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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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What about this destination?

Guys, don’t answer !


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.

tourism in general

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.
global tourism economy

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
global tourism
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.
global growth of tourism
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
importance to developing countries
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
  • Beginning in 1990s, growing 20% - 34%/year
  • In 2004, ecotourism/nature tourism was growing globally 3 times faster than

tourism industry as a whole.

ecotourism nature tourism
Ecotourism/Nature tourism
  • “Sun and surf” visits show no trend.
  • Growth is “nature based” destinations.
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.
economics of mass tourism vs ecotourism
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.
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.
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”.
costa rica

Costa Rica

One country’s experience with ecotourism

small country rich biodiversity
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.
decline of tropical amphibians

Decline of tropical amphibians

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

why is costa rica so rich in biodiversity
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
biodiversity species
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!!
who is responsible
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
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

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.


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.

ecotourism problems
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.

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


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