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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Local community participation in ecotourism and conservation issues in two nature reserves in Nicaragua

Gunnarsdotter, Yvonne


This paper explores the factors influencing community participation in ecotourism and how this affects conservation in the Nature Reserves of Mombacho Volcano and Datanlí-El Diablo in Nicaragua. Information was collected using individual structured and semi-structured interviews and focus groups, with local people, farmers and tour operators, combining quantitative and qualitative techniques. The farmers in the two communities are engaged in the protection of the reserves because of environmental concern and also because their own welfare is at stake. In different ways, the farmers and communities benefit from ecotourism, but not enough. Either they are excluded from the management system, or they lack resources to promote the sites and improve infrastructure. Community participation is to a large extent dependent on the management system, but it is not the only aspect required to make ecotourism successful. A minimum of governmental support to infrastructure and local entrepreneurship is required. In the case presented, there are direct economic benefits from ecotourism, as the records of visitors illustrate. But there are many differences between the two reserves and their communities, illustrating that ecotourism development is complex and demanding, and demonstrating that ecotourism is not a "one size fits all" approach to sustainable development.


community participation; ecotourism principles; protected areas; socioeconomic impacts; conservations awarness; local stakeholders

Published in

Journal of Sustainable Tourism
2012, Volume: 20, number: 8, pages: 1025-1043

    SLU Authors

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land
    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Anthropology

    Publication Identifiers


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