MahoMahonia Na Dari
Research and Conservation Centre
Kimbe Bay, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Ecotourism extends beyond general concepts of tourism to incorporate social and cultural issues and, centrally, the environment (‘eco’ from ecological).
Being nature-based, ecotourism supports the protection of natural areas by focusing and depending on them as tourism features. The main motivation of the ecotourists tends to be the observation and appreciation of nature and of traditional cultures prevailing in natural areas. Thus ecotourism activities can encourage awareness towards the conservation of natural and cultural assets, among both locals and tourists.
Ecotourism promotes sustainability (environmental, socio-cultural and economic) by providing alternative employment and income opportunities for local communities, while maintaining the integrity of their natural resources. It also often has educational and interpretive value.
Mahonia has become involved in ecotourism because of this potential to involve and benefit local communities and support community conservation.
Mahonia hopes to build on the current ecotourism program (funded by the PNG Eco-Forestry Programme) to further develop this area of potential.