Argument: Local community benefits from ecotourism are minimal

Issue Report: Ecotourism


  • Anita Pleumarom. “Eco-tourism or Eco-terrorism?” Sustainable Tourism. 1995 – “No local benefits Diverse local social and economic activities are replaced by an eco-tourism monoculture. Contrary to claims, local people do not necessarily benefit from eco-tourism. Tourism-related employment is greatly overrated: locals are usually left with low-paying service jobs such as tour guides, porters, and food and souvenir vendors. In addition, they are not assured of year-round employment: workers may be laid off during the off-season. Most money, as with conventional tourism, is made by foreign airlines, tourism operators, and developers who repatriate profit to their own economically more advanced countries.”
  • A study of the Annapurna region of Nepal, a popular ecotourism destination, found that only 10 cents of every dollar spent stayed in the local economy – and that much of that small amount ended up in the large cities or in the hands of the wealthy elite.