Latin American development politics include manifold interventions in rural areas, among them extractivist industry. Paradoxically, scholars have adopted the term neo-extractivism to criticise left-led governments’ justification of natural resource use to provide welfare to the population. This research embraces neo-extractivism to understand socio-environmental changes introduced through tourism initiatives in Ecuadorian rural landscapes. While the case in the Pacific coast of Santa Elena relates the promotion of small-scale tourism in rural areas to enclave economies, the case in Ecuadorian highlands incorporating the Qhapaq Ñan project relates community-based tourism expectations with developmental practices. Ethnographic accounts and qualitative analysis reveal practices leading to intense use of local resources, commoditisation of material and immaterial resources at local level, and the social stress on development projects. In this way, a neo-extrativist gaze shed light on the intersection of rural studies and anthropological approaches of tourism in the Andes.
From the Coast to the Highlands: Tourism as a Field for Neo-extractivism in the Rural Andes;