Ecotourism has been credited with conserving biological and cultural diversity, alleviating rural poverty, increasing public awareness of environmental concerns and strengthening ties between tourism operators and local populations. For these reasons, ecotourism has grown in popularity with tourists as well as governmental development agencies and conservation organizations.
Over twenty years after its inception, it now needs to be asked: Does ecotourism measure up to its environmental, social and economic ideals?
Using detailed case studies, regional overviews and thematic analyses, this book evaluates the pros and cons of ecotourism for communities and ecosystems. Focusing particularly on the Americas, perspectives are drawn from private tour operators, non-governmental conservation and development organizations, local and indigenous communities and tourism researchers. Chapters discuss local benefits and conservation value through discussions of social impacts, the assessment of conservation potential, environmental education and the setting and maintaining of standards.