Community-based ecotourism development through stakeholder engagement and collaboration: A case of Lababia Village, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
Vanua, R. (2014). Community-based ecotourism development through stakeholder engagement and collaboration: A case of Lababia Village, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9294
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9294
This thesis argues that community and stakeholder engagement and collaboration in ecotourism development has been limited. However, involvement/engagement of stakeholders is important in the affairs of planning, governing and overall development at local level, and must become an integral part (Williams, 2006) of ecotourism development. While there has been much previous research on ecotourism, emergence of participatory tourism development is a relatively new component within prevailing socio-economic, cultural and political conditions. The concepts of ecotourism, community-based ecotourism, and community participation in tourism planning set the theoretical context of the study. The key question in this study is how can we achieve community-based ecotourism development and participation? Methods and conclusions of the thesis have not only provided critical commentaries about community-based ecotourism and participation but have also drawn clear identification of how stakeholders can effectively participate to achieve sustainable community-based ecotourism development. The aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness of community and stakeholder engagement and collaboration in ecotourism development in the context of a developing nation and provide recommendations as to how it may be achieved. As a result of the uneven distribution of economic benefits to the host community, the positive nature of socio-cultural impacts is admittedly perceived by the host community as poor in developing nations. Most, if not all, stakeholder engagement lacks transparency, and is characterised by political instability, lack of information and data about developmental issues, making it difficult to achieve sustainable ecotourism development. This draws attention to the need for tourism stakeholders and the local community to enhance local ecotourism development through stakeholder participation and collaboration. Lababia village in Papua New Guinea is no exception, as an internationally recognised area, Kamiali Wildlife Management, recognised as a biodiversity research area, fulfilled the requirements of a case study for this research, due to the potential in community-based ecotourism development, and the significance of the negative impact of tourism on the socio-economic nature of the host community. To achieve the research aim, the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) was applied to reveal the existing ways of how stakeholders can facilitate effective engagement and collaboration, and prioritise their recommendations about community-based ecotourism participation. Semi-structured follow-up interviews were conducted with a variety of the relevant stakeholders to further examine the current issues, problems, and concerns raised for the achievement of effective community and stakeholder engagement. The results of this thesis clearly demonstrate the importance of the facilitation of effective community and stakeholder engagement in community-based ecotourism development and that the local community cannot work without the participation and collaboration of other tourism stakeholders directly and indirectly involved in tourism.
University of Waikato
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