Financial Impacts of Ecotourism

Financial Impacts of Ecotourism
In the rush to be earth-friendly, many tourism businesses have hopped on the bandwagon of ecotourism. But the financial impact of environmentally sound vacationing can be both a benefit and a burden to the countries hosting green-footed travelers.


In his article, "The Economic Impacts of Ecotourism," Kreg Lindberg explained that a common ecotourism goal is the creation of economic benefits, whether profits for companies, community jobs or park revenue. Ecotourism can create jobs in remote areas that benefit less from economic development programs than major cities.


"The annual amount spent on tourism internationally exceeded $444 billion at the beginning of the 21st century," said Wendy Vanasselt, author of "Ecotourism and Conservation: Are They Compatible." According to Vanasselt, ecotourism may comprise 40 to 60 percent of tourist spending and it's popularity is growing by 10 to 30 percent each year.


"Each year tourists to the Galapagos Islands spend nearly $60 million, providing an income for an estimated 80 percent of the islands' residents," said Vanasselt. However, migrants seeking tourism jobs on the islands nearly tripled the area's permanent population over a 15-year period.


According to an article on, more than 90 percent of ecotourism revenues in Zimbabwe and Nepal's Annapurna region are expatriated to other countries; less than five percent reach local communities.


Ecotourists should advocate the sale of local handicrafts, use of local lodging and the use of locally-grown food in restaurants, as well as the implementation of training programs that enable locals to fill positions as tour guides, hotel managers and park rangers, according to Vanasselt.

Article Written By David J. Harvey

David J. Harvey has worked as a journalist since 2006, while earning a degree in political science and writing at the University of California, San Diego. He has written and edited for the UCSD "Guardian" and the AUC "Caravan" in Cairo, and currently freelances with San Diego's "Uptown News."

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