Jasmina Popov-Locke, programme director, MODUL University Dubai, has recently participated in the panel discussion at Arabian Travel Market 2019.
In an interview to Euronews, Jasmina highlighted the growth of Ecotourism sector and contemporary challenges of Egotourism both worldwide and in the UAE.
Euronews has shared an inspiring story of UAE ecotourists who have helped save Hawksbill turtles earlier this April.
Approximately 80 Hawksbill turtles, which were rescued last winter, have been rehabilitated and returned to their home in Arabian Gulf.
The marine conservation project, conducted in association with the Environmental Agency of Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, was supported by eco-conscious tourists at the Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort beach in the capital.
The species is amongst the estimated 7,000 sea turtles in the UAE’s waters. The Hawksbill population globally, which has been decreasing for more than a decade, is now critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
To do their bit to improve the situation, some hospitality outfits in the UAE are looking to protect the environment while maintaining business as usual. It’s a type of sustainable tourism that some experts say is on the regional rise.
"Ecotourism is now something that's exploring market segments such as luxury one,”
says Jasmina Popov-Locke, a programme development director at MODUL University Dubai.
In contrast to ecotourism, the concept of egotourism has also been floated in recent years. The word describes travelers who are supposedly looking to visit exotic sustainable locations more for the purpose of showing off, rather than ecology.
Jasmina says that while the minority of these tourists may unintentionally leave an environmental footprint behind, the ecotourism sector will not be majorly impacted. Jasmina is confident,
"As long as it's controlled and sustainable, to an extent, I wouldn't question people's motivations for going to certain places,”
The global ecotourism market is expected to rise to values in the high millions by 2023, according to Orbis Research, as travelers continue to look to combine relaxation and sustainability.