, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 293-305

Ecotourism and commodification: protecting people and places

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The ability of ecotourism to protect both people and places is an unresolved, and growing, concern. Commodification of host culture and environment is a widely reported social impact of tourism and spawns an array of implications regarding indigenous people's view of their places and themselves. The degree of impact from ecotourism development is related to the degree of market development within the indigenous community and their state of decline regarding natural resource scarcity. Pre-existing power differentials between local people and other groups may be exacerbated by ecotourism development. To protect both people and their places, native people's claim to control should be legitimized by conservation and government authorities, particularly indigenous people's role in technical management of the protected area. Regional and national government controls are relevant at the inception of ecotourism development, but ultimately should be reduced to one of infrastructure planning and coordination.