Sustainable Community-Based Ecotourism: Skill Development, Socio-Cultural, Environmental, and Economic Dynamics in Costa Rica and KenyaProject
Ecotourism is an ever growing market, accounting for $77 billion of the annual global tourism industry. Ecotourism is described by the International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”. Though this may seem like a wholly beneficial concept, there are cascading social, environmental, and economic effects on local communities in areas primed for ecotourism. When designing and implementing a new ecotourism venture, it is essential that local agencies and customs are included to promote long-term sustainable tourism. Important factors in community-based ecotourism (CBET) that will be discussed in this paper are skill development, socio-cultural, environmental, and economic dynamics. These criteria will then be applied to case studies in Costa Rica and Kenya to identify threats against local communities and examine and propose solutions moving forward that are beneficial environmentally, socially, and economically for community ecotourism.
GSVS, GSVSCapstone, GSVS2020, Ecotourism, Sustainable Development, Community based, Costa Rica, Kenya, Tourism
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University of Virginia
May 11, 2020