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Ecotourism, Poverty and Resources Management in Ranomafana, Madagascar

Bruno Sarrasin, 8 mai 2012

Sarrasin, Bruno, 2012. Ecotourism, Poverty and Resources Management in Ranomafana, Madagascar, Tourism geographies.

This paper explores how the protection of natural resources is managed in Madagascar in order to understand how and why tourism development is part of the strategy to safeguard these resources. Based on a heterodox political economy approach and using documentary analysis as well as exploratory interviews, this paper focuses on the specific case of Ranomafana National Park showing how the environment, economic growth and poverty alleviation strategies are instrumental to a ‘development framework’ that envisions the rural poor population as a problem as well as a solution with respect to resource depletion. The analysis concluded that tourism is far from being an ‘axis of development’ for the Malagasy economy, and, thus, an insufficient alternative to address the destructive practices described in this paper. The case study shows that ecotourism creates few work opportunities for local people and does not absorb the job seekers who rapidly revert to survival techniques and anarchic use of resources, thereby threatening the integrity of the forest and the long-term survival of ecotourism activities. In this context, the place of tourism in general and of ecotourism, in particular, appears to have been highly exaggerated in Madagascar as the direct economic benefits of tourism at the local level remain minimal.