The Effects of Tourism in Bolivia
Bolivia's tourism trade is growing, with more
than 800,000 travelers coming to see its dramatic mountains, historic cities
and rainforests in 2010, according to the World Bank. For this central South
American nation, which has experienced financial hardship for many years,
tourism represents a ray of hope, especially for Bolivian children.
of Bolivians live below the poverty line, making it one of the poorest
countries in South America, and children face significant challenges, including
exposure to violence, abuse and neglect, and a lack of education and health
care. For indigenous groups, the statistics are even more dire.
As tourism has slowly
increased, Bolivia has gained jobs; the World Travel and Tourism Council
new positions related to travel and tourism in 2012. Direct and indirect
economic benefits of tourism made up 6.3 percent of Bolivia's gross domestic
product (GDP) in 2011, and this share is increasing gradually.
Devotion to the Environment
Many people who travel
to Bolivia hope to explore its luscious landscapes. Ecotourism is an important
segment of Bolivia's travel industry, and the government has responded by
launching a wide range of projects aimed at keeping these beautiful destinations
unharmed for years to come and giving travelers more options for visiting the
country without damaging the environment.
For example, the
community of San José de Uchupiamonas and Conservation International partnered
to create the Chalalán
Ecolodge, a six-cabin lodge within Madidi National Park that can accommodate
up to 28 guests. Here, travelers can explore the natural beauty of Bolivia
through guided hikes, canoe trips and bird watching.
Avoiding a Blind Eye
When travelers head to
Bolivia to indulge in its rich culture and beautiful landscapes, they may not
notice the hardships that residents contend with daily. Bolivia
ranks below most Latin American nations in health care and development.
Public education is traditionally weak, and many places lack clean water and
basic sanitation. Bolivia's rate of income inequality is one of the highest in
ChildFund President and
Goddard traveled to Bolivia in May 2012 and met local families, who shared
some of their hopes and dreams with her. Cochabamba's Early
Child Development program, which supports the healthy development of
children under 5, is a stepping stone toward a complete education and a
As Bolivia continues to
grow as a tourism destination, we hope to see awareness of its challenges spread
as well. We rely on ChildFund supporters to keep the needs of Bolivian children
and their families in the spotlight so that more children in this country will
have sponsorship support that provides access to improved healthcare, nutrition