Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise?
Ecotourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people." Many see it as a panacea for developing nations -- a source of clean development that can bring wealth to rural communities while simultaneously helping to preserve pristine environments. But has the reality lived up to the promise? And is that even possible.In Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, Martha Honey presents an overview of the ecotourism industry and a first-hand account of ecotourism projects around the world. Based on interviews and visits to ecotourist hotspots in Latin America and Africa, she offers a vivid description and analysis of projects that meet the goals and standards of ecotourism as well as those that claim to be ecotourism but in reality fall short. She presents in-depth case studies of seven destinations (Galapagos, Costa Rica, Cuba, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa) that serve to illustrate the real world of ecotourism. For each, she offers an ecotourism scorecard, grading it on its adherence to the enumerated principles of ecotourism and sustainable development.Honey addresses topics such as the evolution and principles of ecotourism, where profits go, and the mechanics and politics of the tourist industry as a whole. The case studies highlight the economic and cultural impacts of tourism development on indigenous populations as well as on ecosystems. Honey also surveys current thinking and policies of environmental groups, and looks at how political situations, human rights records, and natural resource management influence travel decisions.Ecotourism and Sustainable Development provides a unique and compelling look at the promise and pitfalls of ecotourism. It is the only such account of worldwide ecotourism available today, and is an important guide for students and researchers involved with international development, geography, or tourism, as well as for anyone interested in becoming a more environmentally sensitive traveller.