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Is It a New Opportunity for Sustainable Development of Communities? Exploring the Process of Community-based Ecotourism from a Community Work Perspective
Community Based Ecotourism
Community Development in Taiwan has transformed from infrastructure construction in the initial stage into the work of community building that encompasses both infrastructure construction and features development. Nevertheless, as the environmental issue emerges along with the trend of economic development, “sustainable development” has been an important discussion topic globally; community-based ecotourism, therefore, is being promoting with great effort, which also becomes a significant strategy in regards of community sustainable development. However, what kind of results that communities actually achieve by promoting ecotourism? What sorts of impacts and changes has it brought to the local area? Is it helpful to the sustainable development of the community in question? These are the questions that few has tried to answer in the past. In this research, in-depth interviews are conducted on 5 individuals that have participated in promoting community-based ecotourism, so as to get to know the impact on the community after promoting community-based ecotourism. Furthermore, initial motives, process during the work, encountered difficulties and their solutions are also included in the interview, in hope to serve as the references in the future. According to the discoveries of this research, on the economic side, currently communities that are promoting ecotourism can indeed bring extra income that can be enjoyed together by community’s residents; however, ecotourism still fails to become an industry in the community that induces stable profit. On the social side, promoting ecotourism can reach the targets of enhancing residents' identity and cohesion, as well as increasing residents’ participation and passing down local cultures in the community. On the environmental side, although the environment and landscape in the community can be improved and residents’ environmental awareness can also be raised, the process of promoting ecotourism may also cause disturbance to the nature ecosystems. With these, in regards of community-based ecotourism, one can see that communities have gradually taken local economic, social and environmental issues into consideration. Nevertheless, communities still cannot be economically sustainable by themselves, and the majority of the residents have not been involved in the participation; in addition, it is difficult for their operation patterns to meet the initial expectation within the policy statement. For the final target of community sustainability, therefore, we still have a long way to go.
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