Sustainable Tourism Development in Design Impacts of the Main Ecotourism Activities at the Desert on

 
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Abstract

 

Ecotourism is a market segment in the tourism sector that can provide a lot of benefits if managed properly. Efforts should, therefore, be made to ensure that a given ecotourism site is ecologically sound and capable of promoting sustainable development. This study uses quantitative research to investigate the impacts of the main ecotourism activities at the Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona, U.S. on tourists so that efforts can be made to ensure that the destination can meet the growing market demand for unspoilt and authentic destinations.

The result shows that there is need to increase the number of activities on site and relocate the eating area to the centre of the facility. Moreover, the facility’s map should be clear and easy to use to facilitate access and movements around the facility. The ecotourism destination is a unique natural and cultural attraction that can be profitable if innovative tourism products and services that can satisfy the growing market for ecotourism are developed. Efforts should, therefore, be made to ensure that the site is more sustainable by benefiting the local community economically and socially, as well as raising awareness and support for conservation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Ecotourism continues to be embraced in many countries mainly because of its promise of recognizing sustainable development in the tourism sector. It promises to recognize sustainable development by promoting conservation mindedness to key stakeholders in the tourism industry, encouraging community development through education, and supporting tourism activities that are friendly to ecological and social systems (Fennell, 2015). Ecotourism does not only imply mechanisms adopted to generate income for people living in a protected area, but it also incorporates mechanisms to ensure that the ecotourism activities are ecologically sound and sustainable.

To be ecologically sound and sustainable, an ecotourism site should promote tourism activities that preserve the environment. This is essential because tourism is an industry based on the beauty and diversity of nature. Initiatives should, therefore, be made to ensure that all tourism activities preserve the environment to maintain the beauty and diversity of nature. Moreover, an ecotourism site should be pay regards to the needs and aspirations of the communities living around it. This is important because putting a lot of consideration on conserving nature without recognizing the needs and expectations of people can compromise sustainability. This is because it is widely recognized that conservation cannot be divorced from development issues. Finally, an ecotourism site should consider the interests of the tourists by providing services that meet their expectations and satisfy their needs. This study will use quantitative research to investigate the impacts of the main ecotourism activities at the Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona, U.S. on tourists. The study will, therefore, examine if the ecotourism activities are meeting the expectations and satisfying the needs of tourists who visit the site. This will ensure that the destination attracts a sizable portion of customers in the growing market segment for unspoilt and authentic destinations.

 

Justification of the study

 

The Desert Botanical Garden ecotourism site can contribute economically to communities living around the desert area by generating revenues such as gate collection fees and providing the local communities with employment opportunities. The site can also promote a sense of community ownership to encourage sustainable activities in the area (Fennell, 2015). According to a manager in one of the ecotourism and wildlife units in West Africa called Wally, ecotourism is one of the fastest growing market segment in the tourism sector. An ecotourism site can thus generate a lot of economic benefits if managed properly and efforts are made to ensure that it is ecologically sound and sustainable. Efforts should also be made to ensure that a given ecotourism site meets the interest of tourists visiting the site in terms of their needs and satisfaction. An ecotourism site should, therefore, make visitors experience nature directly and gain knowledge, enjoy as well as appreciate nature. Also, the site should represent best practices in environmental sustainability, and contribute to the conservation of the ecosystem of the area (Fennell, 2015).

This study is justified because its aim is providing insight on the impact of the ecotourism activities offered at the Desert Botanical Garden ecotourism site on tourists. The insight is important because it can be used to ensure that the ecotourism activities meet the interest of the tourists. This can help in ensuring that the site is sustainable. In addition, the study will examine how the tourists who visit the ecotourism site interact with the natural resources in the site and how the tourists’ behaviours might have an environmental impact on the ecotourism site. The study is therefore important because it will provide information regarding interactive activity that can be used to promote the conservation of the ecology of the area. Moreover, the study will give important information about the tourists who frequent the garden such as their preferred activities and areas that need improvement.

 

Aims and objectives

 

This study aims to understand the impacts of ecotourism activities offered at the Desert Botanical Garden ecotourism site on tourists. The study will add to the current understanding of the impacts of ecotourism activities on tourists particularly the activities offered in desert sites. Apart from answering the research questions, this study will benefit ecotourism sites that seek to deliver high-quality services that meet the interests of tourists. The study will, therefore, provide insight that can be used by ecotourism sites to ensure that they are ecologically sound and sustainable. The study will also provide insight that can be used by ecotourism sites to ensure that their services meet the interest of tourists visiting the site regarding their needs and satisfaction. Finally, the study will provide insight that can be used by ecotourism sites to ensure that they represent best practices in environmental sustainability and customer services.

 

Scope and Limitations

 

 

This research will investigate the impacts of ecotourism activities offered at Desert Botanical Garden ecotourism site on tourists. The ecotourism site in question has been in operations for more than 70 years. The garden offers teaching and inspiration to local community and visitors from all corners of the world. In addition, the site offers research, exhibits and other ecotourism activities that are aimed at helping the community and visitors to understand, protect and preserve the desert’s natural beauty.  To attract even more visitors, there is need to ensure that the services and activities being offered in the ecotourism site meet the interest of the tourists. Research is therefore undertaken to understand the impact of the activities currently being offered in the site with the view of enhancing the quality to meet the interest of visitors.  This research is only concerned with the impact of ecotourism activities being offered at the Desert Botanical Garden on tourists and will not examine other ecotourism sites. The main limitation of this study is that it only considers one ecotourism site that is located in Arizona. The applicability of the results will, therefore, be limited in some aspects.

Review of the Literature

 

The concept of sustainable development has gained considerable attention in recent years. This has mainly been due to increased degradation of the environment that has resulted in major challenges like climate change and global warming. Ecotourism can be defined as the management of tourism and conservation of nature in a manner that ensures a fine balance between the requirements of tourism and ecology on one side and the needs and aspirations of local communities such as job opportunities on the other hand.  Ecotourism focuses on promoting tourist activities that encourage and support sustainable development. Ecotourism can support sustainable development by promoting conservation mindedness to key stakeholders in the tourism sector and encouraging community development through education, job creation and generating income for the local community.

It is important to point out that ecotourism does not only imply mechanisms adopted to generate income for people living around a protected area, but it also incorporates mechanisms to ensure that the ecotourism activities are ecologically sound and sustainable. This can be done by encouraging individuals to see the importance of their natural resource heritage. A community can support ecotourism efforts effectively if they benefit economically from the activities thereby encouraging them to value and protect the biodiversity. To ensure the harmonious development of tourism, there is need to protect, develop and improve various constituents of the environment. Intelligent tourism management strategies should also be put in place to protect and develop the physical environment and cultural heritage of humanity and enhance the quality of life. Tourism development and effective environmental management should, therefore, be an integral part of a country’s development plans. Local communities play an important role in promoting ecotourism. This is because ecotourism is a combination of various organized activities by a group of people that have a resolution to enhance sustainable development in their region of residence.

The ecotourism site that is studied in this paper has been in operations for more than 70 years. The Desert Botanical Garden offers various services such as teaching, research and exhibits that are aimed at promoting understanding, protection and preservation of natural beauty of the Arizona desert.  According to the institution’s website, its mission is to “advance excellence in education, research, exhibition and conservation of desert plants of the world with an emphasis on the Southwestern United States.” To fulfil its mission, the institution has put in place effective strategies to make the garden capable of yielding the various wonders of the desert.

Research Question

 

This study examines the impact of ecotourism activities offered at the Desert Botanical Garden on tourists and how the tourists interact with the garden’s ecosystem. The primary research question that this study aims to answer is: What are the impacts of the main ecotourism activities at the Desert Garden/Wildlife on tourists?

 

Key terms that need to be operationalized

 

  1. Ecotourism. Ecotourism focuses on responsible travel to natural areas so as learn about the natural beauty and diversity of the areas with the main goal of generating income for the local communities and promoting sustainable development.
  2. Sustainable development. It is a development mechanism through which the current generation satisfies its needs while ensuring that resources are not depleted to cater for the needs of the future one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conceptual Framework:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1 -Conceptual Framework

 

Figure one above shows the conceptual framework that is used in this study to organize ideas. According to the framework, local guide, ecotourism activities and the desert environment contribute to sustainable tourism development in design in the destination under consideration. The aspects of sustainable tourism development in design that influence tourists’ experience include adventure activities, natural setting of the area, support for conservation, support for community and culture, education activities and the infrastructure in the area.

 

Methodology:

 

To understand the impact of ecotourism activities offered at the Desert Botanical Garden on tourists and how the tourists interact with the garden’s ecosystem quantitative research was undertaken. This research method involved objective measurement and analysis of the data that was collected from the respondents. The researcher used face to face interview where the subjects were asked several questions as shown in appendix one below.  The data collection method was used as it provided first-hand information that made this study’s findings reliable and useful for the Garden’s management.

Sampling Methods and the Sample Size

            The study applied simple random sampling. In a population of 30 tourists who visited the facility on the day data was collected, a sample of 8 tourists was selected randomly for interviewing. The simple random sampling was selected for this study because it is easier to use and effective in the current situation compared to other sampling approaches like stratified random sampling.

Research Design

The study employed descriptive research design. Descriptive research design was used in this study because of its simplicity in describing the impacts of various ecotourism activities on tourists in the site.

Reliability of the Approach

The approach used in this study is reliable and applicable in wring the report. This is because the researcher was able to obtain accurate information from all the respondents. The result of this study is therefore reliable because the researcher was able to access to a reasonable sample size. Efforts were also made to ensure that the interview questions were clear and precise to enhance the validity of the results.

Research Findings

 

The interview result shows that 80% of tourists confirmed that they would not return to visit the desert botanical garden unless there are more activities or special events. Figure 2, shows that 50% of the respondents said that they want high-quality maps that show the direction to the garden and around it.  25% of the respondents noted that there was a need for more activities in the garden zone. Most respondents indicated that they only visited the Garden because there was a festival that day. 13% of the tourists suggested that food courts should be relocated to the middle of the garden because the current location was too close to the garden’s entrance. One of the respondents said that no one would go to the food court when they first enter the garden. People want to explore first and then eat. Also, 12% of tourists suggested that the Garden should add more languages to guide them. For example, one of the tourists in the interview was from China; she wished to have information provided in Chinese.

 

Figure 2 – – How do you feel the Garden could be improved?

 

– How do you feel the Garden could be improved?

 

 

  25%     Improving maps
     
     
      Improving languages of
     
     
  50%     information
      Improving food courts
     
  13%     zone
       
  12%     Add more activities
     
     
        zone
IMPACTS OF THE MAIN ECOTOURISM ACTIVITIES 7

 

Figure 3- shows participants comments on the ease finding various facilities within the facility.

THE QUALITY OF WAYFINDING FOR THE AREAS IN T HE

 

DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN

 

the quality of wayfinding

 

8

6

4

 

2

 

0

 

Good                                                    Poor                                               Satisfying

 

 

 

Figure 3 – the quality of wayfinding for the areas in the Desert Botanical Garden

 

 

Discussion

After collecting and analyzing data, it is evident that most of the respondents were attracted to the Desert Botanical Garden because of their desire to experience and learn about desert nature, and the landscape found in the desert. In addition, the tourists were attracted to learn more about the habitats of the area and the cultural artefacts. It is, however, important to add the number of activities offered in the facility as most respondents indicated that they visited the facility because there was a festival on that day. The map to the facility and around the facility should also be improved to make it clearer and user-friendly. Moreover, most of the respondents agreed that the Desert Botanical Garden offers ecotourism events that promote environmental conservation within the area and incorporates meaningful community culture participation. For example, there was a celebration called “Dia De Los Muertos” that had a meaningful and cultural aspect to Arizona society. Finally, it is shown that most of the respondents agreed that the Desert Botanical Garden could be profitable and self-sustainable if efforts were made to invest in key infrastructures such as roads and hotels close to the Garden to meet the interests of tourists.

 

Conclusion

 

 

This study helped to understand the impacts of main ecotourism activities at the Desert Garden or Wildlife on tourists. The interviews showed that tourists were comfortable in visiting wildlife in Arizona, and revealed that they gained a special connection with nature. The result of the study shows that some improvements need to be done in the facility such as the location of the eating area and the design of the facility’s map to attract more visitors. Also, designing a cultural museum and hotel near the garden can help to enhance tourists’ experience.

 

IMPACTS OF THE MAIN ECOTOURISM ACTIVITIES 9

 

 

References

Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Dbg.org. (2017). About the Desert Botanical Garden. Retrieved from https://www.dbg.org/about.

Dillow, R. K. (n.d.). Encyclopedia of global warming and climate change. Retrieved from 210.42.35.80/G2S/eWebEditor/uploadfile/20121127153955671.pdf.

Fennell, D. A. (2015). Ecotourism. (4th ed.). London: Routledge.

 

Wally, M. (2001). Ecotourism and sustainable Wildlife Management: Experiences in Gambia. Retrieved from www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/lead/pdf/02_article03_en.pdf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 1: Interview questions:

 

 

  • What attracted you to come to the Desert Botanical Garden?

 

 

  • What was the most memorable experience you had at the garden today and how did it affect you?

 

  • How do you feel the Garden could be improved?

 

  • What are your comments on the quality of roads and ease of finding your way round the Desert Botanical Garden?

 

  • What would make you come again to the Botanical Garden?

 

 

  • How does interacting with wildlife and nature affect your life?
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