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Tourism partnerships in protected areas: Exploring contributions to sustainability

Pfueller, S.L., Lee, D. and Laing, J.H. (2011) Tourism partnerships in protected areas: Exploring contributions to sustainability. Environmental Management, 48 (4). pp. 734-749.

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Abstract

Partnerships between natural-area managers and the tourism industry have been suggested to contribute to sustainability in protected areas. This article explores how important sustainability outcomes of partnerships are to their members, how well they are realised and the features of partnerships leading to their achievement. In 21 case studies in Australia, interviews (n = 97) and surveys (n = 100) showed that of 14 sustainability outcomes, improved understanding of protected areas values and improved biodiversity conservation were the most important. Other highly ranked outcomes were greater respect for culture, heritage, and/or traditions; improved quality of environmental conditions; social benefits to local communities; and improved economic viability of the protected area. Scores for satisfaction with outcomes were, like those for importance, all high but were less than those for importance for the majority, with improvement in quality of environmental conditions showing the largest gap. The satisfaction score exceeded that for importance only for increased competitiveness of the protected area as a tourist destination. "Brown" aspects of sustainability, i.e., decreased waste or energy use, were among the lowest-scoring outcomes for both importance and satisfaction. The most important factor enabling sustainability outcomes was provision of benefits to partnership members. Others were increased financial support, inclusiveness, supportive organisational and administrative arrangements, direct involvement of decision makers, partnership maturity, creation of new relationships, decreased conflict, and stimulation of innovation. Improving sustainability outcomes, therefore, requires maintaining these partnership attributes and also increasing emphasis on reducing waste and resource use.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © The Author(s) 2011
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/5385
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