Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)

Reader 1

Emil Morhardt

Reader 2

Sarah Smith Orr

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© 2014 Simone A. Berkovitz

Abstract

With the rapid growth of the global ecotourism industry, the sector has had difficulty attaining its intended goals of environmental responsibility and local development. In recent years, there has been a recognized need for greater incorporation of local communities into tourism operations. This thesis explores the challenges facing ecotourism, while arguing for the potential found in ecotourism enterprises owned and operated by indigenous communities in Ecuador. An analysis of two distinct Ecuadorian cases demonstrates the potential for multi-faceted environmental and social impact in diverse contexts. Finally, by understanding the processes that build impact embedded in the business models, this study reveals key components and strategies applicable to community-based ecotourism around the world.

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