The Ecotourism is a form of tourism in which the tourist has the opportunity to experience nature and local culture, seeking:
- producing a minimum of negative impact on nature and local culture;
- active conservation of the environment and cultural heritage of the visited area;
- using local services;
- understanding the elements of nature and local culture;
- direct contact with local people and local travel agents, facilitated by the small number of visitors in the group;
An essential aspect is determining the realistic expectations of the client by doing accurate marketing. („Ecotourism in Romania – Why and whom?”; WWF The Danube The Carpathians Romania Program, 2007)
The Ecotourism means a responsible attitude towards the natural and cultural values of an area, both from the visitors and those who organize this economic activity. Beyond the attitude, the ecotourism means an efficient way of conserving nature and landscape, and utterly those fragile areas of inestimable value that basically represent the main resource for this economic activity. The protection and conservation of this resource is not only a necessity for the present development but also an activity that requires a human and financial resource, empathy and public support.
By means of ecotourism, it is desired that part of the resulted benefits out of tourism as an economic activity to be sent to the protection of these elements that build up the touristic potential of the area and promoted accordingly.
The ecotourism intends to constitute itself into learning and acknowledging activity. Therefore, the visitors must benefit from accessing the information about the visited area, must have the opportunity to learn new details depicting the natural values of the area, its history, traditions, habits and so forth, either by non-personal means or directly from the tourism operators and local people they meet.
Ecotourism in Ţara Dornelor
Especially after 2000, in areas with a touristic tradition and huge potential (such as Maramures, Bucovina, Bran area) the rural tourism has developed pretty fast, but not necessarily in a unitary way or the proper direction for sustainability. The rural areas, mainly those mountainous, are characterized by a natural and cultural environment but fragile in terms of economy. To represent a profitable and sustainable economic activity and development of tourism in such areas components with a touristic value must be used. More fragile and special areas must also be conserved. In order to fulfill this target a very unitary vision is needed, along a good planning and organization on the long term. Under the permanent widening and the utter dynamic conditions of the tourism market, the success of a touristic area lays more and more in the form and dimension of which the identification and value emphasize these elements as unique and specific.
The necessity of an efficient approach
Ţara Dornelor is a mountainous depression of relatively reduced size where nature and the traditional way of life are still well preserved, a fact that explains why it is one of the preferred areas in the north of the country for active mountain tourism, relaxation and spa and winter sports. The development of tourism in this area is first and foremost necessary to support the local economy, currently and most based on the processing of local resources through cattle raising, food and wood industry. There are valuable touristic elements in the area which require a different approach, focused on the mitigation of the impact upon the environment:
- The existence of protected areas of national interest and Natura 2000 sites. Some of them are already tourism objectives, others may become in the future, but their integration in the local development should take into account, above all the protection regime of such areas. Such approaches are promoted and supported by the financing lines for Natura 2000 sites
- The existence of Călimani National Park. Călimani massif is already known as a tourism landmark of the area, but the status of a national park that was attributed in 2000 requires the development of different forms of tourism compliant with this status and its objective, the preservation of the nature important values. From the very beginning, the existence of the human settlements in Țara Dornelor has been linked to Călimani mountains and the natural resources they provide. These bonds are still present and the Park, lying in the upper part of the massif, cannot be isolated, which means that the park is directly or indirectly affected by the human activities carried out outside its limits. It is therefore desirable and natural that part of the park targets be passed over the neighbouring communities. Inappropriate tourism development, especially in the communities located in close vicinity to the park, where the activities of the tourists are related to the park, may represent a potential threat for the landscape quality and the natural balance
- The future development of the area depends on the preservation of the landscape in Țara Dornelor, itself a resource for rural tourism (the distinctiveness of which is given by the preservation of traditional occupations which contribute to maintain the balance in nature, the preservation of the architectural style, of the traditions, customs, traditional folk costumes and beauty of nature of the area)
Through its specificity, the ecotourism is one of the adequate approaches to achieve the sustainable development of the area.