Abstract

Ecotourism is a form of tourism which focuses on contributing to the preservation of natural and cultural resources while promoting economic contribution to local communities. Certain factors have been identified in the literature to optimize both preservation and economic contribution, but the strategies to accomplish these factors have not been defined. The purpose of this research was to identify through case analysis how each of the success factors in ecotourism development (i.e. an integrated approach, planning and a slow start, education and training, maximize local benefits, and evaluation and feedback) have been implemented in ecotourism cases. A series of ecotourism cases were analyzed. The success factors were identified and the strategies described under each factor were recorded. The data collected for all cases were pooled for each of the success factors and a matrix of five success factors with the corresponding strategies was created. Strategies that appeared as ‘recommended’ in the cases were not included in the analysis. The results indicated that factors and strategies differed. Within each factor there is no predominant strategy. Success factors should be re-evaluated and factors identified using an ecosystem management approach which puts the health of the environment as the foundation of tourism development. Standards need to be set and then strategies assigned to maintain standards for preservation and economic well-being.

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