The Importance of Ecotourism
Sunday, February 19 2012 @ 05:09 PM EST
Contributed by: Admin
According to Wikipedia, Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas, intended as a low impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial tourism.
Because southwest Florida provides nearly innumerable opportunities for both visitors and local residents to experience unique ecosystems, the ethical oversight, preservation of cultural heritage and stewardship of our natural resources is of paramount importance!
Fortunately, the non-profit organization, Florida SEE, exists and enables our local community with all of this. According to John Kiseda, Florida SEE's Executive Director and a Florida Master Naturalist; "Given the continuous growth of SWFL's ecotourism industry, the need for responsible and professional oversight of this industry can not be overstated".
The Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism is committed to maintaining a professional code of ecotourism ethics. They achieve this via several means. First and foremost, Florida SEE endorses compliance with all federal, state, and local laws concerning the protection of natural resources and customer safety. Second, they provide environmental education and awareness which encourage behaviors that contribute to sustainability of our ecosystems and resources. Finally, they also support and encourage professionalism and integrity within the ecotourism industry via certification and recognition programs for ecotour operators.
The origins of the Florida SEE arose from concerned individuals who were part of an educational group on ecotourism. Following a workshop, these founding members decided a permanent group should be formed to 'champion the existence of true ecotourism in Southwest Florida'. During the last decade, Florida SEE has grown in size, scope and focus. The group has a well-established certification and recognition program that has recently undergone a second revision. Involvement in the group has continued to grow and future growth will, likely, include a boundary expansion reflecting the statewide interest.
In May of 2010, the Lee County Visitors and Conventions Bureau along with the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Inc. awarded Florida SEE the CHRYSALIS Award for Eco-Tourism Innovation for their positive impact on the local community! As southwest Florida's ecotourism industry continues to grow and flourish, so, too, will the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism.