Changes brought by the development of tourism can be seen in such aspects as natural resources, environment, consumption patterns, socio-economic systems, as well as pollution degree. Correspondingly, sustainable tourism has become an issue top on the agenda for the survival of the whole industry. However, before rushing into any actions, it is important first to understand the definition of sustainable tourism. Basing on UNEP and UNWTO (2005), sustainable tourism can be defined as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”. Suggested by the definition, a balance among local environment, economy, and socio-culture must be achieved to guarantee the long-term sustainability of destinations (ibid.).
To achieve sustainable economic growth Sri Lankan Government has already recognized “Tourism” as a priority sector. Nevertheless, mass tourism has its own negative effects such as environmental and socio-cultural degradation. Various forms of alternative or sustainable tourism such includes, ‘nature-based tourism’, ‘ecotourism’ and ‘cultural tourism’. As an outcome of increased global awareness on environmental issues, tourists are increasingly becoming environmentally oriented. In this background, ecotourism can be and alternative form of tourism that promises to minimize negative impacts of mass tourism while providing sustainable income to communities.
A well manage environment is every tourist expectation. Many tourist will not return to a polluted destination. The government can develop a strategy incorporate the conservation of the biodiversity into tourist development programs. By this program will support the management of the protected areas. While bringing social and economic benefits to the surrounding communities.
Untouched nature is both beautiful and terrifying. An enormous range of benefits from interacting with nature has been studied in the reviewed literature. These span from physical health and cognitive benefits to spiritual benefits and the tangible outcomes associated with food production and wealth. A person's experience in wilderness surroundings can cause panic and fear, but it also provides opportunities to experience wilderness personally. Understanding the benefits of interacting with nature is important for maintaining and improving human well-being in a rapidly urbanizing world.
Environmental sustainability is certainly contributing to the sustainability of tourism, which eventually gives its own contribution to the sustainability of human life through economic growth. Environmental sustainability is also inseparable from how local society is habitable by values, rules, and certain norms. Environmental sustainability must also be supported by the development of education in introducing local society about how they should relate to nature, even though they have gained the knowledge and insight from the previous generation, in the form of local wisdom and local knowledge. Aswita (2018), say that “an understanding of environment can be obtained from environmental education, which later becomes a determining factor in people's interaction with their environment”. Bâca (2015), say that "because education is the basis for all planning activities, recovery and conservation of natural
Eco tourism is almost seen as a panacea for the protection of nature by some authors whereas some authors argue that tourism of any kind is always a threat to protected areas (Kruger, 2003). The question of whether ecotourism contributes towards conservation of threatened species and habitats or if it is just used as a marketing manoeuvre by the tourism industry will be reviewed. This assignment seeks to critically scrutinize the views of both scholars. The rise of the term sustainability was made popular after the Brundtland report which was published in 1987. The report identified the need for sustainable development and conservation of resources, which gave birth to the idea of ecotourism.
Participation in Community-Based Ecotourism Local community participation in all endeavors of ecotourism is not a new concept. The word participation implies how and to what extent people are able to share their views, take part in an activity, programme, project, decision–making, profit sharing and other issues related to the tourism development process. The most important reason for the inclusion of local inhabitants in ecotourism is equity, taking into consideration the conservation of the area through ecotourism development which inevitably entails restrictions in the traditional usage of local resources by the residents (Eagles et al., 1992 cited in Lindberg, 1998). In fact, numerous studies indicate the importance of incorporating the perceptions, values and interest of the local people in the very region where the ecotourism resource/destination is found (Vincent and Thomson, 2002). Taking part of local people should be encouraged from the very beginning by promoting public dialogue and by enabling them to participate in the process of decision making and profit sharing (Diamantis, 2004).
7. Ecotourism bring advantages to the environment Ecotourism is a becoming division in today's travel industry. It is also known as "green tourism”, ecotourism is when individuals go to a goal and occur in watching and connecting with the environment, looking into the societies and practices of local tenants while advancing their prosperity. The visitors that visit commonly partake in serving to safeguard the natural habitat. According to Sanders, ecotourism is the act of uniting feasible travel hones that advance the preservation of secured common ranges while also profiting local economies.
Urban parks have a beneficial role, and this has been proven by studies. Residents can experience nature closer to home, and at the same time reduce visitors stress and at the same time improve their moods thus allowing for relaxation. Parks help to build social relationships and increase a sense of community while maintaining cohesion and pride in the community. Feda et al (2015) explains that parks help reduce stress and depression among adolescents (Feda et al, 2015, p.635). It has also been proven that parks can improve interracial relations and therefore improve the overall relationships between individuals of different personalities and backgrounds (Harnik& Crompton, 2014, p.189).
Social Benefits: Tourism uplifts the true identity of a place or a country by showcasing distinct characteristics of their ways of life, arts, history and culture and also by preservation the customs and tradition which may be at risk. Environmental benefits: Tourism provides financial support for the conservation of ecosystems and natural resource management, making the destination more authentic and desirable to tourist and also it adds more value to the local tourism. Economic Benefits: Tourism provides job opportunity to the community, such as tour guide or hotel housekeeping, travel agent, etc. Indirect Employment is generated through other industries such as agriculture, food production and retail. Tourism also helps in alleviation of poverty in mostly developing countries where tourism is the main source of income.