Drivers and Socioeconomic Impacts of Tourism Participation in Protected Areas

Authors: 
Liu, W.
Vogt, C.A.
Luo, J.
He, G.
Frank, K.A., Liu, J.
Year / Month: 
2012-04
Reference type: 
Journal Article
Source name: 
PLoS ONE
Summary: 

Nature-based tourism has the potential to enhance global biodiversity conservation by providing alternative livelihood strategies for local people, which may alleviate poverty in and around protected areas. Despite the popularity of the concept of nature-based tourism as an integrated conservation and development tool, empirical research on its actual socioeconomic benefits, on the distributional pattern of these benefits, and on its direct driving factors is lacking, because relevant long-term data are rarely available. In a multi-year study in Wolong Nature Reserve, China, we followed a representative sample of 220 local households from 1999 to 2007 to investigate the diverse benefits that these households received from recent development of nature-based tourism in the area. Within eight years, the number of households directly participating in tourism activities increased from nine to sixty. In addition, about two-thirds of the other households received indirect financial benefits from tourism. We constructed an empirical household economic model to identify the factors that led to household-level participation in tourism. The results reveal the effects of local households’ livelihood assets (i.e., financial, human, natural, physical, and social capitals) on the likelihood to participate directly in tourism. In general, households with greater financial (e.g., income), physical (e.g., access to key tourism sites), human (e.g., education), and social (e.g., kinship with local government officials) capitals and less natural capital (e.g., cropland) were more likely to participate in tourism activities. We found that residents in households participating in tourism tended to perceive more non-financial benefits in addition to more negative environmental impacts of tourism compared with households not participating in tourism. These findings suggest that socioeconomic impact analysis and change monitoring should be included in nature-based tourism management systems for long-term sustainability of protected areas.

Themes: 
Protected areas
Geo Coverage: 
China

About us

The Poverty and Conservation Learning Group is an international network of organisations that promotes learning on the linkages between biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction.

More about us

IIED The Poverty and Conservation Learning Group is a project coordinated by IIED.

UK AidArcus foundation

This website is funded by UK aid and the Arcus Foundation. The views expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of these organisations.

facebookFacebook
Follow us on Facebook

LinkedInLinkedIn
Join us on LinkedIn

newslettersE-bulletins
Subscribe to our E-bulletins

rss feedRSS Feed
Receive site updates via RSS