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Ecotourism is a type of responsible tourism that focuses on natural environments with the aim of observing wildlife and supporting conservation efforts. It is critical to highlight the main benefits of ecotourism; first, contributing towards the conservation of natural environments, empowering and protecting the communities who live in the vicinity of the tourist attraction sites both economically and socially. Additionally, eco-tourism also seeks to imparting knowledge to travelers on how they can reduce the impact that they make towards the environment.
Eco-tourism is crucial for the tourism industry of United Arab Emirates and in this case, Dubai. In the event that there is uncontrolled tourism, there is a high chance that damage may be inflicted on natural resources. This is due to the fact that a lot of pressure is put on the area. For instance, uncontrolled tourism puts pressure on various resources and it can also force the local populations to compete for critical resources like water. When ecotourism gets into the picture, there is substantial reduction in the destroying natural resources. This paper identifies the efforts/ ways that have been made towards ensuring eco-tourism in Dubai, identifies the benefits of eco-tourism to the environment around tourism and identifies the challenges that the city has faced in the quest for achieving ecotourism. Thereafter, the paper gives recommendations on how eco-tourism can be boosted.
As mentioned earlier, Eco-tourism is crucial for the tourism industry of United Arab Emirates and in this case, Dubai, a city which is one of the largest tourism cosmopolitan centers in the world (Ryan & Stewart, 2009) In the event that there is uncontrolled tourism, there is a high chance that damage may be inflicted on natural resources.
The first effort that has been made towards the creation of eco-tourism in Dubai is creation of a sustainable environment. Initially, vast lands in Dubai and its environs were deserts with high temperatures and saline water. Dubai is found on the UAE which has one of the world’s vastest ecological phenomena-the desert commonly known as the Arabian desert. It is right to admit that the desert is not really a sustainable place that one can embark on building major cities but cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai have changed this narrative. Previously these cities were characterized with high temperatures and saline water. But as of now, all parts of the cities have air conditioners. Additionally, water desalination plants have been introduced and plants have been planted around the city. Therefore, the first effort that has been made towards creation of an ecofriendly tourist environment is the strive towards sustainability of cities that once had no hope.
Construction projects in Dubai are materially funded from other unsustainable parts e.g. deserts in order to avoid overtaxing the environment. Dubai is a city full of robust construction and this means that the environment has been overtaxed of its resources, most of the major projects in Dubai be it roads, malls, golf courses, hotels, skyscrapers, real estate, entertainment complexes such as stadia and all other massive infrastructural projects that rob the environment sand and soil. Upon realization that this could have detrimental effects to the environment, stakeholders put in place efforts to preserve the future environment. For instance, Dubai is the only city in the world that has artificial islands. The most stunning thing about the artificial islands is that the materials used to make them were obtained from the desert. These materials; sand and soil were obtained far away from unsustainable regions in order to avoid overtaxing the environs of the city. This directly contributed towards creating eco-tourism though this argument has been met with deep criticism that even the areas which were robbed off the construction resources didn’t deserve it.
Another effort that has been made towards ensuring eco-tourism is encouraging outdoor activities that are eco-friendly. Dubai is a city that is well recognized across the globe and most people flock there to enjoy themselves during the holidays. Some of the outdoor activities that are eco-friendly that are encouraged in Dubai are; hiking, scuba diving, hiking the Hajar mountains, traditional desert safaris and bird-watching activities. These devices support efforts that promote eco-tourism. Additionally, tourists are highly encouraged to enjoy eco-friendly deserts. The business community has also been influential in the contribution of efforts that encourage eco-tourism by engaging in eco-friendly business. A good example of such companies is the Hajar safaris that promote eco-friendly tours.
Keeping in mind that Eco-tourism is crucial for the tourism industry of United Arab Emirates and in this case, Dubai, it is crucial to determine ways in which Eco-tourism directly benefits the inhabitants of Dubai and its environments. In the event that there is uncontrolled tourism, there is a high chance that damage may be inflicted on natural resources (Henderson, 2006). But it is also crucial to know the benefits that are accrued after embracing eco-tourism.
The first benefit is that the locals have been able to get a conducive environment. Though most tourist attraction sites in Dubai are artificial, the locals have benefitted positively in a number of ways thanks to efforts put in place by agencies lobbying for eco-tourism. The locals have been able to get jobs (Dutt & Ninov, 2016). The environment, the most important aspect that has to be overlooked for when talking about eco-tourism. The environment has been protected and conserved. The air has been purified by making use of conditioners and the establishment of water desalination plants that have done away with the issue of salty water which is better than initially was. In a nutshell, eco-tourism has benefitted the environment of Dubai positively by contributing towards the conservation of natural environments, empowering and protecting the communities who live in the vicinity of the tourist attraction sites both economically and socially. Additionally, eco-tourism also seeks to imparting knowledge to travelers on how they can reduce the impact that they make towards the environment.
Achieving Eco-tourism in Dubai has been no mean feat. Despite the substantial progress made in trying to achieve it. First, Dubai experiences a huge number of visitors each and every single day from across the world which contradicts the narrative of their efforts in achieving eco-friendly environment. Dubai witnesses mass pollution from the large number of automobiles that pass through the city’s roads.
Another challenge that Dubai faces is the problem of mass construction. Dubai is a city that is ever expanding and hungry for more buildings and other infrastructure. These developments however, mean that the environment will be degraded for them to take place. This implies that the environment is degraded beyond recognition and has loses material that could deny heritage its existence. Therefore, the mass construction that never stops poses a challenge to efforts made towards ensuring sustainability.
In a nutshell, eco-tourism is an important aspect that should be achieved. Eco-tourism contributes significantly towards the betterment of the environment; first, contributing towards the conservation of natural environments, empowering and protecting the communities who live in the vicinity of the tourist attraction sites both economically and socially. Additionally, eco-tourism also seeks to imparting knowledge to travelers on how they can reduce the impact that they make towards the environment. One way that eco-tourism can be improved in the setting of Dubai is by the use of alternative sources of energy. This calls for cars to use non-pollutants like hydrogen and electricity which pose no harm to the environment. In this case, the environment can be protected and the locals can lead longer and healthy lives.
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