As we all know, there is a flip side to everything. Tourism has been the largest foreign exchange earner for Costa Rica over the last decade and this is what keeps this tiny nation going despite of dismal performances by other sectors. Ecotourism was conceptualized and utilized to the fullest by the Costa Ricans which made it a truly tropical paradise.
But, now this very boon is turning into a curse and the first signs of a looming ecological disaster are beginning to appear. Excessive new constructions of airports, hotels and resorts to cash in on the tourism boom are clearing up the pristine rainforests rapidly. Also the influx of tourists in the beaches is hurting the coral reef and the marine ecosystem. The problem is the amenities needed by the millions of visitors and the huge amount of garbage produced by them. Also as developers are destroying the natural habitat, several species are nearing extinction. In fact the light pollution caused at night by the sprawling cities are affecting natural behavior of many species.
Most of these developments have been done in an unplanned manner. That is why it is now ruining Costa Rica’s reputation as an ecotourism hotspot. This tiny nation is so rich in biodiversity that it contains 5% of the world’s species. But the numbers may not remain the same in the near future. The irony is that the trend of tourism arose because of the natural resources Costa Rica possessed and this very tourism is now ruining the nature. Nevertheless, tourism is necessary for the poor country as it is also generating large number of jobs for the people. The need is to be more careful about developments and to be prudent enough to abstain from short term benefits for a better future.