Ecotourism is an increasingly
popular form of tourism in which tourists seek out wild and scenic areas
such as rainforests or mountains for an active and educational trip. The
tourists are usually from the North America, Europe or Australia/New Zealand;
their destination is often in the developing world.
Ecotourism has also become popular among people interested
in both environmental conservation and sustainable development. It has been
called a way to save the rainforest and a "win-win development strategy
for undeveloped rural areas."
In many situations, however, ecotourism fails to deliver on
its promise. Many researchers have studied ecotourism's failures as well
as its successes. In this game, you can try your hand at developing an ecotourism
project in the Amazon. Can you make ecotourism sustainable? Good luck!
You and your family are
Quichua, an indigenous tribe of the Ecuadorian Amazon. You live in a community
of 100 Quichua on the banks of the Río Pangayacu, near the Río
Napo, an Amazonian tributary. Your community is also called Pangayacu. There
are other Quichua communities in the area, but you must travel by canoe
to reach the nearest town.
and grandparents used to survive by hunting, fishing, and growing a few
crops like plantain (right) and manioc (below) . But times
have changed. You now spend most of the day in the fields growing coffee,
maize (corn) and rice to sell at the market. Many years ago your land was
covered with tropical rainforest, but in the past decade your family cleared
10 of your 15 hectares (25 of 40 acres). You need this land for crops, but
you are also worried about losing the rest of the forest.
Tourists from North America and
Europe have begun showing up in your community. They seem nice enough, but
no one likes guests arriving uninvited. Some people say the community should
avoid anything to do with tourism. Tourists, these people say, interfere
with daily life and tempt the youth with their city ways. But your neighbor
Agustín and several other members think that the community should
develop an ecotourism project. That way, tourists would come on organized
tours and the money they spend would benefit the people who live here. It
might also bring in enough money to replace some agricultural income, so
no one would have to clear more rainforest.
|This pile of plants represents how much primary rainforest your community
has left. Currently about a third of all community land is forested.
||This pile of coins represents household income. Currently each household
earns about $600 a year.|
You and the rest of the community have to decide what to do.
Will ecotourism help preserve the rainforest? Will it bring in money for
food and other goods from the market, school supplies, and other necessities?
Or will it interfere with daily life?
What do you think?
Let's try ecotourism
No, let's not get into tourism