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It’s Ecotourism Time at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries!

Every year, the monarchs reach Mexico in early November and they leave in late March. And as the butterflies come and go, so do tourists.

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In February and March, the monarchs put on their peak performance. Due to the warmer and drier weather of late winter, the butterflies fill the sky. They fly from their colonies in search of water and to exercise their flight muscles. It’s a sight to behold, and tourism is at its peak during the 2 months before the butterflies depart.

The majority of tourists come from Mexico City, which is only a 4 hour drive away. This means weekend tourist traffic is heavy and weekday traffic is relatively light. During the butterflies’ 5 month stay, local people can earn money from the visiting tourists. But money available from tourists rises and falls depending on the season and the day of week, due to the calendars of the people and the migrating butterflies.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ecotourism as, “The practice of touring natural habitats in a manner meant to minimize ecological impact.”

The word “ecotourism” was coined in 1986. To conservationists, ecotourism is often seen as a strategy to help protect a natural area. The reasoning goes like this: if local people can earn money from visiting tourists, they will have an economic incentive to protect natural habitat rather than develop it for other economic uses.


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