Tourism is the world’s largest industry. It accounts for more than 10% of total employment, 11% of global GDP, and total tourist trips are predicted to increase to 1.6 billion by 2020. Inappropriate tourism development and practice can degrade habitats and landscapes, deplete natural resources, and generate waste and pollution. In contrast, responsible tourism can help to generate awareness of and support for conservation and local culture, and create economic opportunities for countries and communities.
The term ‘community-based ecotourism’ takes this social dimension a stage further. This is a form of ecotourism where the local community has substantial control over, and involvement in, its development and management, and a major proportion of the benefits remain within the community.