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Ethical Tourism in a Global Economy

Vicos, Peru Ecotourism, also called sustainable, nature, cultural or communal tourism, is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, growing at 20% -34% since 1990 according to a World Tourism Organization press release in June of 2004. Travel Weekly forecasts that ecotourism will account for 25% of the tourism market within six years bringing its value to 472.6 billion US$ a year. (2004). Tourism may be one of the few economic sectors able to guide a number of developing countries to higher levels of prosperity and for some to leave behind their least-developed country status.

In 2007, 1.8 million tourists entered Peru and 150,000 of those visited Huascarán National Park. Vicos is located in the buffer zone of the park. Huascarán received the highest number of visitors of any of Peru's national parks and reserves. The government recognizes 49 natural areas (13% of the country surface) that are preserved: eight national parks, eight national reservations, six national sanctuaries, three historical sanctuaries, four national forests, six protection forests, one communal reservation, two hunting enclosed lands and eleven reserved zones. Peru is listed by the United Nations Environment Programme to be among the 17 most megadiverse countries in the world. The UN has recognized Huascarán as a World Heritage and Cultural Site.

Vicos, Peru Nevertheless, tourism accounts for only 1.7% of Peru's Gross Domestic Product. The Peruvian Embassy in Washington DC announced in May of 2005 that Peruvian tourism growth (28.6%) was the second largest in Latin America during first trimester and tourism is continuing to grow with tourists coming mainly from the United States, France, Spain and Great Britain. Opportunities for communal or experiential tourism are especially attractive to communities like Vicos, but they will face environmental issues as well as social and economic challenges. For example, as elsewhere in the world, competition is great for development of ecotourism and communities do not have the infrastructural resources nor the international connections that commercial tour companies or developers have.

I Loved Discovering
that You Talk to Your Land

Interview with Miriam Torres of TMI

Concerns of Vicosinos

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