Keywords: ecotourism, Costa Rica, soft/hard path ecotourism, Canada
The Canadian ecotourist in Costa Rica: ten years down the road
This paper replicates a study by Fennell (1990) which found that a sample of ecotourists to Costa Rica was statistically different from the average Canadian tourist along a number of attraction and benefit dimensions. This 1990 study is compared against a sample of Canadian ecotourists who recently travelled to Costa Rica. The purpose of the comparison was to examine if or how ecotourists have changed in their choice of attractions and the types of benefit sought, over the course of a decade. In general, very few differences were found between the two groups regarding the importance of attractions and benefits. Differences were found in the average age of respondents, the male–female ratio and, not surprisingly, the average price of a trip to Costa Rica. Implications are discussed in relation to hard- and soft-path ecotourism, with the former considered as essential for the integrity of the industry.