The Ecotourism Game
Pay all the proceeds to the Quichua
Without money for maintenance and improvements, the tourist
facilities begin to decay. Tourists notice that the rainforest is encroaching
on the tourist compound but few say anything, since they expected fairly
simple and rough accommodations.
Meanwhile, the people of Pangayacu are making more money from
ecotourism than they ever did from agriculture. At first they are cautious
with the money, spending it on long-delayed essentials like clothing and
tools. Within a few months, however, nearly everyone has new clothes and
has replaced their thatch roof with one made of tin. Some of the more adventurous
members begin buying radios, stereos, and electronic watches and games.
Tourists look unhappy with the new wealth of the community.
Some complain that the Quichua here are no longer authentic--they don't
look like Amazon Indians anymore. Word spreads quickly. Tourists begin seeking
out indigenous communities deeper in the Amazon. The ecotourism project
begins to decline.
When it becomes obvious that tourism is no longer viable,
the people of the community abandon the project and return to their fields.
Few saved any money frm the brief ecotourism bonanza and almost everyone
has to clear more forest to plant the crops necessary to make a living.
|Most Quichua clear a few hectares of primary forest to plant coffee and rice for the market. Less than 10% of the land remains in rainforest.
||As income from tourism drops, the Quichua focus on agriculture to maintain their standard of living.
This is the end of the ecotourism game.
Would you like to see what happens if you split
the proceeds between the Quichua and the ecotourism project?