Publications

Authenticity and the Contradictions of the “Ecotourism Script” : Global Marketing and Local Politics in Ghana

Büscher, Bram; Bremer, Renée van den; Fletcher, Robert; Koot, Stasja

Summary

Tourism in Ghana has been developing rapidly over the last decade. By marketing over a dozen “community ecotourism” sites, particularly around monkey and forest sanctuaries, Ghana hopes to attract travellers to spend money in the country and so aid local development and protect natural resources. This paper analyses this trend, outlining several contradictions in the country’s national branding of “authenticity” in ecotourism and how this takes local shape in the case of the Tafi-Atome monkey sanctuary in Eastern Ghana. We propose that actors on different levels in Ghana appear to market and brand ecotourism according to a “script” that directs and influences local ecotourism practices in ways that obscure these contradictions and thereby enable continuation of and belief in the script. We conclude that this “ecotourism script” is central to the promotion and implementation of ecotourism in general, and needed to maintain the belief that the activity is an important conservation and development panacea.