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Ecology & Safety, Volume 13, 2019

ECOTOURISM AS INNOVATOR IN A CONSOLIDATED DESTINATION. A CASE FROM THE ANDES MOUNTAINS IN CHILE.
Sorensen H., Lepe A.
Pages: 29-44
Published: 1 Aug 2019
Views: 452
Downloads: 98
Abstract: Nevados de Chillán is a tourist destination renowned historically for its hot springs and by possessing the longest ski slopes in Latin America. But in 2011 the Biological Corridor Nevados de Chillán - Laguna del Laja was designated by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve, never the less tourism has continued to focus on winter activities starting a gradual decline in the number of visitors and overnight rates. During the last few years, multiple strategies prioritize sustainable tourism to turn Chile into a tourist destination of world hierarchy. The present work aims to explore if and how Ecotourism as learning practice, productive activity and worldview may influence innovation in a consolidated tourism destination otherwise facing declination or possible over tourism. To this end, two lines of research were developed: one that follows Ecotourism students who investigate and create ecotourism products. The other assessing the impact of local actors on sustainable development, with an emphasis on tourism. The students, referring to thirty-three sites of tourism interest, produced twenty-seven work reports and completed six thesis works, based on new scientific knowledge of the reserve. The recorded information indicated that the presence and integrated actions carried out by multiple actors linked to ecotourism could promote conservation, positively impact local community, create economic sustainability and influence the expected development of the destination. This can be measured by the creation of innovative tourism products, participation in community organizations, leadership and the performance of important activity, individual and collective, almost all related to social, economic, environmental and cultural issues thus supporting expectations of a future different from simple vegetative development.
Keywords: ecotourism, biodiversity reserve, innovation, tourism destination, scientific tourism, impact analysis
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