Lakes are among water’s most captivating features which embodies the mesmeric ripples and reflections to crystal clear bodies of water. The world has millions of lakes, from tiny ponds to massive areas of freshwater. A few of these bodies of water owe their charm to climate, or their geographical surroundings, whilst some are man-made such as artificial lakes. Lakes have long been a prominent setting for leisure and tourism activity, however, studies on the role of lakes for tourism are limited although the impact of tourism on the environment has been acknowledged and researched by many scholars. Many countries have promoted lakes extensively as tourist destinations, either as the main destination or an additional attraction to other leisure activities (Hall and Härkönen, 2006). These beautiful lakes can be seen across many continents, for example, the Lake District in northwest England, Loch Duich in the Scottish Highlands, Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy, Malagne Lake in Alberta, Canada, Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada, Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand, Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India, Lake Bratan in Bali, Indonesia, and Lake Kawaguchi in Japan amongst others.
Lakes can be defined as a bounded body of usually freshwater which is contained by land and has no direct access to the sea (Thomas, Meybeck and Beim, 1996). A lake might be secluded and is different from a river because it has no apparent direct water input and sometimes without a direct output (Asyraf, et. al., 2013). Lakes can be found anywhere within a river basin. There are lakes such as headwater lakes which are supported by inflow from many small tributary streams, especially from rainfall and groundwater inflow (Thomas et al., 1996). For a variety of human activities, lakes are a valuable natural resource for development of utilities (Hall and Härkönen, 2006). During ancient times, lakes were considered an important resource for human survival, as a source of food and a medium for transportation. The use of lakes has transformed civilisation, including the creation of artificial lakes for industrial or agricultural use, hydroelectric power generation and as a reliable water supply (Sharip and Jusoh, 2010). In modern times, lakes are not such a necessity for human survival, but are an important source for socioeconomic development (Otiang’a-Owiti and Oswe, 2007).
There are many opportunities for tourism development using lakes, especially nature-based tourism for activities such as cruising, observing wildlife, swimming, picnicking and kayaking. This has been helped by the growing range of accommodation, from resorts, to hotels and lodgings (Yusof et al., 2012a). This natural environment, rich in biodiversity has made the tourists’ experience well worthwhile especially among avid environmentalist (ibid). This chapter aims to establish an understanding of lakeland settings for tourism activities and an acknowledgement of the environmental practices on the supply side (resorts’ managers/owners) in ensuring the sustainability of the ecosystem.