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First, socioeconomic, environmental, sustainability, geographic and institutional variables were used in the evaluation of 62 localities of the municipality. Geographic information systems identified study areas and determined their potential for ecotourism. Second, participatory diagnosis was used to collect specific information about the locality regarding their organisational aspects, development strategies, current socioeconomic problems, land use and resources availability and interest in developing projects related to ecotourism.

Finally, the authors adapted the FAS Model factors, attractors and support systems to include environmental and organisational variables contributing to a theoretical approach to ecotourism. To identify attractors, they applied a questionnaire to determine the profile of tourists visiting Magic Towns and their potential interest in ecotourism.

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The authors conclude that ecotourism is a possible alternative to highly marginalised localities within Magic Town municipalities and would be able to expand the benefits engendered by the program. Ecotourism can therefore represent a new option for tourists visiting marginalised communities in Mexico.

A diverse methodology applied key elements to identify localities suitable for ecotourism, characteristics of marginalisation and endowment of natural heritage. The authors conclude that the benefits to localities included in the Magic Towns Program can be expanded to surrounding spaces through strategies such as ecotourism. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited.

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Since its origins, tourism has been seen as an option to promote economic development. The Earth Summit aimed at identifying strategies to reverse environmental degradation through sustainable development ONU, Since then, tourism has been redefined as an economic activity able to fight poverty, improve environmental management and encourage changes in consumption patterns. The steering of tourism policies towards sustainable development, especially in developing countries, aimed to take advantage of their natural and historical heritage and to include indigenous peoples, local communities, low-income urban residents and the rural poor in the execution of sustainable development strategies.

Those new policies aim to promote:. In this context, the Magic Towns Program MTP was created in Mexico in with the purpose of promoting the sustainable development of localities through tourism, expected to raise levels of welfare, maintain and increase employment and promote investment SECTUR, Vegetation covers Most localities included in the MTP exhibit a high degree of marginalisation. A dichotomous pattern can be identified where, on the one hand, localities nominated as Magic Towns are mostly capitals of their municipalities 92 per cent and show medium, low and very low degree of marginalisation 89 per cent ; and on the other hand, the remaining localities mostly exhibit of very high and high marginalisation Although heterogeneity in culture and biodiversity is notorious among Magic Towns, their socioeconomic context is mostly similar.

The diversity of natural resources, agricultural activity and low urbanisation suggests opportunities for alternative tourism projects such as ecotourism, whose mechanisms of natural heritage management are compatible with local forms of organisation. Ecotourism can both diversify the offer of attractions and distribute the benefits of tourism to neighbouring localities and foster sustainable perspectives. Our case study relied on various methodologies to analyse 62 localities in the municipality and their potential, using the FAS model factors, attractors and support systems , and based on questionnaires, to determine the willingness of local populations to engage with ecotourism.

Ecotourism is an alternative tourism model that respects host communities and their sociocultural and natural environment and has balanced development as its target Jafari, Alternative tourism recognises and incorporates local populations as necessary social actors, besides promoting more flexible and diversified travel structures through natural spaces including from protected natural areas to artificial urban and rural areas Osorio, Ecotourism offers attractions based on natural settings and on the preservation or protection of natural areas Hall and Boyd, Ecotourism is currently defined as:.

In their analysis of the concept, Donohoe and Needham identified six principles underlying ecotourism: reliance on nature, conservation purposes, environmental education, sustainability, equitable distribution of benefits, ethical responsibility for both local population and tourists. Ecotourism is usually carried out in peripheral areas away from urban centres, and must be seen within the broader natural, sociocultural, political and economic systems that determine their development Hall and Boyd, Ecotourism depends on small and medium-sized operators, and generates direct benefits and income to rural, indigenous and poor communities Garraway, Ecotourism generates local benefits and also affects the way tourists perceive, experience and learn about nature, its landscape, flora, fauna and habitats, as well as cultural relics Kiper, Therefore, ecotourism has the potential to increase environmental awareness of both the local population and tourists.

Hence, it is highly recommended that visitors are educated and prepared in advance to interact with the host community Dubin and Durham, Ecotourism is a model of tourism that envisages an alternative way of development that conserves natural areas and promotes social welfare and economic diversification within a framework of sustainability in economically marginalised communities poor, indigenous, rural Garraway, The destinations are located in marginalised areas characterised by lack of monetary resources, local skills and mechanisms to ensure fair distribution of benefits, in addition to poor commercial links and experience in planning, finance and product development Coria and Calfucura, Government intervention to overcome economic difficulties has been absent, resulting in migratory flows towards the central regions, weak domestic economic relations and a lack of effective policies and economic control over decisions that affect local welfare Hall and Boyd, Although empowerment is necessary for development, sustainability and preservation of natural resources, the ability of localities to receive large numbers of tourists must be considered so as to avoid a risk of benefits not reaching the community.

We applied the method of exploratory case study Yin, , as well as qualitative and quantitative tools, to investigate the potential for ecotourism of a marginalised locality near the Magic Town of Tlalpujahua.

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Socioeconomic variables were total population, marginalisation, poverty, social backwardness, size, indigenous population, main economic activities, employment, socioeconomic problems of the rural localities, economically active population and population occupied by sector. Environmental and sustainability variables were property regime in municipality, prioritised biodiversity sites and regions, protected natural areas, important conservation areas, relevant forest landscape sites, endangered and prioritised species and current environmental problems in municipality.

Geographic variables were location, landscape, climate, land and vegetation use and accessibility and mobility within the municipality. Finally, the institutional variable was the local governance measured trough the association between endogenous and exogenous actors to carry out tourism development projects. To supplement the analysis above, we applied a geographic information system to map several relevant variables. In total, 62 localities of the municipality were spatially mapped to represent their population, indigenous-language speaking population, degree of marginalisation, degree of social backwardness, socioeconomic problems, priority conservation sites and areas, natural continuity, transport infrastructure, terrain, farming centres and land tenure system common or private.

Following the characterisation of Tlalpujahua, the marginalised locality of La Trampa was selected for our case study.

Ecotourism and community development: case studies from Hainan, China.

Semi-structured interviews were used to explore views of agents on ecotourism. Three endogenous agents were considered: local entrepreneurs holding property rights and able to carry out local development projects;. Next, we applied the semi-structured participatory tools proposed by Geilfus to key agents. As a result of the participatory diagnosis, we obtained maps of natural resources and land use and information on communal representatives. Previous technical and land use studies were obtained as supplementary information. The FAS model explains a local system as the complex interaction of three structured subsystems: productive factors natural factors, human factors and financial capital ; attractors, or motivations for tourist travel natural, cultural and human-made attractions ; and support systems, or services to residents, tourists and clients infrastructure capacity, hospitality, transport, security, signage, among others Figure 1.

The FAS model allows a systematic representation of these three structures of a destination, facilitating the allocation of values and classifying the location according to indicators of comparative advantages and competitive potential. These indicators are selected based on the location or strategic vision of the destination.

In the case of La Trampa, we adopted the perspective of ecotourism. The assigned values were classified and organised into matrices according to the structured subsystems, namely, factors, attractors and support systems. The analysis is carried out by means of evaluation matrices of each of its elements, with their respective indicators of state IS and indicators of importance II , where state is the quality and existence of the indicators, importance is their relevance to ecotourism, and quadrant matrices are divided by IS and II medians. Application of the model produced graphical representations of matrices with four quadrants, providing a structural vision of La Trampa, its comparative advantages and initial endowment of factors relevant to the design of strategies promoting ecotourism.

The attractors index was obtained through a survey to 70 tourists with level of significance of 90 per cent and an error of 10 per cent. This questionnaire also revealed the profile of tourists visiting Magic Towns. Familiarisation with La Trampa attractions was based on a tour around its edges guided by a forestry community leader providing information on identified attractions.

Indices representing support systems, and factors were derived from conversation with local community leaders and direct observation of current infrastructure.

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Characterisation of Tlalpujahua. Its surface area is According to the Mexican census, Tlalpujahua has a population of 27, residents across 62 localities, of which only the capital is classified as urban, with a population of only 2, residents. The remaining localities are even smaller between 66 and residents and classified as rural by the INEGI. In , Although not poor, This results in that In addition, In Tlalpujahua, as a whole, marginalisation was reduced from high to intermediate grade between and , but nonetheless marginalisation increased in 11 localities and only dropped in three and did not change in the 48 remaining localities including the capital.

Thus, most of its localities 52 out of 62, covering 75 per cent of the population are still highly marginalised. Of the remaining 10 localities, 7 11 per cent of the population show medium marginalisation and only 3 14 per cent of the population are classified as showing a low degree of marginalisation, including the capital. The use of land is primarily agricultural Regarding the vegetation, Agriculture is the main activity in 60 per cent of the localities, consistent with information from the Agricultural, Livestock and Forestry Census , as it presents 3, production units mostly dedicated to agriculture and occupy an area of 5, hectares 56 per cent of the total municipal territory.

In those units, 2, workers are relatives and 2, are hired by producers. Until , all the projects from the program have targeted the improvement of urban appearance and buildings. Along this spectrum, Tlalpujahua ranks sixth among the towns with the lowest tourism performance index. As strengths and opportunities, the analysis identified the privileged landscape of the municipality, the potential to create infrastructure and public equipment ITESM, , proximity to natural attractions such as the Monarch Butterfly, the opportunity to develop tourism products and take advantage of the great potential of its attractions, among others CESTUR, The studies recommended a diversification of tourism products, since Tlalpujahua and most other Magic Towns are characterised by a wide extension of vegetation and farmland.

Ecotourism and Community Development: Case Studies from Hainan, China

For this reason, monitoring the population growth of Tlalpujahua and a reduction in economic activities with high environmental impact such as mining were also recommended. Tlalpujahua is included in the Priority Regions Program for Conservation of Biodiversity because of its relevance to three relevant domains of conservation: terrestrial, hydrological and bird conservation. Identification of the marginalised locality for ecotourism.

In total, 55 per cent of the ejido shows minimal alterations and a mountainous relief with elevation between 2, and 3, m above sea level. Its residents none of which speak indigenous language mostly work in agriculture and sustainable timber harvesting and face the problems of unemployment and migration.

The obtained participatory dialogues revealed that the main economic activity in La Trampa is subsistence agriculture and livestock production, followed by extraction of timber forest certified by the government. Of lower importance are cutting and selling firewood, masonry, employed rural work, work in the capital, Morelia, Toluca, Mexico City or migration to the United States. The main local problems are unemployment, lack of employment for women, badly paid and inconvenient work in the capital, low productivity of farmland, low profitability in livestock activities because of rising animal theft and lack of timber commercialisation channels.

The environmental problems in this locality were revealed to be low-level, clandestine logging, water erosion, soil acidity caused by fertilisers and pesticides and climate change exemplified by hail, frost, droughts and extreme cold weather altering agricultural cycles. With continuously growing tourist numbers, pressure on resources increases, and there is a need to preserve and protect natural, cultural and historic resources.

Various more sensitive forms of tourism have emerged and in recognition of the need for this development the United Nations proclaimed as the International Year of Ecotourism. This book introduces the reader to a number of case studies from different parts of the world and illustrates opportunities and constraints associated with the implementation of the ecotourism concept.

His research interests are in the wide area of sustainable tourism, ecotourism, wildlife tourism, the impacts of tourism and marine tourism.

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Torsten Kirstges studied economics at the University of Mannheim, Germany. After completing his PhD thesis he took up several teaching commitments at various education centres and universities for applied sciences.