Tourism in protected areas: integrating conservation and community development in Liwonde National Park (Malawi)
Novelli, M. and Scarth, A. (2007) Tourism in protected areas: integrating conservation and community development in Liwonde National Park (Malawi) Tourism and Hospitality: Planning & Development, 4 (1). pp. 47-73. ISSN 1479 053X
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Despite the spatial significance of protected areas and the increasing threats posed to the world’s biodiversity by various agents, successful conservation still remains controversial and inconsistent. In this context, protected areas have become a core attraction for nature-based tourism activities, valued for their ability to generate financial benefits in a non-extractive way, thus effectively enabling the sustainability of biodiversity. This paper reviews literature on the relationships between protected areas, conservation, local communities and tourism and evaluates key issues related to the integrated conservation and development (ICD) approach. This is then proposed as an alternative way to traditional protected area management in conjunction with a diversified local livelihood approach. Based on empirical findings from Liwonde National Park in Malawi, key issues related to conservation and community development are explored focusing on how the financial benefit provided by tourism for the government does not reflect the little opportunities offered to local communities in terms of involvement and economic development. The paper explains the need for an artificial linkage of revenue sharing as a community incentive as well as an effective ICD approach. Some general considerations on the management of protected areas, the role of tourism and the conflicting position of the communities in relation to the former two are also offered.
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