Ecotourism as a means of Community Development: the case of the Indigenous Populations of the Greater Caribbean

There are many types of tourism on offer in the world market, with tourism types being as diverse as the kind of experience that the visitor demands. Destinations characteristically engage in tourism models that cater to the needs and wants of the tourist market they attract. However, research and experience have shown that different tourism models affect the local people of a destination in different ways. For example, some models favor greater participation of historically marginalized communities than others. This paper focuses on two tourism models: ecotourism and community-based tourism. It is conceptual in nature and builds on previous academic research and secondary data in addressing the very topical theme of the use of ecotourism as a means of community development. It presents successful case studies of communitybased ecotourism, making particular reference to the indigenous populations of the Greater Caribbean to make these connections. There is reason to believe that the lessons derived from these case studies will be of interest and use to other indigenous communities in the Greater Caribbean and similar geographical regions in search of an alternative path of development that conserves natural areas while capitalizing on the opportunity for social welfare development and economic diversification for present as well as future generations.

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