The first flush of ecotourism is running into trouble. Claims that we can protect nature, benefit local communities and also bring national revenues to the South are faced with a different reality on the ground. From Thailand to Belize, ecotourism has opened the doors to more forest destruction.† Indigenous peoples in affected areas have been forced out of their traditional lands in some cases. Reports are also growing that such ďtouristsĒ are illegally collecting forest plants with potential medicinal value for the biotechnology industry.
So when the United Nations proclaimed 2002 as International Year of Ecotourism, many NGOs who have been monitoring tourism impacts went on the alert. In October this year, an international coalition of environmental, human rights and indigenous peoples groups launched a call for a fundamental reassessment of the UN Ecotourism Year 2002.
Official Announcement of the International Year of
CLEARINGHOUSE FOR REVIEWING ECOTOURISM:
to Clearinghouse for Reviewing Ecotourism