Ecotourism and the Development of Indigenous Communities: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
A large part of the literature analyzing the links between biodiversity conservation and community development assumes that nature-based tourism managed by indigenous communities will result not only in conservation of natural resources but also in increased development. In practice, indigenous communities have often failed to implement successful ecotourism projects due to a combination of factors, including isolation and a lack of financial resources, management skills, and infrastructure. Based on a review of experiences, we analyze the complex interaction among the factors shaping the success and failure of ecotourism experiences in indigenous communities, and we stress the need for a better approach to indigenous-based ecotourism. Moreover, use of complementary economics instruments and marketing of so-called charismatic species may be crucial elements for maximizing revenues of the ecotourism activities.