.g., museum or photography class.
Moreover, user fees paid by visitors to use facilities within the protected area, e.g., parking, camping, visitor centers, boat use, shelter use, etc.; Licenses and permits For private tourism firms to operate on protected area property, e.g., tour operators, guides, transport providers and other users; royalties and sales revenue Monies from sales of souvenirs; concession fees charges or revenue shares paid by concessionaires that provide services to protected area visitors, e.g., souvenir shops; taxes Such as on hotel rooms, airport use and vehicles ; Leases and rent fees Charges for renting or leasing park property or equipment; voluntary donations includes cash, ‘in-kind’ gifts and labor, often received through ‘friends of the park’ groups which are revenue generating mechanisms which are described in the manual.
As a general rule, an ecotourism site generates income with a lot more enthusiasm if its personnel know that the income will be spent in large part on the site’s management needs. Income should be spent to ensure that the site meets its conservation objectives. This is a fundamental concept but one that may get lost in the urgency to create a successful ecotourism program.
Concerning to visitor Impact monitoring and management, the manual also tried to suggest important idea that an ecotourism program initiates many public use activities that will have impacts, both positive and negative. The monitoring and managing of visitor impacts are fundamental ecotourism management strategies but ones that are frequently left unattended.
The degree of impact depends upon many variables in addition to the amount of use: the degree of site hardening (making site trails, landings, overlooks resistant to erosion); the motivations and behaviors of visitors; the mode of visitor transport and lodging; the effectiveness of guides; and the season(s) in which most use occurs. Therefore, managers should use the term “carrying capacity.
As described in the manual there are two very good methodologies that can be used to monitor visitor impacts: “Measures of Success” and “Limits of Acceptable Change.” The limits of acceptable change have evolved specifically to allow tourism to address the shortcomings of the carrying capacity concept, although it has been applied to more general management situations. Measures of Success can be applied to any management planning situation, not just ecotourism, and relies primarily upon the setting of objectives that can be easily monitored
The manual also tried to point out five fundamental steps need to be followed in carrying capacity like;
Identification of Area Issues and Concerns: Involving all stakeholders, identify the ecotourism site’s unique values, attractions, opportunities, threats and problems.
Define and Describe the Types of Desirable Activities: This step should be done in the abstract, not thinking of any specific location. Consider all of the different types of activities that ecotourism might involve
Select Indicators: These indicators should be selected for the management parameters that most concern you at a given site in a given zone
Establish standards for each indicator: The standards should set some limit of acceptable change. Some impacts are inevitable, but managers must be willing to say how much impact they will tolerate before changing the way they are managing
Monitor conditions and implement actions: If acceptable limits have been exceeded, make management changes that will bring resource, social or economic conditions back within acceptable limits.
The manual tried to discussed bout the roles of naturalist guides that they have responsibilities to their tour operator employers, to their clients the visitors, and to the protected areas and communities where they work.
They also require guides to manage logistical aspects of trips in the field, such as coordinating with accommodation, food and transport service providers. Guides are responsible for the tourists’ safety and in general represent their tour operator employer in the field. It also tried to suggest fundamental Conditions for Successful Naturalist Guide Systems which are
Control and licensing- The site’s administration, or some higher authority acting at the administration’s request, will issue a license to guide visitors within the site if the guide complies with relevant rules and regulations.
Mutual benefits- Both the site administration and the guide have much to offer each other, and they should actively carry out their respective roles in order to benefit from each other’s work.
Training- on Natural history of the site and surrounding areas, Cultural attractions, Site conservation priorities and activities, Rules and regulations, Group management, Interpretive/communication techniques,
Work availability – Managers must be careful not to create high expectations among guide candidates, especially if visitor numbers are not sufficient to guarantee work for everyone
Guide availability- Ecotourism encourages the inclusion of local people in as many circumstances as possible.
In this volume part two, it tried to discuss about ecotourism which can provide benefits to local communities and promote the conservation of environmentally sensitive areas while offering unique cultural or nature travel experiences.
A protected area manager is responsible for the conservation of natural areas. If ecotourism is selected as a conservation strategy, at a minimum a protected area manager needs to ensure that Conservation Area Planning occurs prior to ecotourism development
The manual tried to suggest the different factors which influence Business Plan includes Community Interest and Support, Local Demand, International Demand, Investor Interest, Competition, Protected Area Management Plan, Economic Conditions (Current ; Projected), Environmental Sensitivity. It also discussed about the roles of NGOs in ecotourism business development. More ever, the manual suggested the risk factor in ecotourism business development in that Start-up ecotourism ventures have a high risk of failure
More ever, it focused the role of conservation managers in the business of ecotourism enterprises which have a variety of forms and organizational structures in that most are owned by an individual or group of individuals, but they can also be owned by a community or an NGO. Communities often look to NGOs for advice about which business structure is best for their situation, while NGOs must decide on the appropriate role of their organization in ecotourism development.
This manual defines a feasibility analysis as a process similar to producing a business plan, even identical in some sections, but that is intended for a different audience and to serve a different function. Once a feasibility analysis is complete, it is often incorporated into the business plan. The content of a feasibility study varies depending on the project or business being analyzed. Some studies require less work due to existing planning efforts; for example, there may be ecotourism facilities that have already been built at the site.
The amount of time it takes to prepare a feasibility study varies from a few days to several months or more. The amount of time required depends in part on the quality and quantity of the marketing and financial data available for the proposed business.
This manual tried to discuss about feasibility analysis which is primarily intended as a learning exercise for internal use, a business plan is written to be understood by people outside the business for the chief purpose of attracting investment. Once a feasibility analysis is complete, it is often incorporated into the business plan. As indicated in the manual completing a useful feasibility analysis does not require a degree in business administration or management. The steps most often used to create a feasibility study which are preliminary questions, information gathering, definition of goals, resource inventory and market analysis.
Moreover, the manual tried to indicate business plan. Once the feasibility study is complete, the community, NGO or business owner should be able to decide if it is worth devoting the time and money to proceed with the ecotourism activity. If so, the next step is the preparation of a business plan. The main purpose of a business plan, however, is to attract financing for the startup or expansion of the business. The plan provides potential investors with valuable information about the vision and direction of the business, to make a case that they should invest money in the business
In this manual, there is a broader sense of both traditional funding sources, such as investments and loans, as well as sources particular to ecotourism, such as grants and support from organizations that specialize in businesses linked to social and environmental goals. Besides to this, the manual presents a range of financing options and some of the factors to consider when making financing decisions. It also indicates Sources of financing like owner’s own funds, friends and family, other equity investors, commercial bank loans, government loans and private loans especially common in developing countries.
Summary/conclusion/ of the manual
Generally, this manual has two parts. In one hand it tried to discuss the business of ecotourism development and management in part I and on the other hand it states about the business planning for Conservation managers which helps to outlines the business planning process which is described in part II.
From the two perspective of this manual there is a discussion about the appropriate zoning of an ecotourism site which is fundamental to all other management strategies which is the division of a site into a number of different sectors, or zones, for the purpose of distributing different types of use or non use.
The manual tried to discuss the site planning process which determines exact locations of infrastructure, taking into account the site’s ecological sensitivity and positioning the infrastructure from a visitor management perspective.
It also discussed about selection of building materials for sustainability in that the natural materials are less energy-intensive and polluting to produce and contribute less to indoor air pollution. The manual tried to discus about revenue generating mechanism in which there are a number of relatively simple market-based mechanisms exist to generate tourism revenues for conservation.
In this volume part two, it also tried to discuss about ecotourism which can provide benefits to local communities and promote the conservation of environmentally sensitive areas while offering unique cultural or nature travel experiences. Besides to this, it focused the role of conservation managers in the business of ecotourism enterprises which have a variety of forms and organizational structures in that most are owned by an individual or group of individuals, but they can also be owned by a community or an NGO. More ever, the manual defines a feasibility analysis as a process similar to producing a business plan, even identical in some sections, but that is intended for a different audience and to serve a different function. Source of revenue and investments are also observed in the manual.
From the general perspective of the manual the reviewer is tried to suggest strong and weak sides.
An adequate, consistent development of the authors’ idea
They tried to discussed their main objectives
The structure of the manual is free from any biases and they tried to support their idea with plenty of evidences
Each chapter has introduction, conclusion and references which is very interesting.
There are different boxes, figures and tables which helps to diversifies and broaden ideas and experiences of different countries in ecotourism development and conservation which is indicated in the manual
There is glossary at the end and prefaces at beginning of the manual
Very clear conceptual framework for different topics or issues
Coherent structure of paragraphs in each contents of the manual
The manual is clear and not that much difficult to understand. No grammatical error observed in the manual.
Different writing style
Paging is not inserted in a proper manner
There are editing problems for example in the table of content there is similar title of part one and part two
There is not clear cut variation between referencing and source in each chapter at the end.
The writing format is not justified
Absence of objectives either the general of the manual or in each chapters of the specified parts