Ecotourism in Hong Kong : its current status and
Author(s)Kwok, Fun-ki; 郭芬琪
The IVth World Congress on National Parks and Protected Areas, suggested that
“protected areas must be managed so that local communities, the nations involved,
and the world community all benefit” (World Congress on National Parks and
Protected Areas (4th: 1992: Caracas, Venezuela) 1993). It indicates that there should
be a shift away from a definite preservationist position towards a human-needs
It reveals a fundamental conflict between preservation and consumption of
natural resources. The question is: how to make use of the nature resources wisely for
the sustainable development in environmental, social and economic aspects?
Ecotourism may be an option because of its special characteristics: a strong
commitment for conservation of nature.
Ecotourism, meanwhile booming around the world, involved some 20% of
international tourists in 1997 (World Tourism Organization (WTO) 1998, cited in
Dowling 1999). Most observers concluded that it has been growing faster than
tourism generally during the past few years (Lindberg et al. 1997).
Ecotourism provides a linkage between two unlikely related issues together:
tourism and conservation. It becomes a debatable issue between tourism industry and
conservationists. Tourism industry emphasizes on the pros of ecotourism as a means
to maximize their profits while conservationists concern about the adverse impacts on
environment but also expect to use ecotourism as a tool for conservation. Are ecology
and tourism definitely in conflicts? Successful cases of ecotourism to be beneficial to
both the nature and human are there. On the other hand, negative impacts of
ecotourism on environment are well documented worldwide. Ecotourism may
however be merely a word.
Though ecotourism has been presented in Hong Kong for many years, the
experience in the territory remains limited. Ecotourism is now of considerable interest
to many sectors in Hong Kong. Its potential to expand market for the products is
attractive to the Government agencies. Recently a lot of effort and emphasis are put
on the publicity of ecotourism in Hong Kong. Some tourism projects related to nature
were proposed including wetland park (Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA)
1998), ecological parks (South China Morning Post (SCMP) 2000a; HKTA 1999a)
and resort development in outlying islands (Oriental Daily 1999). It is the high time to
consider the issues on ecotourism in Hong Kong.
The influx of tourists to the preserved areas would damage the natural
environment and unavoidably put additional pressure on the countryside. To minimize
the adverse effects brought by tourists, and to sustain ecotourism, with reference to
the case in Hong Kong, this study attempts to seek for some ideas on the planning and
management of ecotourism, and to consider if ecotourism can be a promising tool for
conservation in Hong Kong.
To understand the nature of ecotourism and provide a definition of it for the
purposes of this dissertation.
To overview the current status of tourism and the promotion and development of
ecotourism in Hong Kong.
To study some of ecotourist activities in Hong Kong.
To analyze the possible issues and constraints on developing ecotourism in Hong
To formulate recommendations on planning and management for sustainable
development of ecotourism in Hong Kong.
To discuss whether or not ecotourism can be a promising tool for conservation in