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These tourists staying at an ecotourism ranch near the Chaco-Pantanal Reserve in Paraguay in 2004 were transported by truck to a birdwatching site. Issues like this suggest the difficulties in determining whether many ecotourism operations are truly ethical or sustainable.
Photo credit: National Biological Information Infrastructure/Andrea Grosse

Responsible ecotourism is ecotourism that is ethically justified, based on the assumption that in return for the benefits that tourists receive from travel, they ought to contribute to environmental conservation and to improvement in the economic situation of poor people, and to show respect for culture. Ecotourism is commonly presented as providing substantial economic social and environmental benefits to host countries, especially poor countries, as a sustainable alternative to extractive industries such as the logging of native forests. However, there ...

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