Community based ecotourism as a panacea for protected areas: the use of common property theory in its analysis and development
Edwards, V. M. (2004) Community based ecotourism as a panacea for protected areas: the use of common property theory in its analysis and development. In: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: challenges, risks and opportunities, 9-13 August 2004, Mexico.
Official URL: http://www.iasc-commons.org/conferences/global/ias...
Tourism is the worlds largest employer, accounting for 10% of jobs worldwide (WTO, 1999). There are over 30,000 protected areas around the world, covering about 10% of the land surface(IUCN, 2002). Protected area management is moving towards a more integrated form of management, which recognises the social and economic needs of the worlds finest areas and seeks to provide long term income streams and support social cohesion through active but sustainable use of resources. Ecotourism - 'responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well- being of local people' (The Ecotourism Society, 1991) - is often cited as a panacea for incorporating the principles of sustainable development in protected area management. However, few examples exist worldwide to substantiate this claim. In reality, ecotourism struggles to provide social and economic empowerment locally and fails to secure proper protection of the local and global environment. Current analysis of ecotourism provides a useful checklist of interconnected principles for more successful initiatives, but no overall framework of analysis or theory. This paper argues that applying common property theory to the application of ecotourism can help to establish more rigorous, multi-layered analysis that identifies the institutional demands of community based ecotourism (CBE). The paper draws on existing literature on ecotourism and several new case studies from developed and developing countries around the world. It focuses on the governance of CBE initiatives, particularly the interaction between local stakeholders and government and the role that third party non-governmental organisations can play in brokering appropriate institutional arrangements. The paper concludes by offering future research directions."