Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 293–305

Ecotourism and commodification: protecting people and places

  • David A. King
  • William P. Stewart

DOI: 10.1007/BF00051775

Cite this article as:
King, D.A. & Stewart, W.P. Biodivers Conserv (1996) 5: 293. doi:10.1007/BF00051775


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.


conservation tourism cultural survival international travel rural development policies 

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. King
    • 1
  • William P. Stewart
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Renewable Natural ResourcesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism SciencesTexas A & M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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