ECOTOURISM AS INTEGRANT PART OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
Keywords:ecotourism, sustainable tourism, sustainable tourism development, SWOT analysis.
The authors of the article analyze ecotourism as an integral part of sustainable tourism development. The paper presents ecotourism as one of the fastest growing types of tourism in the world. Ecotourism as a sustainable development tool provides long-term social, environmental and economic benefits and is given appropriate priority in the country's economic development. The main aspects of ecotourism are economical, ecological, social and cultural. Political aspect and marketing changes influence ecotourism development as well. The paper presents the main elements involved in the ecotourism development: the respect for the ecosystem integrity, local participation and economic opportunities for the local community. SWOT analysis shows that ecotourism not only has many advantages in Lithuania, which allow it to exist successfully, but also drawbacks that hinder the development of ecotourism. Despite the fact that most of the threats may also be a barrier to development, there are a few opportunities that provide the development of ecotourism perspectives in Lithuania.
Exploring the factors, which influence the development of ecotourism, the Lithuanian ecotourism SWOT analysis was conducted, which shows the direction in which the rapidly developing ecotourism could successfully compete not only in the Lithuanian but also in the international tourism market.