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Costa Rica, Linking Tourism & Conservation,
Costa Rica represents a most remarkable model for the linking of tourism and conservation. Costa Rica enjoys 5% of the world's biological diversity on less than 1% of the world's land area. Rapid deforestation in the 1970s led to a bold decision to set a goal of protecting 25% of the country's land over 10 years. Today 126 protected areas makes up 31.5% of the national territory (26% public and 5.5% private). Costa Rica also abolished its military, allowing it to redirect funds towards sustainable tourism development and health initiatives. Tourism accounts for 268 out of every 1000 jobs, and 70% of travelers to Costa Rica visit natural areas. Costa Rica promotes sustainable tourism as opposed to ecotourism or nature tourism because it feels that economic sustainability linked to environmental sustainability is the key to long-term success in the preservation of the ecosystem - that conservation involves people and nature.