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Author : Peter Varga
School/Work Place : Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne, Switzerland
Contact : peter.varga@ehl.ch
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
6 Think Tank IV Cultural Tourism as a Means for Sustainability in a Ma... file 2730 Oct 13, 2013

Tourism has become for many islands a means of social, economic and cultural development through the creation of jobs, raising standards of living and through the development of local resources for culture and heritage. Thus, many of these d...

Author: Chryso Panayidou 

Year: 2004 

5 Think Tank IV Impediments to Sustainable Service Quality in Luxury H... file 14883 Oct 13, 2013

In order for tourism to be sustainable in the long term, there must be continued viability of tourism related entities (Tesone 2004), that is business operations must be sustainable. Hotels are major tourism entities and play an important ro...

Author: Rayka Presbury 

Year: 2004 

4 Think Tank IV After the Sydney Olympic Games: Sustainable Infrastruc... file 2485 Oct 13, 2013

Olympic Games epitomize the definition of a mega event, due to the size and scope that these events have in terms of participation, worldwide viewing and infrastructure development. However with the commercialization of these events over the...

Author: Sacha Reid 

Year: 2004 

3 Think Tank IV Sustainability and Mass Destinations: Challenges and P... file 3326 Oct 13, 2013

In year 2001, the Government of the Balearic Islands decided to establish a tourism tax, named "ecotax", as an important measure to achieve a more sustainable tourism model for the islands. This paper analyses the background of the ecotax, t...

Author: Antoni Serra Cantallops 

Year: 2004 

2 Think Tank IV Sustainability in a Mature Mass-Tourism Destination: T... file 3148 Oct 13, 2013

Most destinations are struggling to achieve sustainability for their economies, their environments, their cultures and their tourism industries. This laudatory, idealistic and complex process involves many sectors of the industry, the commun...

Author: Pauline Sheldon, John Knox & Kem Lowry 

Year: 2004 

1 Think Tank IV The Benefits of Visitor and Non-Visitor Research in th... file 2248 Oct 13, 2013

Our premise in this paper is that if sustainable tourism development and management is to meet the needs of both the present and the future then it is equally important to prioritise research on those who visit tourism destinations (and incl...

Author: Pat Sterry & Debra Leighton 

Year: 2004 

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