Die invloed van ekotoerisme op lewenskwaliteit in ontwikkelende gemeenskappe : 'n ontwikkelingskommunikasieperspektief
Van Wyk, Maria Louisa
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Due to the growing dissatisfaction with mass tourism, ecotourism has emerged as an alternative form of tourism. This form of tourism is based on three precepts: conservation must take place, the neighbouring community has to benefit from it and it should give some information to the tourists visiting the attraction or area of attraction. Ecotourism offers a unique possibility to South Africa, because it is environmentally friendly and therefore provides an ideal opportunity for development. It is consistent with the Government of National Unity's Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and furthermore, would relieve the growing burden of poverty in our country. An attempt at an ecotourism effort would however, not be successful without effective communication and therefore the advantages of ecotourism and the different components of ecotourism need to be communicated to the population as well as the tourists. Intercultural and development communication is essential. Development communication is not measured by the process but by the end result. This study is based on the premise that a successful ecotourism project necessitates a participatory developmental communicative approach. Without the participation of the local community, success cannot be guaranteed. This also means that local and traditional knowledge of the community have to be taken into consideration in conjunction with the modem technology and mass media. The results of this study show that ecotourism is practised on a small and informal scale in the Thabazimbi area with economic and cultural benefit for all. Conservation does not only mean conservation of nature but of a specific culture as well. The local community has a rich culture of which it should be justifiably proud. Ecotourism contributes to the quality of life. The study also shows that communication enhances the ability of ecotourism to generate wealth and contribute to conservation. By informing the tourist about ecotourism it ensures future interest in nature and culture. Communication with the local community ensures participation, wealth and pride in their heritage. These are all components of the quality of life of a people.