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Is ecotourism the way forward for countries such as Ecuador?

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Is ecotourism the way forward for countries such as Ecuador? Environment - international agreements: Party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands. Introduction Ecuador is situated in western South America. Its neighbouring countries consist of Peru and Columbia and it borders the Pacific Ocean at the Equator. Quito is its capital. Ecuador is an LEDC because of many factors of economical detriment; It remains a lower middle income nation with a gross domestic product of $30.7 billion, or $4,300 per capita. In South America, only Bolivia has a lower per capita GDP. Agriculture (primarily bananas, coffee, and cacao) and fishing are important sectors of the economy, together providing 50% of export earnings. Petroleum, the other major export commodity, produces 40% of export earnings. Being solely made up of primary goods, income is irregular and small. Its import commodities consist of vehicles, medical products, telecommunications equipment and electricity, all of it manufactured goods (excluding electricity) which have substantially more value than its exports. This could lead to the danger of having a trade deficit, increasing its foreign debt. Ecuador's chronically large foreign debt stifles its economic growth. Its public debt is 40.1% of GDP and its current account balance is $-566million. 70% of the population lives below the poverty line, more than double the rate of 5 years ago. Its birth rate is 22.29 births per 1000 population as opposed to Britain's 10.71 births per 1000. ...read more.


This will increase the amount of money spent on imports, which may lead to money needing to be borrowed increasing national debt. It doesn't help that usually only 10-20% of the income received from tourists actually stays in the country. Most hotels are foreign-owned and profits go overseas, and tourists spend most of their money in hotels. More consequences from the mass building of hotels is that it will mean local people may lose their homes, land and livelihood. For example, fishermen could be affected as hotels are built next to beaches, people will become dependent on serving wealthy tourists. If for close to a decade after the adoption of commercial tourism, and no companies have sought to seriously examine Ecuador's tourism industry or suggest any need to effectively regulating it, the industry may develop only short term profits. The amount of tourists that enter the country will most likely end up causing permanent damage to the environment, leaving the country unattractive and with significantly less income from the industry. The number of tourists and their wealth have the potential to strongly influence the local environment. Ecotourism Ecotourism means ecological tourism, where ecological has both environmental and social connotations. It is defined both as a concept-tourism movement and as a tourism (specifically sustainable tourism) section. Ecotourism has clear benefits. Poor countries that are rich in biodiversity benefit from the money tourists bring in, supposedly without damaging the environment. "Ecotourism is an alternative activity to overuse of natural resources," says Geoffrey Howard of the East Africa office of IUCN (the World Conservation Union) ...read more.


Tourism must be subject to some constraints, and it must not compromise Ecuador's established designation as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science. If it is not to become a destructive facet of human activity in Ecuador, it cannot increase endlessly and it has to accept some limits on the types and locations of activities. In my opinion the United Nation should support tourism in LEDCs by working on adopting a people-centred policy framework which will create a sustainable economy with little social difficulties. They should help create a good governance at national and international levels, this will enable authorities to act sooner and with more effectiveness on certain situations that need to be settled with care. Also, work to build human and institutional capacities and increase their productivity to make globalisation work for the least developed countries. Enhancing the role of trade in development will most certainly help countries with trade deficits. At the same time taking action to protect and reduce the vulnerability of the environment, which can benefit the countries cultural aspect as well as their economy, like the income from tourism. Lastly, mobilizing the countries' financial resources, to bring the most effective and efficient source of export which, in turn will create more money for the countries to use to push themselves further into development, eventually producing indirect benefits to the countries tourist industry. All of these reflect one way or another what is needed for tourism to work as effectively as possible and will either directly or indirectly benefit the industry as well as the countries themselves Report written on behalf of the UNITED NATIONS (UN) organisation by Alain Ashford 11AS ...read more.

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