Eco-tourism is different from mass tourism. Eco-tourism takes nature as it guiding principle. It combines recreation with respect for nature, by preserving the variety of wildlife and plants (‘biodiversity’) of the areas visited by tourists for tomorrow and the next generations (‘sustainability’).
2002 was Taiwan’s Year of Eco-Tourism, as declared by the Executive Yuan (cabinet). 44% of Taiwan’s land consists of state-owned forests. Their unique landscapes and highly diverse ecological environments make them excellent places to develop eco-tourism.
Eco-tourism combines ecological conservation and recreation. It aims to balance the natural ecosystem, tourism and development. This way, tourists may enjoy different kinds of recreational activities without hurting the natural environment while also respecting local culture and indigenous people.
Taiwan’s National Forest Recreation Areas develop eco-tourism through strategic alliances with business and communities in their areas. Each new eco-tourism initiative starts with an impact assessment for an eco-tourism location and its surrounding area. Next, tour packages and supportive measures are designed in cooperation with the tourism, hotel and transportation sectors. The process works as follows: