Eco-tourism is defi ned as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people. Eco-tourism is expected to have some benefi ts to local people or local nature conservation group, and expected to make tourists and local people conscious of the importance of natural or cultural resources.
Are eco-tours good for the conservation of wild birds that are facing a critical loss of the habitat? Can eco-tours support civil movement for conservation of the birds? The aim of this paper is to clarify the problems of eco-tours for conservation of wild birds by a case study.
For this study we presented two events. One is a lecture meeting about the bird of the Hiroshima area and the other is a monitor tour to the fi eld where the conservation activities had been doing for twenty years. In these events we did two kinds of questionnaire surveys to the audience and monitor tourists. In addition we did a group discussion by monitor tourists too.
The findings are as follows.
1) Evaluation of the eco-tour
This eco-tour is effective in the sense of environmental education. But it is not necessarily effective in the economic sense.
Eco-tourism is expected to produce some incomes to civil conservation groups. These incomes may be useful for some conservation activities, thought these are not suffi cient for personal expenses or office expenses of the conservation groups. In this survey we could estimate the amount of money which one eco-tourist is willing to pay at 1000 to 3000 yen per one tour. If the number of participants is twenty, 50000 yen is expected as total income.
But the eco-tour does not give local people effi cient benefi t economically though this can encourage them mentally.
2) Problems of eco-tours in order to support nature conservation activity
a) It is necessary to pay due attention to the objective nature. Eco-tours should not cause environmental degradation by overuse.
b) High quality guides or interpreters are expected to take active roles. Especially it is necessary to bring up local guides.
c) In order to reduce the risk of overuse, one should be careful to increase the number of tours and the number of tour group members.
d) In order to increase economical effects, it is more desirable to add value of eco-tours and expand per-customer transaction than to increase the number of tours and tourists. Then eco-tours should be thought as learning tours, the value of eco-tours should be evaluated by the quality of their environment educational contents. And it is necessary to develop and supply the eco-tour programs depending on the level of tourist's environmentconsciousness.