Effects of Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism in the Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
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The majority of impoverished people living in rural areas depend on agriculture and similar practices to survive. Over the past century, countries like Argentina have depleted 2/3s of its native forests. These forests had once provided homes to millions of organisms, but are now rapidly losing biodiversity. This interrelated problem has sparked a variety of solutions, one of which is ecotourism. Ecotourism should conserve species richness and improve the socio-economic state of the community. Since Argentina largely utilizes ecotourism in the southern part of the region, it should be expected that the poverty rate for this area would also be low due to the inclusion of locals in ecotour programs. Based on previous knowledge of the study area, it was hypothesized that ecotourism and adventure tourism would help preserve biodiversity but have no effect on poverty levels. Based on the current results, the increase in tourists to Los Glaciares National Park was statistically significantly (P=.004) and there was an observed increase in bird species richness after ecotourism became popular. Although there was a decreasing trend in poverty, this can be attributed to Argentine‟s economic crisis in 2001 and the global economic crisis in 2008-2009. Ecotourism has been proposed to help alleviate poverty and conserve biodiversity, but this can only be done through sustainable practices, community interaction, and policy reform.