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Tourism and Environmental Conservation: Conflict, Coexistence, or Symbiosis?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 August 2009

Gerardo Budowski
Director-General ad interim, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), 1110 Morges, Switzerland; future address Forestry Sciences Department, Centro Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica.


A new and promising field has appeared as a result of the increased tourist industry based on natural resources, though too often such expansion has been achieved without due planning and has taken many people by surprise. Conservationists and their organizations have often reacted adversely to this ‘invasion’, but this need not be so. There are many reasons and examples which prove that a change of attitude, leading to a symbiotic relationship between tourism and conservation in the wide sense, can offer a very large variety of advantages and benefits—physical, cultural, ethical, and economic—to a country.

A tourist industry can expect a brilliant future, based on natural assets of the environment, provided due consideration is given to the ecological principles which must guide resource-use. The alliance of those responsible for tourism with ecologists and conservationists is a natural one, that should contribute greatly to development—the right kind of development involving the right kind of change—leading to a better quality of life for all concerned.

Main Papers
Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 1976

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