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A community perspective on local ecotourism development: lessons from Komodo National Park


Lasso, AH and Dahles, H, A community perspective on local ecotourism development: lessons from Komodo National Park, Tourism Geographies pp. 1-20. ISSN 1461-6688 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/14616688.2021.1953123


As developing countries are embracing new forms of tourism, particularly nature-based and community-based variants, the claim that an ecotourist-driven economy offers a sustainable future for local communities has come under critical scrutiny. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to this debate by investigating a nature-based UNESCO heritage site that has developed into a prominent ecotourist destination in Indonesia: Komodo National Park (KNP). Based on qualitative research, including participant observation, this paper raises the question as to whether ecotourism has been an appropriate strategy to secure the sustainability of KNP’s natural resources and accommodate the needs of local communities. The contribution of this paper is twofold: first, in offering a critical analysis of the transition to an ecotourist-driven economy from a local perspective, the paper reveals a series of failures to deliver on the sustainable development goals. In so doing, the paper contributes to the critical literature on ecotourism. Second, the paper draws attention to the diverse and multi-layered character of local communities and their embeddedness in a regional economy. In that, it recommends a broader scope of tourism policies beyond the level of the immediate protected area in order to include multiple stakeholders.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:local livelihoods, community-based tourism, development, ecotourism, Komodo Island, Indonesia
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Tourism
Research Field:Impacts of tourism
Objective Division:Commercial Services and Tourism
Objective Group:Tourism services
Objective Field:Economic issues in tourism
UTAS Author:Dahles, H (Professor Heidi Dahles)
ID Code:146106
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2021-08-20
Last Modified:2021-09-16

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