Convicts & Conservation: Con Dao National Park, Vietnam

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Title: Convicts & Conservation: Con Dao National Park, Vietnam
Author: Ringer, Gregory D., 1951-
Abstract: The phenomenal growth of tourism experienced by the East Asia-Pacific region in the 1990s, nearly double the world average, has played a formative role in reuniting and empowering countries long fragmented by conflict and genocide. Stimulated by an increase in disposable income and leisure time, greater political stability and openness, and aggressive promotional campaigns, tourism is further credited by proponents with discouraging unsustainable practices in environmentally sensitive areas, while simultaneously creating greater opportunities for women and ethnic minorities to participate in the development process. As a result, governments throughout the region are now busy (re)positioning their countries as “authentic” destinations for visitors interested in local culture and nature. However, not every country or community in Asia will succeed as a tourist attraction, and those that do may discover the economic benefits less consequential than the social costs, as residents find their governments more intrusive and traditional practices rendered inauthentic for tourists’ consumption. The challenges of balancing such development with environmental conservation – and the possibilities offered by tourism in reconnecting an area long defined by its history of conflict, through expanded networks of travel and communication – are the focal points of this case study on Con Dao National Park in southern Vietnam.
Date: 2002

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