ECOTOURISM - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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ECOTOURISM. A GENTLE EXPLOITATION ?. WHEN IS IT ECOTOURISM? WHEN IS IT JUST TOURISM?. Is this an ecotourism destination?. What about this destination?. Guys, don’t answer !.

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When is it ecotourism when is it just tourism l.jpg


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Is this an ecotourism destination?

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What about this destination?

Guys, don’t answer !

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Ecotourism: Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.


Mass tourism: Large-scale tourism, typically associated with ‘sea, sand, sun’ resorts and characteristics such as transnational ownership, minimal direct economic benefit to destination communities, seasonality, and package tours.

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By 2003

Tourism in general

  • As the largest business sector in the world economy, tourism employs 200

    million people, generates $3.6 trillion in economic activity and accounts for

  • One in every 12 or 8% of jobs worldwide.

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As of 2007…4 years later

Global tourism economy

  • 230 million jobs

  • 10% of global gross domestic product

  • $6.5 trillion, 4.6% annual growth

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Global tourism

  • If tourism were a country, its economy would be the 2nd largest in the world.

  • In 4 out of 5 countries tourism is in the top five export earners.

  • In 60 countries, tourism is the number one export earner.

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Global growth of tourism

  • 1950 – 25 million tourist arrivals

  • 2004 – 760 million tourism arrivals

  • 2020 -- forecast to reach 1.56 billion international arrivals

  • 1990s – growing globally at 7%/year

  • 2004 – grew globally 10% over 2003

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Importance to developing countries

  • Tourism is a principle “export” (foreign exchange earner) for 83% of developing countries, and the leading export for 1/3 of poorest countries.

  • For world’s 40 poorest countries, tourism is 2nd most important source of foreign exchange, after oil

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Difficult to separate ecotourism from general tourism….but here are some best estimates

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  • Beginning in 1990s, growing 20% - 34%/year

  • In 2004, ecotourism/nature tourism was growing globally 3 times faster than

    tourism industry as a whole.

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Ecotourism/Nature tourism

  • “Sun and surf” visits show no trend.

  • Growth is “nature based” destinations.

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  • Sun-and-sand resort tourism has now “matured as a market” and its growth is projected to remain flat. In contrast, “experiential” tourism--which encompasses ecotourism, nature, heritage, cultural, and soft adventure tourism, as well as sub- sectors such as rural and community tourism—is among the sectors expected to grow most quickly over the next two decades.

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Economics of mass tourism vs ecotourism

  • In Costa Rica, tourism (most of which is ecotourism) generates $1000/visitor while in France, standard tourism generates only $400/visitor.

  • In Dominica, in the Caribbean, “stay over” tourists using small, nature-based lodges spent 18 times more than cruise passengers spend while visiting the island.

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  • 80% of money for all-inclusive package tours goes to airlines, hotels, and other international companies. Eco-lodges hire and purchase locally, and therefore put a higher – sometimes as much as 95% of money into the local economy.

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  • A survey of U.S., British, and Australian travelers revealed that 70% would pay up to $150 more for a two-week stay in a hotel with a “responsible environmental attitude”.

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Costa Rica

One country’s experience with ecotourism

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Small country. Rich Biodiversity

  • About the size of West Virginia

  • 0.03 per cent of world’s land surface

  • More than 10% of the world’s land biodiversity

  • Costa Rica biodiversity is nearly 1000 times above average.

  • 25% of country has some level of protection.

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Birds, bats, and frogs make up most of the vertebrate diversity

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Decline of tropical amphibians

Are tourists (or maybe ecologists) transporting the chytrid fungal pathogen into new regions?

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Why is Costa Rica so rich in biodiversity?

  • Tropical

  • Two coasts

  • Wet and dry forests

  • Montane forests

  • Admixtures from North and South America

  • Periodic isolation

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Biodiversity: Species

  • 9000+ higher plants (900+trees, 1500+ orchids)

  • 850+ birds (50+ hummingbirds)

  • 200+ mammals (50% are bats !)

  • 150+ amphibians (few salamanders)

  • 200+ reptiles (mostly snakes)

  • 300000++ insects (10% world’s butterflies)

  • Total more than 500000 species!!

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Who is responsible?

  • Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE) delegates to…

  • National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC)

  • 1998, Biodiversity Law

  • 1999, National Strategy for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity

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  • National Strategy was highly participatory

  • Biodiversity Law established National Commission for Biodiversity Management (CONAGEBIO).

  • CONAGEBIO together with SINAC are responsible for natural resources

  • Internationally, Costa Rica has ratified such agreements as CITES, Ramsar, Kyoto, etc.

  • Committed publicly to be carbon neutral in 10-20 years

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UGA has a field station in Costa Rica with programs that embrace such themes as conservation, agroecology, anthropology, insect natural history, tropical birds, among others.

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Future of Costa Rica: Foreign owned resorts (lower left) or Costa Rican owned nature lodges (lower right) ? And, land prices on coast and in mountains increased more than 10 fold in past 15 years. Ordinary land is being priced beyond the reach of most Costa Ricans.

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Ecotourism problems

  • Too many visitors to fragile sites

  • Visitors can’t see the birds, etc.

  • As revenues grow, large tourism operations with little community connection begin to take over.

  • Land prices and cost of living increase.

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The Emerald Pool grotto in Dominica

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Emerald Pool when the cruise ship is in port

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A cruise ship of this size can disgorge over 2000 tourists when in port and over a ton of garbage daily.

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Is tourism the salvation or the curse of the Galapagos?

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Forest birds use shade-grown coffee farms. Birds are easier to see, farmers earn fees, tourist learns about coffee.

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