Organización para Estudios Tropicales, (OET), Costa Rica
Bibliografía Nacional en Biología Tropical, (BINABITROP)

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Signatura:Biblioteca OET: NBINA-16810.
Autor: Driscoll, Laura; Hunt, Carter A; Honey, Martha; Durham, William H.
Dirección: Institute for Policy Studies, Peace and Security Programme, 733 15th St. NW, Suite 1020, Washington, DC 20005, US E-mail: ecotourism@ips-dc.org.
Título: The importance of ecotourism as a development and conservation tool in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. La importancia del ecoturismo con una herramienta de desarrollo y conservación en la Península de Osa, Costa Rica.
P.imprenta: 62 pp. Año 2011. Editorial Stanford, CA, Center for Responsible Travel, US.
Descriptores: ECOTOURISM; TOURISM INDUSTRY; SECTORAL ANALYSIS; NATIONAL PARKS; TOURISM IMPACT; TOURISM DEVELOPMENT; CRUISE TOURISM; LAND USE CHANGE; RESORT AND RESIDENTIAL TOURISM; REAL ESTATE MARKET; COASTAL TOURISM; JOB CREATION; POVERTY; WILLINGNESS TO PAY; PROTECTED AREAS.
COSTA RICA; CENTRAL AMERICA.
PARQUE NACIONAL CORCOVADO; PENINSULA DE OSA; GOLFO DULCE; DANTA LODGE; LA PALOMA LODGE; IGUANA LODGE; AGUILA DE OSA LODGE; JINETES DE OSA LODGE; LAPA RIOS ECOLODGE; PUNTA ISLITA RESORT; EL PARADOR RESORT & SPA.
Resumen: The Osa Peninsula is the last remaining section of Costa Rica's Pacific coast where ecotourism is the dominant economic activity. It therefore offers a unique possibility to ground test the economic, social and environmental impacts of ecotourism compared with other employment alternatives as well as to make possible some comparisons with the type of large-scale resort and vacation home tourism prevalent along the northern and central Pacific coast. The following are the key findings that emerged from this field study. The field team conducted 128 interviews with local residents of the Osa in and around Drake Bay and Puerto Jiménez, including 70 interviews with ecolodge employees and 58 with residents not working in tourism. The ecolodge employees included housekeepers, kitchen staff, bar and wait staff, maintenance and grounds workers, and front desk employees; managers are covered in a separate category. The occupations of non-tourism workers included agriculturalists and livestock managers, shopkeepers, school teachers, medical professionals, small business owners, and members of local skilled trades. Here are some key findings from these interviews: Local employment: Tourism workers are younger, more predominantly male, and far more likely tobe from the Osa than non-tourism workers (58% compared with 35%). This indicates that small-scale nature-based tourism is an important employment opportunity for the Osa and that, unlike many other tourism destinations, tourism is not built significantly on imported labor. Expansion of ecotourism therefore would appear to be a good tool for helping to curb outward migration from the Osa Peninsula. Income: Tourism workers? monthly income is almost twice as high as those of workers not in tourism ($709.70 versus $357.12). Further, tourism workers reported that their total monthly household incomes were 1.6 times higher than households where no one works in tourism ($784 vs. $503). Therefore, ecotourism in the Osa is generating higher incomes for local residents than employment in the other locally-available types of employment, even during the "worst" months of the year. Household expenditures: Spending patterns are roughly the same for households with and without tourism workers, although households with tourism workers have more disposable income ($338 per month vs. $162). Further, tourism workers were two times more likely than non-tourism workers to feel that their jobs had allowed them to progress. Attitudes towards the future: Employment in tourism is viewed as a stepping stone to new employment or to management-level opportunities. Tourism workers reported they are far less likely than non-tourism workers to be in their present job in the future. Rather tourism employees are more likely to have changed jobs to positions of greater skill and more likely to want to start their own tourism related business. Tourism workers exhibit a greater entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to change jobs according to opportunities and personal goals than do non-tourism workers. Quality of life: While both tourism and non-tourism workers said they feel they are living "a good life", the percentage was higher for tourism workers (74% vs. 66%). In addition, tourism workers were also almost 3 times as likely toemphasize the importance of stable work as part of quality of life. Tourism Expansion: A majority of both tourism workers and non-tourism workers indicated a desire to see more tourists arriving in the Osa (63% for tourism workers and 76% for non-tourismworkers). However, tourism workers gave a much higher percentage of qualified answers (16% vs. only 2% from those not working in tourism), suggesting that tourism workers have greater familiarity with the potential negative impacts of tourism. Attitudes towards current issues facing the Osa: New international airport: Tourism workers were better informed (87% vs. 57%) about building a new international airport at Palmar Sur, and were more likely opposed to (25% vs. 5%). However, a majority in both groups favor the airport, viewing it as bringing development and increasing employment opportunities. Cruise ships in Golfo Dulce: By nearly the same percentages, both groups see cruise ships as positive: 48% in favor, 12% against for tourism workers and 45% in favor and 19% against for non-tourism workers. Presence of foreigners: Tourism workers were more than twice as likely as non-tourism workers to have a negative opinion about foreign-owned homes in the Osa (37% for tourism workers vs. 17% non-tourism),while both groups view sales of land to foreigners as more negative (31% and 34%) than positive (19% and 22%). On the other hand, both groups felt that the presence of foreigners was more positive (30% and 29%) than negative (14% and 12%). This would indicate a somewhat negative attitude towards foreign vacation home and property owners, particularly among tourism workers, while the overall presence of foreigners is seen as more positive than negative. National parks: Both groups gave overwhelmingly positive responses towards national parks: 85% positive for tourism workers, and 74% for non-tourism workers. This appears to represent a substantial shift in the attitudes of Osa residents who historically opposed the top down declaration of Corcovado and other parks and the exclusion of local people who had depended on these lands for their livelihoods. This finding suggests that ecotourism, with its commitment to benefiting both local livelihoods and the environment, plus government and NGO efforts to promote poverty alleviation and create income-generating alternatives for communities living in and near protected areas, have helped to improve local attitudes towards national parks. Environmental issues: Respondents from both tourism work and non-tourism work overwhelmingly agreed that the worst threat to local species diversity at the present time was hunting, followed by deforestation. Yet 37.5% of non-tourism workers reported they had extracted items (such as wood, plants, and seeds) from the forest in the last year, compared to only 17.5% -- less than half as many - for tourism workers. While more research is needed to understand the reasons behind these differences, other studies found that ecotourism has sensitized employees to environmental issues. Overall, the two groups both see positive changes in education, job training, and value given to nature, and a decline in hunting and deforestation. On the negative side, both groups see increases in land and consumer prices, sale of land to foreigners, and alcoholism, drug addiction, and prostitution
Compiled by: Organization for Tropical Studies


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