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Hernndez, Urinda Alamo
Una investigacin preliminar sobre los efectos de la industria turstica en la region de Monteverde, Costa Rica.
A preliminary investigation of the effects of the tourist industry on the Monteverde, Costa Rica region.
A preliminary investigation of the effects of the transformation on the community due to tourism.
Una investigacin preliminar de los efectos de la transformacin en la comunidad debido al turismo.
In recent years the economic structure of Costa Ricas Monteverde zone (Santa Elena, Cerro Plano, Monteverde) has been transformed from one based on agriculture and dairy to one based on tourism. The goal of our project is to provide a preliminary investigation of the effects of this transformation on the community. Prior to beginning our research, we identified several possible effects of tourism on the area. These possible effects consisted of economic and cultural shifts, contamination of the water supply, decreased air quality, an increase in trash production, loss of environmental habitat, decreased biodiversity and an emerging drug culture. All of which we believe affect the health and the environment of the community as a whole. We collected data on these issues via interviews with tourists, interviews with locals, data from the Sustainable Futures Program reports, and web research. We found that, overall there is a great amount of concern over the effects of the tourist industry on the community. For example, a majority of the tourists interviewed felt that it is crucial to the future of this area that the issues of rapid development, trash management, water quality and drugs be addressed by the communitys governing body in some fashion. Our hope is to present the information gleaned from our research to the newly formed local municipality and make suggestions on possible ways to address these problems in the future.
En aos recientes la estructura econmica de la zona de Monteverde (Santa Elena, Cerro Plano, Monteverde) se ha transformado de una economa basada en la agricultura y productos lcteos a una basada en la industria de turismo. La meta de nuestro proyecto es proveer una investigacin preliminar del impacto de esta transformacin en la zona. Anterior al inicio de nuestra investigacin y en base a una serie de entrevistas preliminares, identificamos posibles impactos del turismo en el rea incluyendo el impacto de cambios econmicos y culturales, contaminacin del agua y aire, incremento en la produccin de basura, perdida de hbitat, disminucin de diversidad biolgica, y una cultura de drogadiccin emergente. Conjuntamente, estos impactos afectan la salud y el medioambiente de la comunidad. Para nuestra investigacin recaudamos informacin sobre estos temas mediante entrevistas con turistas, miembros de la comunidad, datos del programa de Futuros Sustentables y la red de Internet. Encontramos que en general hay bastante preocupacin sobre los impactos del turismo en la comunidad. Por ejemplo, la mayora de los turistas entrevistados sentan que los temas de desarrollo, administracin de la basura, calidad de agua y el tema de drogas tendran que ser abordados de alguna manera u otra por miembros de la comunidad. Nuestro deseo es poder aportar informacin de utilidad al recientemente establecido Concejo Municipal de Monteverde sobre como poder conllevar estos problemas en un futuro.
Tourism--Environmental aspects--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde
Public health--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde
Economic Development--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde
Salud Comunitaria 2002
Benjamn, Kelly R.
Polanco, Victor M
Ortiz, Marcela Tamayo
Scanned by Monteverde Institute
t Community Health
A Preliminary Investigation of the Effects of the Tourist Industry on the Monteverde, Costa Rica Region Urinda Alamo Hernndez, Kelly R. Benjamn, Mwenza Blell, Victor M. Polanco, Marcela Tamayo Ortiz Globalization and Health Monteverde Institute June 23rd to August 4th 2002
Abstract zone (Santa Elena, Cerro Plano, Monteverde) has been transformed from one based on agriculture and dairy to one based on tourism. The goal of our project is to provide a preliminary investigation of the effects of this transformation on the community. Prior to beginning our research, we identified several possible effects of tourism on the area. These possible effects consisted of economic and cultural shifts, contamination of the water supply, decreased air quality, an increase in trash production, loss of environmental habitat, decreased biodiversity and an emerging drug culture. All of which we believe affect the health and the environment of the community as a whole. We collected data on these issues via interviews with tourists, interviews with locals, data from the Sustainable Futures Program reports, and web research. We found that, overall there is a great amount of concern over the effec ts of the tourist industry on the community. For example, a majority of the tourists interviewed felt that it is crucial to the future of this area that the issues of rapid development, trash management, water quality and drugs be addressed by the communit hope is to present the information gleaned from our research to the newly formed local municipality and make suggestions on possible ways to address these problems in the future. Biography of the Research Team Our team had a multidisciplinary vision of the research as it was composed of five individuals from different academic areas: Victor M. Polanco is a doctoral student from the University of California at Berkeley in the department of city and regional plann ing. Health and Epidemiology in the National Public Health Institute in Cuernavaca, Mxico. Marcela Tamayo is an Industrial Designer currently working in an occupational health program with arti sans in Michoacn, Mxico. Kelly Benjamin studies Cultural Anthropology at the University of South Florida with a focus in globalization themes. Mwenza Blell is a student of Biological Anthropology at the University of South Florida with a special interest in health topics. Introduction General Objective To identify the impact of the tourist industry on the Monteverde zone through an analysis of previous studies and the perceptions of tourists, to the end of arriving at a better understanding of the phenome na of development, to create tools which help to direct it toward a sustainable future of ecotourism in the area. Justification In the framework of the Globalization and Community Health 2002 course imparted by the Monteverde Institute, the project aims to provide tools to the community which will help to safeguard its well being. The lack of information about the opinions of the tourists on this topic motivated us to generate a preliminary platform, which can be complemented and followed up on by future re search to generate community policies which induce sustainable development. As a consequence of informal interviews with the Monteverde
Chamber of Tourism and the Monteverde Institute, this initiative was encouraged as a complement to the research that th ese organizations will carr y out in the near future. Background Tourism has experienced exponential growth as a consequence of airline routes, economic development strategies, innovations in communications technology and expansion of the mass media. According to Pine and Gilmore (1988) tourism can be divided into three types: a) Undifferentiated: with low cost and little difference between the offered destinations; b) Differentiated: the quality of serviced brings with it a related elevation of the price/income; c) Advanced: the consumer is interested in having new expe rience regardless of cost. Ecotourism can be included in this last category. Currently the best protected wild areas in the world have become the most popular destinations for millions of people each year. Although there is no exact definition of the term Ecotourism, the environmentalist N.D. Hetzer postulated in 1965 that, in theory, ecotourism should strive to maintain the following characteristics: 1) Minimal environmental impact, 2) Minimum impact and as much respect as possible toward the local culture 3) The most possible economic benefit to the local community, 4) The most possible recreational benefit to the visiting tourists (Oltremari, 2001). The World Tourist Organization (OIT) has identified 19 principles, characteristics and conditions which sho uld be satisfied in order to guarantee a tourism which is sustainable for the long term. the International Year for Ecotourism, the OIT and other international organizations that collaborate in the process decided to use the concept of motivation of the tourists is the observation and appreciation of nature, and which at the same time contributes to the conservation of, and generates a minimal impact toward the environment and the cultural (Yunis 2002) On the world level, in 1992 ecotourism generated $3.1 billion in income and employment for 130 million people (Oltremari, 2001). The combination of a stable government and well conserved tropical forest has led ec otourism to be the leading industry in Costa Rica. (Table 1). In the Monteverde region this industry is the major source of employment and economic stimulus. The nineties brought a population boom, as a result of the change from agriculture and dairying to tourism as the main economic activity. (1) By 1990 there were seventy ecotourism related services in the area, including a souvenir and craft shop, horses for rent, art galleries, restaurants, transportation services, and a discotheque bar, employing a to tal of 231 people. (Honey 1999) The economic impact was estimated at $5 million dollars US, of which only 13% was invested in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (Solrzano and Echeverra quoted in Francisco Chamberlain 2000). By 1998, there were 15 hotels and 1000 beds. (Burlingame, 2000) (See table 2). (1) In 1951, families from Alabama immigrated to Costa Rica to begin a new life far from the armed conflict. The Quakers are pacifists, and afte r having been incarcerated in the United States for refusing to register for the draft for the Korean War, they decided they co uld not continue to live in the United States and support their increasingly military economy. As a consequence they acquired 1,2 00 hectares of land in the Tilarn mountain range and began a dairy. The Quakers soon recognized the importance of conserving the forest adj oining their farms as a means of protecting nd over the years the reserve grew and began to attract scientists who studied its surprising biodiversity. The proliferation of scientific article s about the area stimulated the growth of the tourist industry.
The effects of this economic change on the c ommunity can be quantified in terms of water quality, increase in solid waste, environmental degradation, decline of biodiversity, and cultural change Methodology The methodology used included three consecutive stages which followed from the research question. The first stage consisted of the application of the following qualitative tools: the observation of different scenarios of the study area, conducting open interviews with community members, with a representative of the local Chamber of Tourism an d with researchers at the Monteverde Institute. Right there in an open community forum the community indicated several points in need of resolution. Based on the data collected we
developed a conceptual schema explaining the interrelationship of the possib le actors and their social impact. (See schema 1). During the second stage the afore mentioned conceptual schema was elaborated and in turn used as the basis for developing the format for the semi structured interviews conducted with tourists (See annex *) This format was tested and modified, in order to be applied to a sample of 46 tourists, chosen by convenience. The criteria for selection were that the sampling should have: variety in terms of age, sex, socio economic level and nationality. (See schema 2). Finally, the third stage included the descriptive analysis of the data using graphs of various kinds to illustrate the results. As well as joining these with the previously collected bibliographic material, to develop a discussion, conclusions and reco mmendations It is important to stress that this investigation attempts to show on a grand scale the impact that the tourist industry has and can have on the social well being of the community. With this end we also studied analogous cases, national as wel l as international, as a reference point (Montezuma, Manuel Antonio, Everest, Cancn, among others). (see shema 3)
Results, Analysis and Discussion of Data The information collected is presented in two sections, the first shows the results of th e interviews with tourists, and the second provides a more general vision of similar experiences in other ecotourist centers. Results of interviews The first section of the interview focuses on demographic variables. Graph 1 shows the country of origin. Comparing this data with that obtained from the International Tourism Organization (OIT) (Graph 2) they both show the same profile of nationalities. It bears mentioning that according to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, of the tourists who visited Costa Rica in the year 2000, 53.8% engaged in ecotourist activities (Aguirre, 2002). The range of interviewees varies from ages 13 to 64, with an average age of 31, 48% being female. It is interesting to mention that in the opinion of some of the interviewees, t he ecotourist adventure activities in the area are directed toward the younger age group of visitors. In order to understand the cultural impact that tourism can have on the region, the last demographic aspect of the interview was to ascertain the ability to communicate in Spanish (see graph 3). As can be seen, 65% do not have this ability.
In order to ascertain the socioeconomic level of the tourists interviewed they were asked how much they were paying per night for lodging. Graph 4 shows that the largest portion had lodging with local families. This may be due to the presence of several acad emic institutions and their generalized policy which encourages the placing of students with Costa Rican families (source: radio commercial, Radio Universidad 96.7 FM). The second most frequently found category shows that the area receives tourists who spe nd little on their lodging, which can be related to the profile of predominantly young tourists who choose to save their money for other tourist activities offered in the area. Related to this graph 5 shows that the duration of their stay is most often onl y a few days, with a stay of two weeks being nearly as frequent, this being related to academic courses.
The second section is divided into two concepts: expectations and impact on the community. Expectations Approximately 25% of those interviewed us ed a combination of information media (guide book, internet, friends, family, language school, among others) to obtain reference to Monteverde. This is a reflection of the globalization of the communications media and ecotourism related marketing. The majo rity of people interviewed (30%) had references of Monteverde from guidebooks, Lonely Planet being the one most frequently used (38%). This has great relevance, as these guidebooks create expectations which attract or turn away tourism from a particular ar ea. As is shown in the graph, the main interest in the zone is nature: natural reserves, observation of animals and an uncontaminated environment. Second place includes offered adventure activities: sky trek, sky walk, etc. In comparing expectations with t he actual experience, the results reflect a high degree of satisfaction (84%, see graph), even though during the interviews comments such as the following were made, we quote:
0 One of the most important impacts that tourism has is the demand for services, for which reason the interview subjects were asked their opinion about water quality, the cleanliness of the place, the condition of the roads, and personal security. 64% of those interviewed perceive the area of Monteverde as clean, and only 17% qualified it as dirty. The great majority did not express any difficulty in disposing of trash, even though 43% of them carried their trash with them in order to dispose of it in hotels and houses, whi ch can be related to the small quantity of trash cans in the inhabited areas. 74% seemed satisfied with the quality of the water, showing surprise that they could consume it directly from the tap. As far as the type of transportation used, 31% used bus ser vice offered in their tourist package, 16% rented an automobile, another 16% used taxis and 32% walked, which brings us directly to the quality of the roads. As can be observed in the following graphs, despite the opinion with regard to the current state o f the roads, 59% thinks that they should not be paved, even though we know that this project is approved and programmed, we quote:
With respect to the perception of security in the zone, 90% feel safe, nevertheless, according to an informal interview with the corresponding authorities, robbery is the second most common offense in the area. As will be described in the case studies, it is thought that in tourist areas with similar characteristics, drug us e has generated social and health problems. As can be observed in the graph, the majority of those interviewed responded that tourism does influence the availability and consumption of drugs. Some of our interviewees mentioned the ease of obtaining marijua na, cocaine and crack, among others.
Finally we present the results of the question about the perception about the impact of tourism on the community.
In the following two graphs both viewpoints are broken down into their specific Case Studies Th e regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), have manifested that tourism depends on the social and environmental health of the communities In effect, there are communities where the increase in tourism has cultivated its own decline. In order to protect the community from the possible negative effects of tourism, at the same time mainta ining the positive effects, the relationship between the different themes must be considered. A simple way to illustrate this concept is to analyze the cases where tourism has directly harmed the community, especially when its economy depends wholly or par tially on the tourist industry. Written literature and websites about tourist
destination both in Costa Rica and in other parts of the world were researched in order to compare the measures that were taken in each case: Montezuma, Costa Rica Montezuma beca me very popular in the eighties and nineties, causing problems of delinquency, drugs and contamination (Lonely Planet, 1997). There have even been problems with traffic in human organs and prostitution (Kasandra sitios internet). To resolve these situation s the community created its own Chamber of Tourism which provided trash cans on the beach, improved the quality of the water (for both swimming and drinking), and promoted educational programs about conservation of the environment, here is where the touris ts should take their trash. The local government has tried to control urban development around the national park, nevertheless this has not worked for the already existing development and it is debatable whether it is working with current development (Lone reputation; nevertheless there are still media which refer negatively to this destination. In interviews and conversations with Costa Ricans we heard these comments several times. Manuel Antonio The problems related to this National Park are better known and quoted, the Lonely Planet 2000 Guide to an area where drainage is primitive, has le d to a series of threats of contamination on the once virgin e of the recurrent theme in our interviews about the already existing problem in Monteverde during the dry season. Everest Mt. Everest is a very popular international tourist destination, nevertheless it has done little for the per capita income in Nepal which is $160 US per year, one of the lowest in the world ( Everest Case Study). It attracts ested in finding necessary to find new destinations. The expectations are of a massive forest in Khumba, nevertheless the area is densely populate d and there is in reality a great deal of deforestation. A visitor consumes between five and ten times more fuel due to their habits of washing with hot water, their diet ken in this case was to ask visitors to supply their own fuel, and to clean their own campsites, as it costs millions of dollars to keep the area clean. Nevertheless it has been hard to maintain this rule and the Sagarmatha National Park, where Mt. Everest is located, has a bad reputation.
Cancun In 1970 the area of Cancun, Mxico, was an inaccessible strip of beach. Twenty years later the Mexican government saw the necessity of limiting projects on the coast in order to prevent more environmental damage have been extinguished and the tropical forest that surrounded the area has been destroyed (Cancun Case required regulation to protect its resources and consequently its tourist industry. The carrying capacity of the area is in this case as important as in the Monteverde Zone, which is starting to be implemented for example in the reserve where only 120 visi tors per day are admitted. The carrying capacity of a place can be defined as the limit of tourist activity before it saturates the facilities (physical capacity), the environment becomes degraded (environmental capacity), or the customer satisfaction decr eases (perceptual or psychological capacity) (Cancun Case Study). To be able to regulate these capacities conservation zones were established, especially in Tulum where construction is prohibited, and the development zones have a limit on numbers of hotel rooms per hectare (Cancun Case Study). Jamaica In Jamaica between 1971 1985 the number of tourists doubled, along with the dollars spent by tourists: from $194.3 to $406.8 millions (Jamaica Case Study). The visitor population is equal to half of the reside nt population is very different from that of a fixed population, the increase in tourist population in this magnitude presents challenges equally as important as in any other population increas (Jamaica Case Study). In Jamaica three tourist zones: Montego Bay, Ocho Ros, and Negril they have had an impact due to the habits of the socio economic class from which the tourism s much water and produces three the wate created for the conservation of natural resources (NRCA). Other brief examples In Kenya, safari activities have decreased wildlife populations, habitats and f ood supplies. Currently, felines to hunt. In Yellowstone National Park in the United States, the trash left by tourists has led to the relocation and de ath of bears in a short time. In the Philippine and Malvinas Island, dynamite and mining exploration of coral as material for construction of hotels has damaged fragile coral reefs and has exhausted the fishery resources which maintain the local population.
Culturally: In Hawaii, archaeological sites such as ancient cemeteries have been destroyed and dug up to build hotels. In East Africa, the Maasai tribe has been expelled from their traditional lands in order to make roads and space for lodges for safaris and their respective tours. In the Black Hil ls, the Sioux work as salaried workers in a tourist industry which promotes their culture. Limitations of the study The first limitation is the small amount of time which we had for carrying out the investigation which hindered obtaining a sample more repr esentative of the totality of the group studied. The lack of time also influenced the variety of places where the interviews were carried out. Also the work with the Sustainable Futures program, developing scenarios which include this information, is still pending. Possible bias of the interviewer: when asking if tourism has a relationship with drug use in the zone, those interviewed responded in a more or less relaxed way depending on the interviewer, and the context (time of day, place) of the interview. Discussion and Interpretation of results Economy Based on the results obtained in the surveys about the impact of the tourist industry on the Monteverde zone, we found that there is a positive view in terms of the generation of economic income for the comm unity. It is possible that this perception is based on the number of consumer services that are offered in the area; nevertheless, there are also considerations about the destination and the distribution of the economic benefits, since in many cases they d economic levels of the owners and the paid employees and the locals who maintain their traditional economic activities. The accelerated growth of the tourist industry has displaced the econom ic activities of agriculture and milk production, generating an un planned and un controlled development which has transformed the hub of production from a cooperative one to a competitive one. This is not necessarily negative as long as the competition le ads to an improvement of services and makes prices more accessible, nevertheless there is a limit to the capacity of the small business owners to integrate, compete and subsist. Social The tourist industry helps to improve the quality of life of the commun ity and promotes cultural exchange; the population seeks specialized training in order to offer adequate service to the tourist. On the other hand, there is always the risk of a transformation of values and traditions, modifying the autochthonous culture. The changes range from modifications in daily customs such as eating (2) and habits of consumption, to noxious practices such as delinquency, drug addiction, prostitution, alcoholism, child abuse and other social phenomena. Our study does not demonstrate a direct link between the increase in tourist activity and these problems, but it gives a glimpse of the need for future studies and focused policies with more emphasis on this theme.
Another way, in which the tourist industry has affected, is by modifying the family dynamics by generating employment which is accessible to both men and women, and even minors. It has diminished the contact between parents and children and has increased the urgent need for recreation centers for young people. In addition the c ommunity perceives that it has decreased the educational level of young people by motivating them to go to work before they finish their obligatory studies. Environment The income generated by the tourist industry permits the adequate maintenance of the n atural reserves. Nevertheless it is thought that the number of visitors has a negative effect on the conservation of biodiversity, and contributes to the environmental contamination: noise, air, visual. This can be alarming since if this attraction is los t, the principal motive for visitors to come, the local economy would suffer severe repercussions. Monteverde is considered a model tourist destination, nevertheless in order for this type of tourism to be considered sustainable it should fulfill certain c haracteristics which were mentioned at the beginning of the document which relate to and complement the general objectives of sustainable development. Assure the satisfaction of essential human needs, beginning with the necessities of the poorest. Promote cultural diversity and pluralism. Reduce inequalities between individuals/regions/nations. Conserve and increase the existing resource base. Increase the possibilities for adaptation to natural and human generated disturbances. Develop efficient technologi es which consume few resources, adapted to the local socio ecological circumstances which do not pose major risks to present and future generations. Generate production, distribution and consumption structures, which provide necessary services and goods, p rovide full, meaningful employment with the aim of improving the capacity for the development of human beings. (Masera, et. Al. 2000) At present in Costa Rica the commission formed by: The Costa Rican Aqueduct and Sewer Institute, the Costa Rican Tourism I nstitute, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Ministry of Health and the National communities, as an incentive for protecting beaches from environmental contamination and to thus promote the attraction of national and international tourism We know that this program is contemplating entering also into mountain locations such as Monteverde which are directly related to the conservation of natur e. The program has its foundation in education and information about the environment. The purpose is to increase public knowledge on this topic and to promote the creation of a platform which activates participation in the protection of nature. This progra m can be a motivation for Monteverde to work on the necessary aspects and to obtain this certification: (2) In the local supermarket products from any part of the world can be acquired. There are eating places where the menu is only in English and with the prices in US currency.
Water for human consumption 20% Solid waste disposal 10% Liquid household waste disposal 15% Road signs in tourist locations 10% Environmental education 10% Health care 10% Industrial waste disposal 10% Protection of water resources 10% Police and environmental security 5% Conclusions / Recommendations Monteverde finds itself at a point in its development when it can still prevent and avoid falling into the same problems which are presented in other ecotourist destinations. It should take care of its principal source of income and guide it towards a sustainable development. The health of a community is related to physical, economic, social, cultural, psychological, political and ecological aspects. Our investiga tion reflects that currently some of these aspects are being altered by the changes that have come about due to the rapid growth of the community as a consequence of the increase in tourism. As a preventive measure it is necessary to avoid a lag between th e public services offered and the growing demand for them. The indices of growth which were consulted indicate that this is not satisfactory it could translate into a deterioration of social, economic and environmental aspects, putting the stability of pub lic health at risk. Recommendations It is recommended that the corresponding authorities seek the advice and capacity building which will permit them to generate policies appropriate to a sustainable future for development in the zone. Zoning and land us e regulation policies should be established. Seek alternatives (diversity) in order to not depend completely on tourism as the only economic activity. In the same vein, it is recommended that contingency plans be developed for unforeseen situations of tour ist decline, such as that caused by September 11, 2001. It is suggested that projects such as the nurture of tourist micro businesses be considered (Aguirre, 2002). Carry out community projects and educational campaigns which encourage a culture of care fo r and conservation of the environment. For example, establish a trash recycling center in the zone. Observe and enforce the established laws concerning disposal of greywater and blackwater. Effect future research on the carrying capacity of the area, with respect to population and services. Carry out projects which foment the conservation of autochthonous culture. Stimulate a return to integrating the community into the design and development of projects. In addition we found the following recommendations ( Acua Ortega et. Al. 2000): Raise consciousness in the community and among business owners concerning the necessity of protecting the environment, in order not to lose the comparative advantages of the zone. Promover actividades para la educacin del ncle o familiar y fortalecer sus lazos. Seek closer ties between the public and private institutions in the zone and the business sector in order to better cooperate in solving the principal problems of the zone.
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