Publication on Nature-Based Tourism and Community Benefits in Protected Areas

Publication featuring case studies that showcase how tourism in protected areas can benefit communities and the environment

  • Client: World Bank
  • Partners:
  • Project Duration: November 2017 - December 2018

Project Description

Tourism is one of the top five exports in over 150 countries, and ranks first in 60 countries. It represents 10% of all economic activity on the planet and provides for 1 in 100 jobs globally. Tourism can also contribute directly to the conservation of sensitive areas and habitats by bringing visitors to protected areas to learn, participate, and support local economies. In many countries, the most interesting and unique attractions (such as indigenous culture, wildlife, and nature reserves) are nearly always located in rural areas, where poverty is often the greatest and the most difficult to address. This presents incredible opportunities for tourism to contribute to both the economic development and conservation of biodiversity within a destination. The purpose of this project is to identify the best examples of how nature-based tourism around the world but specifically in South Asia is benefitting local communities and supporting conservation. In addition, this project will analyze how effective and efficient policies at the local level have enabled tourism development and share lessons learned directly from those on the ground—including business owners, conservation groups, communities, and governments. This information will be presented through a series of visually stunning case studies and the final output will serve as a source of both inspiration and practical information to encourage the development of similar tourism policies and private sector investments. These studies will be used to advise the World Bank Group on strategies to most effectively and sustainably use tourism for development goals, including poverty alleviation, economic growth, biodiversity conservation, and cultural preservation.

Major Activities

  • Research and Categorization: Desk research into the most effective and award-winning examples of sustainable development from around the world, and independent research about existing tourism and examples of successful eco-tourism ventures in Southern Asia, particularly in Nepal and India.
  • Case Study Finalization and Interview Methodology: Finalize and distill the preliminary list into a final document of models and programs suitable for in-depth research and contact and select the most viable programs for interview and further research. Create a standardized interview protocol to obtain consistent and comparable data from the different programs.
  • Outreach, Interviews, and Production/Presentation of Case Study Report: Conduct telephone interviews with contacts from the private sector, community organizations, conservation groups, and the government to obtain a variety of perspectives on each case study that will further inform the publication. Compile and design a visually stunning and inspiring power point presentation and more detailed case study publication.

Anticipated Results

  • Final Case Study Report and Presentation providing a detailed examination of each example chosen, including how they work, major contributions to the local environment and economy, lessons learned, and what elements would best apply to the target region.


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