Friday, January 29, 2016
Based on what we've observed through this course, sustainable tourism has definitely made an impact on Ecuador. Tourism has undoubtedly benefited Ecuador economically. We saw this through our interactions with the indigenous families that we lived with and how jobs have been created for them through tourism. Sustainable tourism has also given people the opportunity to sell products that they make in order to generate income. Socioculturally, sustainable tourism allows people to connect to and share their culture with others. We've been able to learn not only about larger Ecuadorian culture in general, but also about the cultures of minority groups whose traditions may not have been as steadily maintained without interactions with tourists. Sustainable tourism has also served to educate tourists about the environment. Ecuador is so biologically diverse that it's the perfect place for environmental education. Ecotourism also promotes Ecuador to operate more environmentally friendly practices. For instance, there is now more of an emphasis on organic farming.
Sustainable tourism is evident throughout the country of Ecuador. I personally witnessed economical, cultural and environmental sustainable practices when it came to the tourism in Ecuador. Without the push for tourism, the economy would suffer. The country thrives on tourists. We were lucky to experience certain tourist accommodations through cultural excursions. WE were invited into homes of the indigenous and lived the daily life of their culture. (Quichua of the Andes, Agua Blanca and Amazon). Lastly, the environmental contributions to sustainable tourism were seen mainly in hostels we stayed in - special water-saving toilets and showers, re-using of linens, and automatic motion-sensored lights One of our hostels was even awarded the silver level LEED certification. Each aspect of the sustainable tourism in Ecuador was touched on in pre-departure meetings, but witnessing it and seeing it with my own eyes is completely different. It has opened my eyes in more than one way. Specifically in regards to this courses, I will forever travel as a sustainable tourist.
Tourism is promoted everywhere in Ecuador - all kinds of tourism - but ofcourse, they are best known for sustainable tourism. I feel like I have seen and experienced this first-hand while traveling int he country. Some examples include homestays, which help to preserve and educate about culture and also experiences such as visiting natural habitats such as Isla de la Plata, where they help to educate and preserve natural species and wildlife. For example, one part of the island was closed off to protect a nest of Albatross that they are trying to maintain in the area. These types of experiences help to promote sustainability.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Saturday, January 16, 2016
There is so much to reflect on after our San Clemente homestay. Going in to the experience, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. For some reason, I had the idea that somehow tourists coming in to the San Clemente community would interrupt their lives and culture. I thought that legitimate culture could not be lived out with the introduction of outsiders into the community. I think we found, however, that the introduction of tourists in to San Clemente has actually allowed the people there to appreciate and continue their cultural traditions and to create economic growth. For example, most of the younger generation has learned about Quichua highland culture through teaching it to tourists. We saw that people like Tupac and Camilla enjoyed sharing their traditions with us while, if we had not been there, they might not have been interested. The community was also running out of jobs for people before tourism was introduced. Tourism has provided jobs for people so they don't have to leave the community to find work. I also enjoyed the fact that we were able to help with everyday tasks. It was great for us to learn how to do things like plant and pick potatoes and they were able to get help with their work. It seems like community-based tourism in San Clemente is a win-win situation for everyone.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
For the last few days we have been staying in the beautiful fishing village, Puerto Lopez. During our stay, we were able to visit a near by island, Isla de la Plata, also known as "the poor man's Galapagos" due to it's similarities in flora and fauna to the Galapagos Islands. Isla de la Plata is home to many species of bird, including the famous Blue Footed Boobies! We were able to hike around the island, bird watch, and even snorkel in order to get a better look at the abundant sealife inhabiting the surrounding coral reef. It was very interesting to look at this excursion from a sustainable travelers perspective. It seems as though those working on the island really help to promote education about the island, its history, it's wild inhabitants, and also the importance of protecting such a landscape.