Local participation in community-based ecotourism development : a case study of Shewula, north-eastern Swaziland

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Ecotourism is often endorsed as an ideal tool sustainable development that can successfully link the dual goals of nature conservation and rural development. However, critics have highlighted that the negative impacts ecotourism on local communities can undermine the value community development. The participation of local communities in planning for, and implementing, ecotourism development has, therefore, been recommended. This paper addresses some of the problems facing a local community that has the opportunity to develop its own ecotourism venture. It focuses on the difficulties that have been encountered in securing the necessary local participation in planning for a proposed tourism development. These problems include a lack of local awareness about the proposed development, lack of support for the development and lack of capacity to plan a marketable, environmentally sustainable tourism product. Some of the actions for eliciting greater local participation and equipping local to plan for and accommodate tourism are presented. The application of these to the case study reveals a need for sensitivity to local conditions on the part of external agents of change.

Bibliography: pages 27-33.