Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

Summer 2015


Sustainable tourism is an environmentally centered approach to travel. However, few studies discuss the effect it has on local communities from the perspective of members in the community. Local conservation efforts helped create a healthy ecotourism economy for Monteverde, Costa Rica. In this project, the impacts of ecotourism on Monteverde were examined and the perspectives of residents were documented through video interviews and questionnaires. Two populations were represented: those that had lived in Monteverde over 30 years and those that who had not. In general, conservation was important to all participants interviewed. Since the start of ecotourism, locals have become engaged and have an increased gratitude for biodiversity protection. Ecotourism led to notable positive change in economy, environmental education and conservation programs. Ninety percent of participants agreed that ecotourism had positively impacted their lives. However, when asked to differentiate between positive and negative impacts of conservation, residents voiced a concern about the upsurge in trash and sought government programs to help offset effects of increased trash and recyclables. Concern over loss of community and culture was recorded in 89% percent of surveys. The presence of drugs and crime was mentioned in 54% of surveys, though many were reluctant to talk about crime. Businesses expressed interest in donating to conservation programs if they received certification for their participation and, all of those who agreed said they would donate more if they were recognized.