Environmental law perspectives on the regulation of ecotourism in South Africa's transition to a green economy
Lubbe, Rozanne Elizabeth
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South Africa and the rest of the world currently face an exacerbating threat of environmental degradation, which can be partly ascribed to the fact that some parts of society still place economic growth as a priority over environmental conservation. This study shows that such an approach is only profitable over the short term and actually causes more harm than good. On the other hand, the world is still recovering from the major 2008 global financial crisis. To tip the scale back into balance, it is crucial that economic -, social -, and environmental development be sustainable; from now and into the future. This study recognises that, to achieve sustainable development at all three levels, a transition to a green economy is needed. In essence a green economy requires investment in the environment for the benefit of both society and the economy. This study then goes on to show that ecotourism can be used as a manner to invest in the environment, whilst at the same time uplifting society and improving the economy. Subsequently it is identified as a key driver of a green economy. However, a daunting reality is that ecotourism developments and - activities also threaten the environment. This study therefore argues that ecotourism has to be regulated effectively; otherwise it will not live up to its purpose and may, as a result, curtail South Africa’s efforts of a transition to a green economy, instead of positively contributing to it. This study asks the question: Does South Africa’s environmental legislation provide for the effective regulation of ecotourism? This question is answered by considering whether various relevant pieces of national environmental legislation measure up to certain criteria that is inherent to the effective regulation of ecotourism. Finally this study serves to show that; from an environmental law perspective, and to the extent that this study investigated the ecotourism environment, ecotourism as a phenomenon is regulated effectively in South Africa. However, it appears that there still remains tremendous scope for improvement.
- Law