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Article

Do Tourists’ Preferences Match the Host Community’s Initiatives? A Study of Sustainable Tourism in One of Africa’s Oldest Conservation Areas

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Center for Environmental Science Studies, Faculty of Science, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa 1000, Ethiopia
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Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, P.O. Box 2411, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
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Department of Geography, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281(S8), B-9000 Gent, Belgium
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School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Science, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Langgasse 85, 3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4167; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114167
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 27 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 November 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
Involvement of stakeholders in sustainable tourism, particularly in developing countries, is crucial for the success of tourism development. However, its implementation is often criticized for not considering stakeholders’ needs. This study explores tourists’ preferences for tourism activities, designed by local stakeholders, in one of the oldest conserved parks in East Africa—the Menagesha Suba Forest, in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. The study area is endowed with natural, cultural and historical, yet undeveloped, tourist attractions. The host community benefits little from tourism and is in continual conflict with the park administration. This study aims to provide new insights on potential engagement of stakeholders in sustainable tourism planning. In particular, we explored tourists’ preferences for activities designed by local stakeholders, as well as their preferences concerning the improvement of the park infrastructure. The local community has been engaged in group discussions to design community involvement activities in tourism, while park guest books have been consulted to identify infrastructure improvements suggested by tourists. A survey that embedded a discrete choice experiment was conducted among tourists that visited the Menagesha Suba Forest. Data were analyzed with mixed logit and latent class models. We identified preferences for infrastructure improvement in the park. Tourists’ preferences are heterogeneous and vary with their profile as foreigners, foreign residents, and locals. Furthermore, the study indicates that there is a mismatch between tourists’ preferences and activities designed by the host community for their engagement in tourism. Tourists might be unaware of the importance of such activities for local communities. On the other hand, the findings also imply that increasing host residents’ awareness of tourism and tourists’ preferences is required, prior to tourism activities planning. Hence, sustainable tourism planning and development needs to understand perception gaps between host residents and tourists for its smooth implementation. View Full-Text
Keywords: stakeholders’ engagement; sustainable tourism; choice experiment; Menagesha Suba Forest; Ethiopia stakeholders’ engagement; sustainable tourism; choice experiment; Menagesha Suba Forest; Ethiopia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tekalign, M.; Groot Zevert, N.; Weldegebriel, A.; Poesen, J.; Nyssen, J.; Van Rompaey, A.; Norgrove, L.; Muys, B.; Vranken, L. Do Tourists’ Preferences Match the Host Community’s Initiatives? A Study of Sustainable Tourism in One of Africa’s Oldest Conservation Areas. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4167. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114167

AMA Style

Tekalign M, Groot Zevert N, Weldegebriel A, Poesen J, Nyssen J, Van Rompaey A, Norgrove L, Muys B, Vranken L. Do Tourists’ Preferences Match the Host Community’s Initiatives? A Study of Sustainable Tourism in One of Africa’s Oldest Conservation Areas. Sustainability. 2018; 10(11):4167. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114167

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tekalign, Meron; Groot Zevert, Nicole; Weldegebriel, Amanuel; Poesen, Jean; Nyssen, Jan; Van Rompaey, Anton; Norgrove, Lindsey; Muys, Bart; Vranken, Liesbet. 2018. "Do Tourists’ Preferences Match the Host Community’s Initiatives? A Study of Sustainable Tourism in One of Africa’s Oldest Conservation Areas" Sustainability 10, no. 11: 4167. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114167

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