The Ecotourism Game
Bring in Quito travel agency
Gilberto, the manager of ADVENTURAS AMAZONIAS, agrees to help
your community develop the ecotourism project. He scouts out several trails
through the rainforest. He builds several tourist cabins on the banks of
the Río Pangayacu. He hires your grandfather Alonso to demonstrate
a shamanic ritual using hallucinogenic drugs from the rainforest.
Within a month, Gilberto begins bringing tour groups to your
community. The tourists are interested in your way of life, and they are
especially fascinated by Alonso's rituals. Some like the hallucinogenic
drug so much that they try to buy more to use later during their stay, or
even to take home.
But the drugs are part of Quichua traditions and should not
be used outside of special ceremonies. Some of your neighbors think that
giving these drugs to tourists lessens the meaning of the rituals.
The tourists also stare and take photographs, making some
Quichua feel like they are in a zoo.
Gilberto refuses to impose restrictions on the tourists, saying
that they are on vacation and should be able to do as they please. He also
points to the money everyone is making from tourism and asks who wants to
give it up.
|There has been little change in land use. Currently about a third of all community land is primary rainforest.
||Families are enjoying their extra income from tourism. At this rate, each household will make about $300 more this year than last year.
The money isn't enough to quiet the protests. After several
months, the people of Pangayacu decide to cancel their agreement with Gilberto.
Some want to ban tourists from the community. Others want to try running
the project locally. What do you want to do?
Ban tourism completely
Try local control