San Diego’s Mission Bay is a favorite among us locals. But does it have what it takes to be an “ecotourism destination?” Ecotourism, defined by the International Ecotourism Society, is responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the well-being of local people.
According to ecotourism expert Andy Drumm, Mission Bay does have what it takes, and the benefits of being an ecotourism destination are worth the effort. Andy shared information about the value and process of making it so at a recent C-3 breakfast dialogue.
TW2’s Sarah Austin was there, and she found the following points especially interesting:
- Ecotourism is “the biggest growth segment in tourism,” according to Andy.
- Ecotourists spend more than conventional tourists.
- Mission Bay Park is at a crossroads. Staying on the “business-as-usual” path will likely lead to degradation of natural resources, while transforming it into an ecotourism destination will rejuvenate it and attract ecotourists.
- Among Andy’s many suggestions was to improve the quality of the visitor experience to include environmental interpretation that provides information about the resources of the bay as well as environmental monitoring.
- Bringing about rejuvenation for Mission Bay Park requires the public and private sectors working together.
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