oa Koedoe : African Protected Area Conservation and Science - Good governance and tourism development in protected areas : the case of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, central Vietnam : original research
Protected areas are increasingly expected to serve as a natural income-producing resource via the exploitation of recreational and touristic activities. Whilst tourism is often considered a viable option for generating income which benefits the conservation of a protected area, there are many cases in which insufficient and opaque planning hinder sustainable development, thereby reducing local benefit sharing and, ultimately, nature conservation. This article delineated and examined factors in governance which may underlie tourism development in protected areas. Based on Graham, Amos and Plumptre's five good governance principles, a specific analysis was made of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in central Vietnam, which highlighted challenges in the practical implementation of governing principles arising for nature conservation, sustainable tourism development and complex stakeholder environments. Despite the limited opportunity of this study to examine the wider national and international context, the discussion facilitated an overview of the factors necessary to understand governance principles and tourism development. This article could serve as a basis for future research, especially with respect to comparative analyses of different management structures existing in Vietnam and in other contested centrally steered protected area spaces.
Conservation implications: This research has shown that tourism and its development, despite a more market-oriented and decentralised policymaking, is a fragmented concept impacted by bureaucratic burden, lack of institutional capacities, top-down processes and little benefit-sharing. There is urgent need for stakeholders - public and private - to reconcile the means of protected areas for the ends (conservation) by clarifying responsibilities as well as structures and processes which determine decision-making.
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