Ecotourism

October 20, 2006 • Volume 16, Issue 37
Does it help or hurt fragile lands and cultures?
By Rachel S. Cox

Introduction

Ecotourists seek sightings of the rare Indri lemur in Madagascar's Perinet Reserve rain forest.  (Terra Incognita ECOTOURS/Gerard “Ged” Caddick)
Ecotourists seek sightings of the rare Indri lemur in Madagascar's Perinet Reserve rain forest. (Terra Incognita ECOTOURS/Gerard “Ged” Caddick)

In the booming global travel business, ecotourism is among the fastest-growing segments. Costa Rica and Belize have built national identities around their celebrated environmental allure, while parts of the world once all but inaccessible — from Antarctica to the Galapagos Islands to Mount Everest — are now featured in travel guides, just like Manhattan, Rome and other less exotic destinations. Advocates see ecotourism as a powerful yet environmentally benign tool for sustainable economic development in even the poorest nations. But as the trend expands, critics see threats to the very flora and fauna tourists flock to visit. Moreover, traditional subsistence cultures may be obliterated by the ecotourism onslaught, replaced by service jobs that pay native peoples poverty wages. Meanwhile, tour promoters are using the increasingly popular “green” label to lure visitors to places unable to withstand large numbers of tourists.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Tourism and Vacation
Oct. 20, 2006  Ecotourism
Jun. 17, 1988  America's ‘Vacation Gap’
May 04, 1984  Tourism's Economic Impact
Jul. 21, 1978  Tourism Boom
May 14, 1969  Summer Camps and Student Travel
May 18, 1966  Tourist Dollar Gap
Apr. 19, 1961  Two-Way Tourism
Jul. 20, 1955  Competition for Passenger Travel
Jul. 03, 1946  Travel Boom
Jun. 17, 1930  Foreign and Domestic Tourist Traffic
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
National Parks and Reserves