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Transcript of Ecotourism
Natasha Mussman Ecotourism's Support of Biodiversity Conservation Marnie P. Bookbinder, et al. Insights and Implications from Two Successful Case Studies Adam Weinberg, et. al. Research Design:
Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica and Kaikoura, New Zealand
10 weeks during the summer of 2000
Interviews, informal conversations, and research into the history of the areas Escaping from Reality Luis Vivanico Case Study: Monteverde, Costa Rica Case Study: Kaikoura, New Zealand Case Study: Galapagos Archipelago Negative Impacts of Ecotourism Social Factors: Economic Factors: Ecological Factors: Potential Benefits of Ecotourism Profit from tourism can directly benefit the conservation of the destination area, such as funding restoration and monitoring of natural areas. Raises appreciation of nature in both visitors and locals. Provides potential income for locals. Allows both nature and local communities to thrive, without one benefitting at the expense of the other. Improves local infrastructure such as roads and electricity. Disturbance to wildlife Vegetation damage from means of transport Litter and human waste Environmental impacts of hotels, camps, etc. Ecotourism is loosely defined as nature-based travel, often to relatively undisturbed parts of the globe. Leakages of revenue Unequal distribution of benefits (nepotism, failed "multiplier effects," limited local investment opportunities) Wealth differentiation -- limited opportunities and inflation. New sources of stratification. Breakdown of traditional authority. Escalating material desires. Social problems. Cultural decay. Can ecotourism remain sustainable and avoid
becoming mass tourism? One of the largest private reserves in the world Receives no government assistance Includes three small towns, the two original reserves, and secondary industries that developed since the tourism boom History of Ecotourism in Monteverde Before the mid-20th century, the residents were mostly subsistence-level farmers. 1949: American Quakers arrive, Eternal Forest 1960s: Research biologists, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (MCFR) 1970s: Locals train themselves to become guides (fewer than 100 visitors to MCFR in 1972) 1977: The first hotel is built to accomodate tourists 1986: Monteverde Conservation League, Children's Eternal Rainforest 1989-1993: Tourism boom, economy shifts from agriculture to tourism mid-1990s to present: Number of tourists to MCFR averages 50,000 per year. More opportunities built up around conservation and tourism. Impacts of Ecotourism Positive Impacts
Increase in jobs
Improved living standards including various services
A strong conservationist ethic
Urbanization, loss of the feeling/values of community
Increased traffic, waste, noise level, and pollution
Dramatic increase in price of land
High unemployment during the low season
Greater social inequality
Future of Ecotourism in Monteverde 1. The outside sources that fund these different projects exert pressure to increase tourism so that they can ensure profitability. 2. Despite the efforts of local activists, community members lack political authority and are not really involved in decision making.
Located on the east coast of the South Island Approximately 3000 residents One of the most popular ocean-based ecotourism locales Beginning of Ecotourism in Kaikoura The opportuity to profit from local natural resources was identified by a government employee during the 1980s.
A marine biologist from the U.S. worked with the community to develop ideas for ecotourism.
Different tour companies helped to implement these plans.
Locals developed secondary industries to accomodate tourists and also expanded ecotourism.
Impacts of Ecotourism Improved economy with unemployment at 3%. The government (Department of Conservation, Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1978), ecotourism companies, and locals are all interested and involved in ecological protection. Ecotourism companies provided funds for education, conservation efforts, and infrastructure. Positive Impacts Negative Impacts Loss of the feeling of community Older local businesses replaced with those that cater to wealthy tourists. Traffic problems. Inadequate water, transportation, and solid waste disposal systems given the number of tourists. Future of Ecotourism in Kaikoura 1. Community members, researchers, universities, and NGOs
are looking for solutions to these problems.
2. Barriers to implementing these possible solutions include:
Tour operators that are already competing for tourists are unwilling to spend money on anything that won't positively affect their profit.
The small population of taxpayers can not afford the necessary infrastructure improvements.
The Kaikoura District Councilors are inexperienced, few in number, and lack political authority. They are often up against businesses that are much better equipped.
Similarities Between the Case Studies Although based on indigenous knowledge, the idea of ecotourism came from outside the community.
Ecotourism was initially beneficial to the local community.
Early success brought in more business, which displaced locals.
These businesses try to recoup their investments by expanding ecotourism.
This leads to negative effects, which the locals are politically unable to counteract.
"Ecotourism Treadmills" 1. The opportunity for ecotourism is partially founded on indigenous knowledge.
2. Funding from outside sources might be necessary.
3. Marketing ecotourism usually means involving even more sources that are not local.
4. These outside sources try to bring in more tourists. To do so, more promotion and development are undertaken
5. This leads to a cycle of continuing ecotourism development
6. Locals, who are aware of these problems, get displaced as companies expand and the travel promotion industry attempts to bring in more tourists.
7. Eventually, local ecotourism is overtaken by the industries involved in mass tourism, which ecotourism becomes.
Research Findings 1. Despite common assumptions, the problems of ecotourism are known and fixable, and their solutions are economically viable.
2. The existing political systems are unable to control economic action. The Appeal of Ecotourism Case Study: Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal 1. Large numbers of people travel to RCNP for:
Highest recorded density of tigers
Second largest population of greater one-horned rhinoceros
Ecotourism in RCNP 2. Wildlife threatened by fragmentation, degradation, and conversion to agriculture 3. Number of visitors increases annually 4. Increase in hotel construction in Sauraha Goal of this study: Evaluate local people's economic growth from the RCNP and ecotourism in and around the park. Research Design 7 of 36 villages studied
Used 6 locals to conduct surveys of managers and employees
144 interviews total
Collected data was cross-checked with data provided by hotels RCNP: Employment in Ecotourism Majority of locals are subsistence-level farmers
Fewer than 1100 of 87,000 locals employed by ecotourism industry
Earnings -- demand and employment of locals as nature guides is key
Direct and indirect household income generated by work related to ecotourism: 1. Direct income generated by employment as guides, cooks, elephant "drivers"
2. Indirect income from the sale of products or the provision of services. Includes: souvenir sales, cultural dance performances, work as non-hotel based guides. It can provide both economic and ecological success
It is "effective for promoting the conservation of endangered species and habitats in developing countries"
It does so by creating economic incentives for local communities, promotes local guardianship of biological reserves Research Findings Average wage was $28 per month or $336 per
year (according to hotel: $32/mo., $384/yr)
49 hotels in RCNP generated $4.5 million in 1994 alone
61% of hotels are owned by non-locals
Only ~1100 villagers (1% of total working age locals) were employed (in 1995, <2% were women)
140 nature guides employed: 74% (104) were permanent residents, 26% migrated to the area within the past 5 years, 2% were women
Only 44 households (4% of those surveyed) reported having family directly employed in the ecotourism industry
Only 2% of households earned money from sale of products or services
Dramatic decrease in household earnings as distance from central area increases Ecotourism in RCNP: Limited Benefits to Locals Employment potential is low
Direct income is low
Indirect income is virtually nonexistent
54% of hotel reservations are made outside of Sauraha
Because ecotourism is undervalued, everything is relatively inexpensive
Due to the lack of benefits, there is no reason for the locals to view the park in a positive manner or to refrain from collecting firewood or poaching wildlife Improvements as of 1996: Legal mechanism to distribute ecotourism revenue to local villagers
50% of park entry fees and a portion of the taxes must go to the local community
Prior to this, only a small fraction of the revenue was reinvested in the park and none to the community
Conclusions Privately owned ecotourism without the proper regulations is exploitative and unlikely to put enough money into local communities to effect a change in local attitudes regarding conservation
Local support for biodiversity conservation requires a combination of co-ownership, comanagement, and policy reforms
Ecotourism, because it is a tourists' market, gets only a small amount of its potential profit, leaving economic condiitons for locals unchanged
Solutions? Community-based microenterprise approach is currently being tested.
Successful ecotourism requires revenue to get to locals, so ICDP might work.
Community managed tourism is owned by local village groups. This fosters change in local attitudes ultimately resulting in conservation of endangered species and habitats as well as increased benefits for locals.
Because ecotourism development needs well-defined mechanisms for profit sharing with locals, legislation that permits a percentage of profits to be recycled to local community development might also work. Characteristics of Successful Ecotourism Planning:
At minimum, there should be a code of practice
Voluntary schemes of compliance can develop from these codes of practice
This compliance can be further improved by setting up a system of accreditation
Controlled by a broader ICDP
Regulated by the government Located in the Pacific Ocean, 1000 km west of Ecuador
High levels of endemism due to its isolation and the late arrival of humans
Island biodiversity enormously and negatively impactd by the introduction of foreign animals and plants Conservation Efforts 1959: 90% of the land was declared a national park
1960: Charles Darwin Research Station was established
1978: World Heritage Site
1984: biosphere reserve
1998: the waters surrounding the islands became the Galapagos Marine Reserve
Despite these successes, by 1996 the archipelago was in danger of losing its WHS status Negative Effects of Ecotourism Despite strict rules regarding tourism, by 1996 ecotoruism was becoming mass tourism with 62,000 people visiting annually
When too many people are on any of the islands at one time, the animals are disturbed and trails damaged
Permanent population has increased due to immigrants looking for work
Overfishing and a growing black market in marine life endanger marine species Present Situation In 1998, despite violent opposition from different politicians and businesses, a Special Law for the Conservation of the Galapagos was passed.
The government keeps out large-scale tourism
Very little revenue from tourism reaches the islanders
Tourist numbers are still not under control Problems with Ecotourism After September 11th ecotourism decreased dramatically
There are worries that ecotourism will lead to: degradation of ecosystems, loss of biological and cultural diversity, disruption of local economies, dispacement, dispossession
Ecotourism also faces resistane from the community, usually inidgenous peoples and groups Economics of Ecotourism The World Bank and other organizations have published studies showing that ecotourism has not generated substantial income for either the parks it is intended to protect or for the people living in the surrounding areas
As much as 75% of the revenue of ecotourims does not even remian in the destination country
Problems in consistent revenue arise since tourism relies on low-paying and seasonal labor conditions Negative Results of Ecotourism When there are many ecotourism sites in a small amount of land, they end up competing for the majority of the market, which is counterproductive
Ecotourism sites vary in every area and need to have specific people dealing with each to make sure they are carried out correctly
Most of these sites are in remote areas and numerous nonrenewable resources are used to access them
Sometimes ecotourism, instead of bringing money to the local people, chases them out of the land they have lived on for centuries