Eco-tourism is a segment of the tourism industry that is growing rapidly in popularity. Since it is destined to become a substantial part of the 21st Century travel industry, it is important to create an understanding of what eco-tourism is; what its goals are; what benefits can accrue to local communities; what barriers remain and how they can be overcome. The International Eco-tourism Society (TIES) defines eco-tourism as: "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare and economy of local people". Eco-tourism means education, for both tourists and residents of host communities.
N8URjob is a project, functioning in five partner countries: Finland, Ireland, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria. The main purpose N8URjob is to create and pilot a comprehensive e-learning training and education platform, the Eco-tourism Certificate. This curriculum will address a range of diverse areas such as; the role of ethics in eco-tourism; developing eco-tourism products and services; business management of eco-tourism; marketing and branding of eco-tourism; and language requirements of eco-tourism enterprises. Also a new pedagogical strategy and tutor induction programme for adult educators are to be developed to ensure that learning opportunities provided are relevant and appropriate to the target audience. Curricula will be available in all partner languages as appropriate.
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Eco-tourism can be a constructive component of strategies to promote both environmental protection and development of private enterprise. N8URjob will provide technical and management training to promote new livelihoods, including eco-tourism based employment, as an alternative and/or supplement to agriculture in remote locations in the partner countries.