Ecotourism and the development of indigenous communities: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2012

A large part of the literature analyzing the links between biodiversity conservation and community development assumes that nature-based tourism managed by indigenous communities will result not only in conservation of natural resources but also in increased development. In practice, ecotourism has often failed to deliver the expected benefits to indigenous communities due to a combination of factors, including shortages in the endowments of human, financial and social capital within the community, lack of mechanisms for a fair distribution of the economic benefits of ecotourism, and land insecurity.

Based on a review of experiences, we analyze the complex interaction among the factors shaping the success and failure of ecotourism experiences in indigenous communities, and we stress the need for a better approach to enhance the indigenous communities' livelihood possibilities coming from ecotourism, as well as to promote land tenure and communities' empowerment.

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Publication | 21 December 2011