Theories on community participation in ecotourism development advocate obtaining maximum levels of both community control and benefit to achieve sustainable tourism. This paper explores issues in community-based ecotourism development in a small, remote community in western Mongolia. It assesses the community’s desire to develop ecotourism, their understanding of the issues involved and the feasibility of the process in a poor herding community, where 63% are herdsmen, frequently absent with their herds. Using responses from 100 participants together with interviews with key stakeholders, it describes and analyzes the difficulties in establishing community participation and ecotourism implementation. Findings revealed that long-term viable community-based ecotourism development in remote areas requires close collaboration and sustained support from trusted community leaders and from knowledgeable and committed outside stakeholders. Approaches need to be carefully tailored to local circumstances, not “one size fits all”. Key areas of concern were environmental and cultural, including fears that their tradition of hospitality might be compromised, perceptions of the local NGO’s benefits to the community and local, often na¨ıve, expectations of ecotourism development. Despite fears, over 90% of those interviewed were willing to participate in an ecotourism project in this high-risk, unforgiving economic and climatic setting. Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
|Journal||Journal of Sustainable Tourism|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2011|
CitationNault, S., & Stapleton, P. (2011). The community participation process in ecotourism development: A case study of the community of Sogoog, Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19(6), 695-712.
- Remote communities
- Community-based ecotourism
- Western Mongolia
- Participatory process
- Community participation