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Tribes and tribulations: the rise of ethno-tourism

Our increasing demand for adventure is pushing back the frontiers of tourism, but is it also posing a threat to tribal people? John Vidal investigates

When the Jarawa tribe of hunter-gatherers began to emerge in ones and twos from the dense rainforests of the Andaman islands in 1997, it seemed that these mysterious, handsome people only wanted to take a brief look at the modern world and would soon return to the trees.

But in the months that followed, shy Jarawa youths slowly gained in confidence and could be found hanging out on the side of a road recently built through their land. Then they started to stop cars and buses going by, and to beg for food. They even began to board ferries to travel between the islands.

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