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Title: Sustainable development of ecotourism with emphasis on Lebanon
Authors: Abou-Jaoude, Jaoudat Edward
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study focuses on the major causes of out-migration from rural areas in developing countries. In addressing ways of eliminating its harmful impacts on both natural and cultural resources, the research considers some of the key concepts that might be applied in finding more sustainable and longer-term solutions to reduce the volume and impact of the rural exodus in developing countries such as Lebanon. At the present time, rural regions in these countries rely heavily on agriculture for their continued existence, but this does not generate sufficient employment or income to encourage the indigenous population to remain. Thus, poverty and lack of opportunity are seen as the major reasons for the rural exodus. However, in many such countries, rural regions are rich in natural and cultural resources, offering alternative or additional opportunities for improving the social and economic condition for local people. But in seeking to capitalise on these, it is important to avoid inappropriate development which ignores or impairs the cultural and natural resource heritage. So, in looking forward, this research explores the potential of ecotourism as a means of reducing out-migration by improving social and economic conditions for the rural population in a sustainable manner. In seeking to provide a firm basis on which to propose overall policy shifts in developing countries together with the consequent regional and local strategies, this research explores the concepts of sustainable development, rural livelihood and ecotourism. In doing this it draws on earlier and on-going experiences of natural resource management policies in North America and Europe, where there has been considerable experience in protecting the overall resource base with a view to creating sustainable futures for rural areas with a particular importance for natural and cultural heritage. The problems of rural out-migration and possible solutions to reduce its negative effect on the area are explored in detail through a case study of the "Qadisha-Cedars" rural region in Lebanon. This is an area that has experienced major problems of rural depopulation and is currently under threat through locally-driven economic activities which are characterised by short-term economic gain that pose a major threat to the longer-term survival of the natural and cultural heritage of the locality. The impacts of a long-standing lack of understanding and interest on the part of government are explored together with new and more enlightened approaches being developed since the early 201h centuries by countries like the USA, Canada and France. This helps highlight the need for greater levels of co-ordination and integration of national, regional and local policies, based firstly on a greater understanding of the principles on which sustainable futures might be achieved, and secondly on the need to listen to, and understand the concerns of local people and the basis on which they would feel able to embrace the principles of sustainable development. There needs to be a meeting of the "top-down" view of government and the bottom-up view of local communities. Having advocated the need to reduce rural poverty through the introduction of sustainable ecotourism based on a rural livelihood management framework, the results are justified by proposing a scenario followed by a model to undertake its implementation and finalised with a set of recommendations.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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