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Gutic, Jorge
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects:
There is a need for new approaches to the management of tourism and natural resources in developing countries that recognise that there is often little tradition of stakeholder involvement in tourism planning and management and that, while wide and effective participation is to be encouraged, it is unrealistic to expect such participation to emerge quickly. The study evaluates recent trends and approaches in this literature and it develops two original conceptual frameworks for the management of tourism and natural resources in protected and other natural areas in developing countries: the Stakeholder and Resource Management Framework (STREM) and the Stakeholder Assessment Framework (STA). These related frameworks take into account the restricted character of public participation and the conflicts over development and conservation goals that are often found in tourist areas in such countries.These two frameworks develop a new approach to stakeholder involvement in tourism planning and management by objectives, where appropriate levels of tourism and resource use are defined in relation to the views of the affected parties. Use is made of stakeholder identification and analysis techniques, including assessments of their resource dependence and political power. Stakeholder interviews are conducted in order to assess the affected actors and to develop tourism and resource management strategies that reflect their views. The opinions of affected parties are evaluated in relation to valued resources, what to conserve, levels and kinds of resource use, and likely responses to various management proposals. The frameworks and related stakeholder interviews provide a structured and systematic approach to consultation with affected parties in tourism and resource planning and management in contexts where previously there has been little public participation. They provide managers with a better understanding of actor perspectives, thus enabling them to make more informed decisions. It adopts an anthropocentric perspective on sustainable tourism and resource use that gives prominence to stakeholder views on acceptable levels and kinds of resource use for tourism in natural areas.This study applies key aspects of both frameworks in the context of Los Roques National Park in Venezuela. This resulted in the identification of 21 stakeholder organisations representing tourism operators, government and NGOs, from which 30 representatives were interviewed, and also a decision pathway questionnaire was completed. Perceptions of the appropriateness of current tourism activities varied between different interest groups. Most stakeholders felt that the park's current tourist volumes were appropriate, but the degree of approval was highest for tourism actors and lowest for NGO members. Most stakeholders expressed concern about tourism-specific management problems. The management scenario considered most likely to be applied in the park in the future involves a growth in tourist numbers and related facilities together with increased tourism management. Differences between this scenario and the preferences of various stakeholders are identified, together with the tensions that may result. These results, and the use of the frameworks, have practical value for the park's management and for the management of similar natural areas in Venezuela and other less developed countries. The practical application of the frameworks and interviews is evaluated here in relation to their value as policymaking and management approaches, and the frameworks are also further refined in response to the lessons learnt.
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