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postgraduate thesis: Ecotourism planning and sustainable community development in Nepal

TitleEcotourism planning and sustainable community development in Nepal
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Chan, RCK
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Bhatta, K. D.. (2014). Ecotourism planning and sustainable community development in Nepal. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5328039
AbstractAlthough believed to be existed long ago in practice, the notion of ecotourism has received widespread recognition in the academia only after 1980s. In recent years, scholars have strongly advocated ecotourism as a tool to achieve socio-economic development vis-a-vis environmental conservation in the developing countries, such as Nepal. Unlike traditional forms of tourism, it has been theoretically portrayed as an ethically responsible travel that could minimize negative impacts, generates funds for conservation, benefits local communities, and educates visitors. However, in practice, there are also the cases where ecotourism has fallen short of its proposed objectives, and caused environmental and socio-cultural problems in the destination communities. To maximize and materialize its potential benefits and promote sustainability, there has been a growing emphasis on the appropriate planning of ecotourism development. However research in this area in the less developed countries is limited. Existing literatures reveal that contemporary researchers have not focused their attention to the critical areas of ecotourism planning, and therefore it is still in an adolescence stage (Weaver and Lawton, 2007). More specifically, relationship between ecotourism planning and its contribution towards sustainable community development in the protected areas (PAs) of developing countries such as Nepal is rarely studied. In this context, this study aims to critically explore the local issues, impacts and dynamics of ecotourism planning and its relationship with and contribution towards sustainable community development in the PAs of Nepal. By employing a theoretical lens of Community-oriented Collaborative (Co-C) ecotourism planning, the key research question of the study was investigated empirically in the case of Annapurna Sanctuary (AST) Trail of the Annapurna Conservation Area and the Everest Trail (ET) of the Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) National Park in Nepal. Combination of multiple data collection approaches such as structured questionnaire survey with the households, semi-structured interview with the key informants, informal discussion with stakeholders including porters and trek guides, participant observation, and archival research have been adopted. A qualitative-interpretative approach was used in the analysis of different qualitative and quantitative data. Empirical findings arguably suggest that the key objectives of ecotourism are not truly achieved in both destinations; although (eco)tourism in the AST has performed comparatively better than ET. It revealed that context of community participation and stakeholder’s collaboration in the AST is fairly more effective and efficient than ET. It also indicated that community-based planning approach in the AST is more appropriate than the planning approach adopted in ET which is normally controlled by the PA authority and its defacto Buffer Zone Management Committee. The survey findings on community impacts of (eco)tourism, and the context of participation and collaboration in the AST and ET have supported the key proposition of “Co-C” ecotourism planning i.e. “more inclusive and effective the community participation and collaboration in ecotourism development, more effectively it will contribute to maximize socio-economic benefits to local communities; protect local environment, resources, and heritage; and promote sustainable community development in the PAs”. This study indicated that perceived benefits and costs of (eco)tourism largely depend on the level of community participation in (eco)tourism activities and decision-making process; capacity to influence decisions; capacity to collaborate with stakeholders; availability of resources, skills, knowledge and education; proximity to the major trail; and networking and communication skills. By using their skills, knowledge and resources, residents usually tend to participate and influence (eco)tourism development process. In both the study areas, residents in OT, usually the low-caste minorities, porters, farmers, and non-entrepreneurs are found relatively less empowered and less capable to integrate into tourism industry and decision-making process than the residents in MT. Based on the research findings, this study has suggested planning and policy recommendations to empower the poor and marginalized section of community; enhance local economy; protect local resources; and promote sustainable community development in the PA settlements of Nepal.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectEcotourism - Nepal - Planning
Community development - Nepal
Dept/ProgramUrban Planning and Design
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206759

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorChan, RCK-
dc.contributor.authorBhatta, Kishan Datta-
dc.date.accessioned2014-11-29T23:16:36Z-
dc.date.available2014-11-29T23:16:36Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationBhatta, K. D.. (2014). Ecotourism planning and sustainable community development in Nepal. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5328039-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206759-
dc.description.abstractAlthough believed to be existed long ago in practice, the notion of ecotourism has received widespread recognition in the academia only after 1980s. In recent years, scholars have strongly advocated ecotourism as a tool to achieve socio-economic development vis-a-vis environmental conservation in the developing countries, such as Nepal. Unlike traditional forms of tourism, it has been theoretically portrayed as an ethically responsible travel that could minimize negative impacts, generates funds for conservation, benefits local communities, and educates visitors. However, in practice, there are also the cases where ecotourism has fallen short of its proposed objectives, and caused environmental and socio-cultural problems in the destination communities. To maximize and materialize its potential benefits and promote sustainability, there has been a growing emphasis on the appropriate planning of ecotourism development. However research in this area in the less developed countries is limited. Existing literatures reveal that contemporary researchers have not focused their attention to the critical areas of ecotourism planning, and therefore it is still in an adolescence stage (Weaver and Lawton, 2007). More specifically, relationship between ecotourism planning and its contribution towards sustainable community development in the protected areas (PAs) of developing countries such as Nepal is rarely studied. In this context, this study aims to critically explore the local issues, impacts and dynamics of ecotourism planning and its relationship with and contribution towards sustainable community development in the PAs of Nepal. By employing a theoretical lens of Community-oriented Collaborative (Co-C) ecotourism planning, the key research question of the study was investigated empirically in the case of Annapurna Sanctuary (AST) Trail of the Annapurna Conservation Area and the Everest Trail (ET) of the Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) National Park in Nepal. Combination of multiple data collection approaches such as structured questionnaire survey with the households, semi-structured interview with the key informants, informal discussion with stakeholders including porters and trek guides, participant observation, and archival research have been adopted. A qualitative-interpretative approach was used in the analysis of different qualitative and quantitative data. Empirical findings arguably suggest that the key objectives of ecotourism are not truly achieved in both destinations; although (eco)tourism in the AST has performed comparatively better than ET. It revealed that context of community participation and stakeholder’s collaboration in the AST is fairly more effective and efficient than ET. It also indicated that community-based planning approach in the AST is more appropriate than the planning approach adopted in ET which is normally controlled by the PA authority and its defacto Buffer Zone Management Committee. The survey findings on community impacts of (eco)tourism, and the context of participation and collaboration in the AST and ET have supported the key proposition of “Co-C” ecotourism planning i.e. “more inclusive and effective the community participation and collaboration in ecotourism development, more effectively it will contribute to maximize socio-economic benefits to local communities; protect local environment, resources, and heritage; and promote sustainable community development in the PAs”. This study indicated that perceived benefits and costs of (eco)tourism largely depend on the level of community participation in (eco)tourism activities and decision-making process; capacity to influence decisions; capacity to collaborate with stakeholders; availability of resources, skills, knowledge and education; proximity to the major trail; and networking and communication skills. By using their skills, knowledge and resources, residents usually tend to participate and influence (eco)tourism development process. In both the study areas, residents in OT, usually the low-caste minorities, porters, farmers, and non-entrepreneurs are found relatively less empowered and less capable to integrate into tourism industry and decision-making process than the residents in MT. Based on the research findings, this study has suggested planning and policy recommendations to empower the poor and marginalized section of community; enhance local economy; protect local resources; and promote sustainable community development in the PA settlements of Nepal.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshEcotourism - Nepal - Planning-
dc.subject.lcshCommunity development - Nepal-
dc.titleEcotourism planning and sustainable community development in Nepal-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5328039-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineUrban Planning and Design-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5328039-

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