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The coronavirus pandemic has upended the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries worldwide; these sectors face steep and in some cases catastrophic declines. In a new report published by the Latin American Program and the Vidanta Foundation, Fostering Sustainable Tourism in Latin America, Chilean environmentalist Hernán Mladinic posits that “the economic pain, although difficult, will not last forever.”  Eventually, he says, travel and tourism will recover, making once again a significant contribution to the GDP of Latin American and Caribbean nations. 

At the same time, Mladinic argues that the revival of the tourism industry should aim not only at economic recovery but also at appropriate, acceptable practices in the ecological, cultural, and social spheres.  “Tourism’s economic contribution to development can be maintained over time,” he argues, “only if understood as equitable and inclusive growth, based on ensuring the protection of nature, its habitat and biodiversity, and preserving the sociocultural heritage and promoting the well-being of the communities.”

Mladinic argues for framing sustainable tourism in the region as an opportunity to highlight less traveled destinations and to market to growing demographics that value environmentally conscious products and services.  He highlights how recent trends in nature-based tourism or ecotourism constitute an opportunity to merge the interests of conservationists with local economic development. Mladinic’s report offers a detailed overview of the values and practices associated with sustainable tourism, focused on the interplay between economic, social, and environmental goals.   

About the Author

Hernán Mladinic

Hernán Mladinic

Former Vidanta-Wilson Fellow;
Member, Advisory Council, Friends of Parks in Patagonia
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Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more