Is Ecotourism a Viable Tool Toward Sustainability? Essays

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The debate over ecotourism's success as a tool for conservation and development in the developing world is aggravated by the dispute over what exactly ecotourism is. The International Ecotourism Society offers a succinct and often cited definition: “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people” (TIES). Ecotourism is often tied to the concept of sustainable development. “Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future” (WTOa). As the notion of ecotourism gained popularity, Boo (1990) was one of the first to express reservations over ecotourism's potential. She warned that it…show more content…
While these areas enjoy a high level of protection, they often displace local people or mean enforcement of land use that marginalizes historical stewards of the land. However, “it is now recognized in parts of Africa, for example, that local people should be compensated for the loss of access to resources they suffer when wildlife parks are created” (Scheyvens 1999: 246). Private reserves that tourists pay to visit have been successful in terms of conservation in Latin America and Africa (Kiss 2004; Langholz et al 2000). When Costa Rica imposed steep hikes in park entrance fees in 1994 there was a shift of visitation to private reserves (Hearne and Salinas 2002). If these parks choose to register with the government they receive benefits ranging from tax breaks, to assistance with projects, and expulsion of squatters (Honey 1999). Langholz et al (2000) studied the economics of 68 private reserves in Costa Rica and found that although they can be profitable this was not the only motivator for their preservation. Most owners placed a high non-market worth on the land such as its bequest value. Although the reserves in Costa Rica are not big in size, the quality of protection they are receiving is very high (Langholz et al 2000). In South Africa the total area of private reserves now exceeds that of state owned protected areas despite being smaller in average size (Kiss 2004). These reserves can be particularly successful in the

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