Assessment of the Existing Tourism-Park-Community Relationships: A Case Study in the Inle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, Myanmar

Assessment of the Existing Tourism-Park-Community Relationships: A Case Study in the Inle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, Myanmar

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Author(s)

Author(s): Yanhong Liu, Ei Sandi Sett

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465 1153 24-37 Volume 3 - Feb 2014

Abstract

Ecotourism is increasingly recognized as a community development tool with significant economic contribution. The ecotourism industry is experiencing increasing popularity as the demand grows for tourism that is environmentally sensitive, informative, and beneficial for local communities. Generally, Myanmar, as in other developing countries, has been promoting its 15 protected areas as ecotourism sites, and there have been only few studies about ecotourism and community development. In this research, Inle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary (ILWS) was selected as a case study in order to assess the current status of ecotourism, also to evaluate the existing tourism-park-community relationships and impacts at this site where it is being promoted as a regional development strategy. Through an evaluation of the existing tourism-park-community relationships, opportunities and constraints are identified. Ecotourism development was found to be at an early stage in the study area, despite only other types of tourism such as nature-based tourism and cultural tourism have developed as a main stream for many years. Tourism activity has not contributed revenues towards conservation to date and as a result tourism has yet to raise funds for management or conservation activities. Socioeconomic benefits for the local community have been limited. Controversial activities will come in the form of increased employment opportunities from the development of ecotourism. This is especially important because many of the threats arising from the need of the local community to use natural resources for their livelihoods. Further recommendations are offered for the policy planners both of the government and the administrative bodies, as well as for the local communities of the Inle Lake. These are followed by the additional suggestions for further studies.

Keywords

Ecotourism, Tourism, Protected Areas, Park, Community Development, Inle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, ILWS, Conservation

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