oa Koedoe : African Protected Area Conservation and Science - The development of a tourism research framework by South African National Parks to inform management : original research



Tourism is critical source of financing for conservation in Africa. South African National Parks (SANParks) raises in excess of 80% of their own funds through tourism revenue. SANParks has a culture of co-learning between scientists and conservation managers through a process known as strategic adaptive management (SAM). Despite the critical role that tourism plays in SANParks, it has, until recently, not been formally incorporated in the SAM process. Moreover, SANParks recently adopted a new responsible tourism policy to guide the development and management of tourism across all national parks. The new policy calls for tourism that supports biodiversity conservation, is environmentally efficient and socially responsible. In 2011, SANParks initiated a tourism research programme to support the incorporation of tourism in SAM and to provide enabling information for the implementation of the responsible tourism policy. This article summarised the development of the tourism research programme in SANParks and its key research themes.

An active tourism research programme that integrates science and management is necessary for tourism to play a stronger role in delivering outcomes for conservation, neighbouring communities and broader society.


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