Today, my Plus3 group explored a nearby rainforest in Arenal, and we had a lecture on Ecotourism. These activies taught me a lot about the local nature as well as the importance of ecofriendly tourism.
There are many similarities are differences between the cloud forest of Monteverde and the rainforest of Arenal. A rainforest is a tropical forest with an annual rainfall of 100 inches of more with trees forming a canopy, and a cloud forest is a type of rainforest. The main similarity between the two is that they both have an immense variety of plants and animals. Still, there are many differences. First, the altitude is usually much higher in a cloud forest; somewhere in the range of 3,000 to 8,000 feet. Another distinction between the two locations involves the weather. Rainforests are located at lower elevations, and as a result, they tend to be much warmer. Cloud forests, on the other hand, are usually located at much higher elevations, and are much cooler. This difference in temperature contributes to the mist and fog that is often visible in cloud forests. However, despite being a little cooler than rainforests, cloud forests are very humid. An additional difference lies with topography. Rainforests tend to cover large expanses of land with little change in elevation, providing consistent conditions in terms of temperature, humidity and precipitation. Cloud forests, on the other hand, often feature dramatic shifts between the highest peaks and the lowest valleys, contributing to the accumulation of rainwater and atmospheric moisture.
Many tourists, including my Plus3 group, are drawn to Arenal due to the presence of ecotourism. Ecotourism is environmentally responsible tourism which involves visiting flora and fauna in natural areas. Arenal provides many activities in this domain. Examples include swimming in natural pools, hiking, going to rainforests, seeing waterfalls, and being educated on local ecosystems. To add to that, people are drawn to Arenal in particular due to its unique landscape (due to having mountains, volcanoes, lakes, and rainforests) as well as the large variety of plants and animals here. Thus, there are so many ecotourism opportunities in this location.
There are several supply chain challenges that businesses running adventure tours here face. The largest issue involves getting workers with the correct skill set. Because tourists from many different countries come to Costa Rica, tourism businesses need workers that can speak multiple languages. These workers must be able to work as translaters. They need to understand and communicate with customers. Without workers with this skillset, these tourism organizations would not be able to provide for a large enough customer base that would support their business. Furthermore, acuiring talent is a major supply chain issue for adventure tour based businesses.
Another challenge that tourism based organizations had to deal with was the Pandemic. COVID-19 had a big impact on these tourism-dependent companies. Since many less people were willing to travel during the pandemic, these companies were at risk of losing their customers. Moreover, the companies in La Fortunata struggled to respond to this. The main response which was discussed in our lecture today was that these companies had to use the money that they were saving in order to open a different type of business. Another response was changed the way that these tourism activities are marketed in order to make them appeal to locals, instead of just visitors. These approaches, along with others, helped to keep the tourism industry alive during the pandemic.
From what I have learned today, I learned that ecotourism is a much more sustainable form of tourism. In addition, more companies should aspire to adapt this model in the future in order to better our world.