IELTS® Listening Practice 48

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Listening Script Vocabulary

(Section 4: You will hear a talk on the topic of ecotourism. First, you will have some time to look at questions 31 to 40 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 31 to 40.)

L=Lecturer

Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for coming to this first seminar on Ecotourism. I want to start off with a brief introduction to the subject and some of the challenges faced in this field. 

So, what is ecotourism? Ecotourism is the practice of small to medium sized groups of people visiting far-away fragile and somewhat undisturbed natural areas. It is seen as a low-impact and small-scale alternative to standard tourism. The main purposes of ecotourism include education, fundraising for conservation, or economic and political empowerment of local communities. In theory, ecotourism focusses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. An integral part of ecotourism is the emphasis on the importance of recycling, energy efficiency and water conservation. Ecotourism also aims to cause direct financial benefits for conservation, create respect for local culture, support human rights, and provide economic opportunities for local communities.

Popular ecotourism destinations in the world include South Africa's Kruger National Park, Kenya's Masai Mara Park, and in the United States the Florida Everglades, Grand Canyon, much of Hawaii, and the Alaskan Tundra.

Ecotourism has become one of the fastest growing sectors of tourism, growing by 10-15% annually worldwide. Unfortunately, a consequence of the booming industry is that many ecotourism sites do not meet the guidelines I just outlined. For example, some countries enjoy a huge ecotourism industry and, as a result, receive many economic benefits. But the people in the ecotourism areas do not receive those benefits and are forced to leave their homes. In addition, there are gross violations of human rights and creation of environmental hazards in the quest for ecotourism money. Instead of benefitting local populations, the money generated by ecotourism is spent on public relations to dilute the criticism directed at the country's ecotourism.

When ecotourism increases, the population of the target location puts pressure on the local environment and requires additional infrastructure, such as water treatment plants, sanitation facilities, and lodging. When local communities are unable to meet these infrastructure requirements, there are negative environmental consequences such as the improper disposal of campsite sewage, which results in the contamination of rivers where wildlife, livestock, and people draw drinking water.

Even further, tourists leave behind garbage in the form of the meals they eat, toilets they flush, and water they drink. All of these are part of a broad regional economic and ecological system that they are reconfiguring with their presence. And, of course, the energy required to transport ecotourists can be vast – 10,000 kilometres of plane travel consumes about 700 litres of fuel per person.

When inside the fragile ecotourism location, even taking pictures and leaving footprints can be damaging. Trails contribute to soil erosion, impaction, and plant damage. Wildlife viewing can scare away animals and disrupt their feeding and nesting habits, or even acclimate them to the presence of people.

So, as you can see, the concept of ecotourism is not as simple as it sounds. Now, …

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