Industries, Nations and Time
This chapter examines the co-creation of Costa Rica as one of the leading ecotourism destinations in the world. Forest and wildlife biologists and other students of ecosystems and biodiversity were vital at the start of the process. The creation of a national park system was important. Multiple small-scale entrepreneurs, many of them expatriate, provided the tour services and lodgings which enabled the growth of the sector. They helped to ensure that formally protected areas remained sustainable parks and reserves, by providing revenues, education in conservation to tourists, jobs and international demand for tourist travel. Costa Rica’s stability and openness to foreigners allowed these entrepreneurs as well as Costa Rican nationals to start businesses. However, the creation of the national image of a natural paradise enabled many businesses that were not environmentally sustainable to free-ride on the growing demand for ecotourism.
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