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Ecotourism in South American Countries: Has the Agenda Changed?

Satisfactory Essays
Ecotourism in South American Countries: Has the Agenda Changed?

In many South American countries, there is a program in effect called Ecotourism. When the idea was initially though of, many of the developing countries of South America, had very poor economies as well as many suffering people. To act as a means of improving the status of these poor countries, the idea of Ecotourism was developed. In essence, Ecotourism is a program that permits tourists to visit and explore countries in South America while contributing their foreign capital to local economies. For the tourist, this is a great opportunity to see places of the world that have not been destroyed or inhabited by many. Though the idea of Ecotourism was one with good intentions, the local people in the countries where Ecotourism has been in effect are not gaining much at all. For this reason, I do not think that Ecotourism should be a continuing program in these countries. If the native people (whose best interest was at heart initially) are not benefiting from Ecotourism, then why has it been allowed to exist? The answer is simple: greed and selfishness.

History of Ecotourism:

The idea that led to Ecotourism emerged in the late sixties when people like Oswaldo Muñoz, now president of the Ecuadorian Ecotourism Association, started guiding tourists around their countries to view natural wonders. Many companies began to set up lodging near parks and reserves and even began to develop tours of those areas. The vision of showing off exotic plants, animals and the overall natural beauty of countries like Ecuador also attracted them. Yet early on, this did little to help the local economies. It actually contributed to other problems: In Ecuador, half of the country's rain forest disappeared, and environmental groups and other organizations promoting ecotourism flocked to places where endangered species, including many indigenous populations, lived. But with the growing environmental awareness of the seventies and the realization that large resorts like Acapulco and Cancun were devastating to the environment, both governmental and non-governmental organizations began to look for ways to both protect the environment and stimulate local economies. Thus ecotourism was born.

Ecotourism Today:

Ecotourism began in hopes of developing local economies in South American countries while attracting tourists to the natural beauty and exotic wonders of the land. The Vermont-based Ecotourism Society defines it as "responsible travel to natural areas, which conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.
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