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This Old Firehouse
Winner of the The Caudill Prize, recognizing outstanding contributions to reporting Appalachian life and values. Tourism is the world's largest industry, and ecotourism is rapidly emerging as its fastest growing segment. As interest in nature travel increases, so does concern for conservation of the environment and the well-being of local peoples and cultures. Appalachia seems an ideal destination for ecotourists, with its rugged mountains, uniquely diverse forests, wild rivers, and lively arts culture. And ecotourism promises much for the region: protecting the environment while bringing income to disadvantaged communities. But can these promises be kept? Ecotourism in Appalachia examines both the potential and the threats that tourism holds for Central Appalachia. The authors draw lessons from destinations that have suffered from the "tourist trap syndrome," including Nepal and Hawaii. They conclude that only carefully regulated and locally controlled tourism can play a positive role in Appalachia's economic development.
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