Adventure travelis a kind of tourism that involves travel or exploration with aperceived or possible risk, which potentially requires physicalexertion and specialized skills. In recent decades, adventure tourismhas prompted the sector to seek different types of vacation. However,growth and market size measurement has been hampered by lack of aclear definition of the operation. Adventure tourism is motivated bymental states achievement, which is characterized as a flow or rushresulting in stepping out of the comfort zone. This could be becauseof culture shock experience or acts performance. It may requirecertain amount of effort and a level of risk perceived of anyphysical danger.

These activities may include trekking, mountaineering, mountainbiking, bungee jumping, and paragliding. Having access to lessexpensive consumer technology, while respecting flash-packing, GlobalPositioning Systems, photography, and social networking, haveheighten the interest in adventure travel across the world. There aredifferent types of adventure travel. One of the types includesEthno-Tourism. Ethno-tourism is defined as a visit to a foreignlocation for purposes of observing or studying the indigenousindividuals of that society specifically for non-scientific gain(Pitchford, 2008, p. 60). There are some extreme forms ofEthno-tourism, which include making contact between the tribes andthe visitors from outside. The two issues associated withethno-tourism, which includes the natives contacting diseases with noproper immunity for, and the possibility of destruction ordegradation of the natives’ unique language or culture (Mak, 2004,p. 61). The paper therefore will argue for, against, and give arefutation of whether ethno-tourism should be encouraged. This willbe achieved by giving reasons concerning economic, health, andenvironmental impact with a few examples.

Ethno-tourismshould be encouraged. As observed, members of an indigenous group ornatives are usually short of stable jobs, while they do not practiceprofessionalism. Due to unavailability of jobs or stable income,members of this group mainly survive on subsistence farming (Smith,1989, p. 45). Fortunately, with ethno-tourism the group havebenefited economically. The economic benefits are also enjoyed by thevisitors and the people surrounding the area. This phenomenon offersopportunities for the indigenous people to do something that isconstructive and productive without having to adapt to new skillswhile abandoning their traditions and beliefs. Ethno-tourism shouldbe encouraged since it brings its capacity in assisting the communityto generate income. For example, there are tourists that are often onpackaged tours who give donations to tribal groups to assist them indevelopment of community projects (Sadler &amp Archer, 1974, p.105). This is possible since there are areas some members of theindigenous have been offered opportunities to act as the tour guides.However, while there are economic benefits to ethno-tourism, theindigenous groups stand great risk of diminish cultural tribes. Forexample, the cultural groups who once lived in St. Kilda, West ofScotland, were culturally destroyed and exploited following thearrival of ethno-tourists in 1970s (Smith, 1989, p. 47). Within thefirst few years of their arrival, the group was culturallydisintegrated. In refutation of the argument, there are instanceswhere the invasion of ethno-tourism in an indigenous area brings moreharm than good. There are instances where the tribes have beendiminished with time in the name of economic advancement. Forexample, the indigenous women of Bumese Kayan in Thailand, with theirbrass coils on the necks are known to attract thousands ofethno-tourists each year, but economically, their efforts have notbeen compensated enough.

Environmentally,ethno-tourism should be encouraged. It has values and principleswhich are used to protect and preserve the environment. Ethno-tourismis proposed by interested groups as a new way to achievingsustainable environmental development. It provides an answer toconflicting issues that surrounds the use and management of resources(Rothman, 2003, p. 102). There is a considerable strong relationshipbetween the environment and ethno-tourism since it is most likely totake part in preservation of the environment. The improvement of theenvironment comes about following the tribal communities’encouragement to preserve historic buildings while protecting naturalresources (Pitchford, 2008, p. 58). In addition, since ethno-touristshave known the value the manner whereby the tribal groups are livingin their natural setting, the environment they live is likely to beprotected by them. This is because the income generated through theactivity makes it possible to improve the environment and itsappearance. The ethno-tourists in some parts are known to engage thegroups in cleaning up and repairing historical buildings and plantingtrees. While ethno-tourism improves the environment, there are alsonegative impacts that come with it. Ethno-tourists have impacted onthe quality of air, water, noise level, and disposal of sewage intothe water, which contribute to pollution problems. In addition, Xie(2011, p. 101) noted that uncontrolled visitation to these indigenousareas can result in degradation of the environment. This wouldinclude historic sites, monuments, and landscapes erected by thegroups. In refuting the argument, ethno-tourism does not have a majorimpact on the environment. For example, the indigenous groups ofHimba, Namibia were forced to move out of their environment tofacilitate building of lodges (Sadler &amp Adler, 1974, p. 156).This was as a result of continuous visitation by the ethno-tourists,forcing the government to relocate the groups. The construction oflodges messed up the environment, which resulted to air and waterpollution, and impact on the wild animals.

While there is little beneficial impact of ethno-tourism on health,it should be encouraged in some situations. Since ethno-tourisminvolves adventure to new places, there is a high chance tourists areaware of the possible chance of contracting a disease. According toRothman (2003, p. 75), ethno-tourists are proactive in their attemptto improve health condition of the groups every time they pay them avisit. As a result, the indigenous groups are more likely to benefitthrough medical attention they would receive. Since the visitors aremore interested in the group, chances are, they would love to seethem having a good health. Having medication with them, the groupsare likely to receive medical attention. High number of visitors,however, could cause more harm than good in regard to the health ofthe groups. Smith (1998, p. 98) noted that there are increased fearsthat large number of ethno-tourists inevitably exposes the tribalgroups fully to health complications and diseases that will be hardto cope with. The “evidence gathered across the world shows thatisolated tribal groups have little or no immunity at all to diseasessuch as a measles and flu brought about by visitors” (Mak, 2004, p.109). It is evident that the more the tribal groups are in contactwith the tourists, there is a high chance that the diseases willdevastate the natives, and “it is not normal for more than 50% ofthe tribal groups’ population to die immediately after the contact”(Pitchford, 2008, p. 35). For example, the Jarawa people are at apeculiar risk of contracting a disease since they are livingproximately to holiday resorts that have been built around them. Inrefuting the argument that supports the visitors, it is difficult forthe ethno-tourist to offer medical treatment to these groups. This isbecause most of them are unlikely to know what kind of the diseasehails them. Since most of the diseases are brought by the visitorsthemselves, there is a high chance that it will spread and mess upthe hosts. This is because these visitors maybe be carrying deadlyvirus or bacteria, which have never been found before in the area.


While making progress, there are likely to be unwanted consequencesdespite the benefits. As much as the benefits are important to theparties and civilization, it should be noted that sometimes movingforward involve a backward move in certain instances. Ethno-tourism,therefore, should be balanced. Even when long-term plans areestablished, it could be made possible by having a well-structuredcommunity development sense. Xie (2011, p. 123) defines ethno-tourismas “site-seeing” form of tourism. This is because it is based onobserving the minority groups by those people with an interest inleaning other people way of live. While the paper examined theeconomic benefits of ethno-tourism, it also shades light on theargument against it. This is because economically, the tribal groupsare vulnerable and stand a chance to be exploited due to the littleknowledge when it comes to generating income through amenities put inplace. Environmentally, it is noted that the ethno-tourist are likelyto teach the natives the importance of conserving their environmentfor their own good. While the environment stands a high chance ofbeing improved, certain practices have resulted into destruction ofthe environment in the past. Health-wise, ethno-tourism has a smallimpact in improving the health of the tribal groups. On the otherhand, there is a high chance the visitors will spread diseases to thenative groups. This could result in wiping out the whole community ifcertain measured are not put in place.


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PITCHFORD, S. (2008) Identity tourism: imaging and imagining thenation. Bingley, UK, Emerald.

ROTHMAN, H. (2003). The culture of tourism, the tourism ofculture: selling the past to the present in the American southwest.Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press.

SADLER, P., &amp ARCHER, B. (1974). The economic impact oftourism in developing countries. Bangor [Wales], Tourist andRecreational Research Division, Institute of Economic Research,University College of North Wales

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XIE, P. F. (2011). Authenticating ethnic tourism. Bristol, UK,Channel View Publications.