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Forests 2011, 2(4), 913-928; doi:10.3390/f2040913

Best Practices for Tourism Concessions in Protected Areas: A Review of the Field

1,* , 2
1 Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322–5210, USA 2 Center for Protected Area Management and Training, Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO 80523–1480, USA 3 Conservation International, Arlington, VA 22202–3787, USA 4 School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611–0410, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 October 2011 / Accepted: 21 October 2011 / Published: 2 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Expanding Forests’ Benefits: Forest-based Recreation and Tourism)
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Despite the importance of protected areas (PAs) worldwide to protect biodiversity, reduce poverty and promote sustainable development, throughout the world governments struggle to adequately fund PAs to meet conservation goals. Tourism is seen as a viable financial option for PAs, with tourism concessions through private sector partnerships gaining momentum that allows the overarching goal of preservation and conservation to remain with the state. However, without appropriate planning or best practices in place, tourism concessions can lead to such problems as waste, habitat destruction and the displacement of local people and wildlife. We analyzed tourism concession agreements in government documents from 22 countries to provide an overview of what best practices for tourism concessions are being established and what practices might need to be better incorporated into agreements. The greatest weaknesses of best practices appear to be with concession qualifications, legal, and financial responsibilities, while the strengths included environmental and empowerment/social responsibilities. This initial assessment of contract components will provide a baseline to further develop best practices and assist protected area managers, local communities, and conservation practitioners working with tourism in PAs to ensure that tourism has a positive impact on protected area management.
Keywords: best practices; protected areas; tourism concessions best practices; protected areas; tourism concessions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Wyman, M.; Barborak, J.R.; Inamdar, N.; Stein, T. Best Practices for Tourism Concessions in Protected Areas: A Review of the Field. Forests 2011, 2, 913-928.

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