PERSPECTIVES OF DEVELOPMENT OF ECOTOURISM IN WEST AFRICA - EXAMPLES FROM NIGER, MALI, AND THE IVORY COAST
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Ecotourism, understood as a form of leisure conforming with the principles of environmental protection and promoting its natural and cultural values, is dynamically developing in almost all parts of the world. Properly carried out, ecotourism projects may be an essential instrument of regional development. Problems of ecotourism development in four areas of West Africa, i.e. the Comoé National Park (Ivory Coast), the Dogon Country (Mali), the northern Dallol Boss Region and Kouré (Niger), and the Äir and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) are discussed in the article. A common characteristic of the chosen areas are their significant natural and cultural values and the occurrence of tourist activeness allowing to qualify them as ecotouristic sites. The analysis of both external and internal success factors in ecotourism leads to the conclusion that, in the discussed regions, ecotourism development is a positive phenomenon. It should, however, be accompanied by continuous supervision of environmental conditions and ecological education of the local population.
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