Mr Emeka Attamah, a Tourism Consultant, has said that ecotourism is a critical medium in the drive to conserve cultural traditions.
Attamah made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
He described ecotourism as “a search for the authentic tourism medium peculiar to an environment’’.
The development of this tourism mode has become vital in areas at risk of losing their culture as a result of urbanisation.
This search, he said, applied to the authenticity of the landscape and wildlife, and also to the culture and tradition native to an area.
He said ecotourism provided effective economic incentives for conserving and enhancing bio-cultural diversity, and helps protect the natural and cultural heritage of our beautiful planet.
“We have to conserve our natural and cultural heritage for our children to see and not only read them in their history classes.
“In recent years, the image of the third world in western minds has emerged in part from that of the effect of famine, starvation, deprivation and war to represent the opportunity for an exciting new style holiday.
“This is why we say that the attraction of Nigeria’s environmental beauty, ecological and cultural diversity must be promoted,’’ said the expert.
He said tourists want a change from their everyday existence and wished to acquire special experiences that are available in special places.
“Tourism’s interest in sustainable development is logical given that it is one industry that sells the environment, both physical and human as its product.
“What we need now is greater effort to link the academic, private and government’s interest in pursuing more sustainable tourism development with those of the front-line practitioners (industry) and the all important client (the tourist),’’ he said.
Attamah said that these groups should be encouraged to modify their perspectives and operate as an epistemic community.
“Members of this community should share inter subjective understanding, patterns of reasoning, a policy project drawing from shared causal beliefs and the use of shared discursive practices.
“They should also have a shared commitment to the application and production of knowledge, and then we could anticipate more tangible process regarding tourism and sustainable development,” he said. (NAN)