Sustainable Development or Eco-Collapse: Lessons for Tourism and Development from Easter Island
AbstractWhile tourism brings many benefits to islands, it can also cause negative effects, especially when tourism development is a disorganised process, with significant environmental impacts. This has been the case of Easter Island: the recent, uncontrolled growth in tourist numbers together with social and political tensions, are signs of a socioeconomic process pursuing development that has neglected the institutional, environmental, social, and economic imperatives of sustainability for tourism management. The study initially presents the environmental impacts of tourism growth, including waste disposal and management issues, problems with sewage system, threats to water quality, and biodiversity loss. Next, using data from in situ fieldwork, interviews and surveys, it focuses on residents’ perceptions regarding environmental consequences of the vast tourism growth, as well as on the serious governance issues that Easter Island is currently facing and that complicate even further its sustainable development. Overall, our results indicate that—while acknowledging the negative impacts that uncontrolled tourism development has brought to the island and the need for it to become more sustainable—residents are in favour of tourism since it is the island’s main source of income and employment. The paper draws lessons for islands involved in the “development-through-tourism” model regarding the difficulties these islands will face in attaining their goals if they are not able to build and implement cooperative agreements among stakeholders to properly manage the common-pool resources involved. This is a warning sign for islands that enthusiastically promote tourism without implementing sound sustainability criteria to guide the management of their tourism sector. View Full-Text
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Figueroa B., E.; Rotarou, E.S. Sustainable Development or Eco-Collapse: Lessons for Tourism and Development from Easter Island. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1093.
Figueroa B. E, Rotarou ES. Sustainable Development or Eco-Collapse: Lessons for Tourism and Development from Easter Island. Sustainability. 2016; 8(11):1093.Chicago/Turabian Style
Figueroa B., Eugenio; Rotarou, Elena S. 2016. "Sustainable Development or Eco-Collapse: Lessons for Tourism and Development from Easter Island." Sustainability 8, no. 11: 1093.
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