Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beach Travel versus Marine Ecotourism

by Charles Roring
Many travel deals offered by tour operators invite tourists to have vacations at the beach. The tour package includes usually one week staying in a nice beach hotel overlooking the blue ocean, snorkeling, diving and wind surfing activities. Countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philipines are favorite destination for the beach travelers. Tourism has been a booming industry for years.

a crowded beach full with travelers and hotel construction are real threats to coral reef and marine environment
a crowded beach

Tour and travel agency aggressively promote travel deals in many developed countries to buy attractive tour packages. Beach hotel, and many other facilities are being constructed along white sandy beaches to accommodate the increasing number of tourists.
On one side the increasing number of travelers going to the beach area will give significant economic contribution to the host countries but on the other side, beach tourism has put increasing pressures to marine environment. If not properly managed, the coral reefs ecosystem will face severe destructions from the development of tourism industry at the beach area.
Therefore it is very important for all stakeholders of marine tourism industry to develop awareness on the marine conservation so that the destruction of marine ecosystem can be minimized to its lowest point.
Marine ecosystem can bring positive impact to the beach and marine environment if it can educate beach travelers about the importance of marine ecosystem to global environment. This includes improvements in the practices of servicing the tourists. In addition, tourists must also be informed about how to behave properly at the beach and underwater.
Travel agency can make special brochure which explains safe diving practices that will not harm the fish, corals reef habitat.
Beach travel will give significant contribution to the marine environment if the stakeholders in the marine tourism industry can encourage the travelers to participate in beach clean-up activities, turtle conservation and in reducing the number of debris thrown to the sea.
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