2 References:Peter Sjøholt: Eco-tourism and local development. Conceptual and theoretical framework and problems in implementation. Empirical evidence from Costa Rica and Ecuador
3 What is tourism?”travel outside one’s home place with purpose of gaining new experience”Smitt (1977): ”the tourist as a leisured person who voluntarily visits a place away from home for the purpose of experiencing a change”
4 Some basic facts about tourism Broad classification of tourists:Tourist mainly seeking recreationCulturally attached travellersEnvironmentally conscious holidaymakers
5 Some basic facts about tourism We have growing share of nature tourism world-wide:1990: 20%1995: 40-45%But only 17% of nature tourism can be classified as eco-tourism
6 EcotourismTIES defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people."
7 What is ecotourism?While there is not a universal definition for ecotourism, its general characteristics can be summarized as follows (WTO definition):1. All nature-based forms of tourism in which the main motivation of the tourists is the observation and appreciation of nature as well as the traditional cultures prevailing in natural areas2. It contains educational and interpretation features3. It is generally, but not exclusively organized for small groups by specialized and small, locally owned businesses. Foreign operators of varying sizes also organize, operate and/or market ecotourism tours, generally for small groups.4. It minimizes negative impacts upon the natural and socio-cultural environment5. It supports the protection of natural areas by • generating economic benefits for host communities, organizations and authorities managing natural areas with conservation purposes, • providing alternative employment and income opportunities for local communities, • increasing awareness towards the conservation of natural and cultural assets, both among locals and tourists.
8 About ecotourismOver the years, it has also become clear that some concerns still need to be wholly addressed in ecotourism, such as:land tenure and control of the ecotourism development process by host communities,efficiency and fairness of the current concept of protected areas for protection of biological and cultural diversitythe need for additional precautions and monitoring when operating in especially sensitive areasindigenous and traditional rights in areas suitable for ecotourism development(source: WTO)
9 About ecotourismEcotourism involves a lot of participants, often with conflicting interests: stakeholders, rural development agents, the tourism industry, government, local population, different organizations and institutionsTrends: eco-tourists are people with real motivation of protecting environment and culture
10 Implementation problems Capacity problemsEnvironmental, economic, social and cultural carrying capacityInfrastructures problemsCommunications, lines and networksViable eco-tourism: regulated, carefully managed and controlled? Or market forces?Conflict between economically sustainable and environmentally sustainable
11 Costa Rica: characteristics Small native population and their cultureDeforestation, national parks and reservesEnvironmental varietyBiodiversity both in flora and fauna: 5% of planet’s species (insect fauna)
12 Cost Rica: eco-tourism Boost in mid 1980sHigh grow rate1996: 12 % of population working in activities linked to the tourism clustersInternational interestsLocal entrepreneursGeographical concentration: 40% of the tourism capacity is around San Josè
13 Cost Rica: eco-tourism No spatial policyIncome distributionReserves and indigenous populationSmall-scale businesses and eco-tourismConclusion: general lack of social and territorial perspectiveBut: long term sustainable benefits to the country