Author : Peter Varga
School/Work Place : Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne, Switzerland
Contact :
Year : 2013

The question how native societies cope with the increasing pressure of global values, such as sustainability, westernization and democratic institutions has been asked in the last decades (Smith, 1989; Honey, 1999; Nash, 2001; Honey, 2008). Ecuador, as an important tourism destination in South America, has focused on eco-oriented tourism practices since the last decade of the 20th Century. Due to this increased global interest in the country’s diverse natural and cultural settings, ethnic groups in tourism destinations have experienced the growing demand for sociocultural adaptation not only to the tourists’ behaviors and expectations (Doxey, 1976) but also to the organizational strategies of the external stakeholders. As one of the central interests in the discipline of anthropology of tourism, various scholars have been focusing on the impacts of today’s tourism practices in the host populations (Chambers, 1997; Burns, 1999; Mowforth and Munt, 2009; Macleod and Carrier, 2010).

The present research is interested in how a local, indigenous community, the Siona in the Ecuadorian Amazon, has been experiencing the growing presence of the externally-led tourism practices in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Ecuador. Tourism statistics show a sixty-three-fold increase in tourist arrivals between 1984 and 2010, indicating an important growth in the sector (Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism, 2010). The author of this paper carried out several anthropological field-works in the area since 2001 (twelve months in 2001 and some shorter periods afterwards), with the objective to understand the current changes in the locals’ social structure due to, primarily, the increasing presence of non-native tourism actors in the reserve and second, the growing competition for tourism revenues not only between indigenous communities, but also within native families. The research highlights the growing lack of “interactive-participation” of the natives in tourism dynamics (Pretty, 1995). As one of the various responses from the Siona in front of this degrading situation, some families established a new community and started to revitalize certain traditional practices as authentic elements of their culture in order to attract more tourism revenues (Urry and Larsen, 2011).

List of Articles
No. Subject Views Datesort
7 Think Tank XIV Exploring Policy, Politics and Governance through Stak... file 4347 Jun 27, 2014

This paper looks at the development of an ecotrekking industry on the Kokoda Track and demonstrates how the use of participatory methods in community based tourism can align two different “regimes of truth” (that of the community and of the ...

Author: Stephen Wearing, Paul Chatterton & Amy Reggers 

Year: 2014 

» Think Tank XIII Striving for Environmental Sustainability through Soci... file 5398 Nov 06, 2013

The question how native societies cope with the increasing pressure of global values, such as sustainability, westernization and democratic institutions has been asked in the last decades (Smith, 1989; Honey, 1999; Nash, 2001; Honey, 2008). ...

Author: Peter Varga 

Year: 2013 

5 Think Tank XI Sustainable Tourism Course Structure and Associated St... file 13615 Oct 14, 2013

The author has developed and delivered Sustainable Tourism (S.T.) related courses at Institutions of Higher Education in Paris, London, Helsinki, and Parnu, Estonia over the last 10 years. The focus of the presentation would be the S.T. con...

Author: James Holleran 

Year: 2011 

4 Think Tank IX What do sustainable tourism researchers value? An anal... file 5512 Oct 13, 2013

Sustainable Tourism has emerged as a major field of specialisation within tourism and has been so pervasive that some have suggested that the field represents a fifth platform of tourism research, while others have argued that the field has...

Author: Pierre Benckendorff 

Year: 2009 

3 Think Tank IX Recreation Specialisation and Destination Image: A cas... file 1801 Oct 13, 2013

Papua New Guinea (PNG) should be to Australia what Costa Rica and Belize are to the USA – a proximate and successful tourist destination that attracts sustainable numbers of tourists drawn to the extraordinary diversity of endemic wildlife,...

Author: Kevin Lyons, Kevin Markwell & Patricia Johnson 

Year: 2009 

2 Think Tank VIII Environmental Education and Ecotourism: A Case Study o... file 5646 Oct 13, 2013

In this paper we take the standpoint that environmental education and ecotourism are highly related and depend on each other, and that ecotourism cannot be achieved without proper environmental education. Furthermore, in order to achieve qu...

Author: Mojca Arsenijevic & Marko Bohanec 

Year: 2008 

1 Think Tank VI Ecotourism and Environmental Education: Opportunities ... file 51564 Oct 13, 2013

Ecotourism, which typically involves nature-based tourism, plays an increasing role in today's environmental management. As environmental conservation has, in many cases, suffered from a limited budget, funding ecotourism is perceived as a w...

Author: Aphirom Promchanya 

Year: 2006