Ecotourism Destination Planning

Ecotourism is a special kind of tourism and requires special planning skills and approaches. Such planning aims to meet the needs of tourists who are primarily interested in appreciating nature and traditional cultures. Thus, this specialty requires the planner to create benefits to local communities and help protect fragile natural resources and the biodiversity of a destination. Ecotourism planning usually focuses on specific sites such as a protected area and its buffer zones, where community participation and sense of ownership are critical success factors.

The Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Sector Strategy, a project of the Asian Development Bank, is one such big-scale and important project where APPI looked into the needs and cultural heritage of six countries which the mighty Mekong River flows through: Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The ecotourism potentials of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) have been identified in preparation for the development of pilot projects using a community-based approach to ecotourism development. This project has been initiated by the Asian Development Bank.