Governance and local participation in Ecotourism: community-level tourism stakeholders in Chiang Rai province, Thailand

PALMER, Nicola and CHUAMUANGPHAN, Nipon (2018). Governance and local participation in Ecotourism: community-level tourism stakeholders in Chiang Rai province, Thailand. Journal of Ecotourism, 17 (3), 320-337.

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This paper takes as its starting point the assertion that community-based ecotourism is an activity in which not all members of a community are able to be involved (through barriers or factors of exclusion) and/or wish to be involved (through personal choice). This has implications for discussions about community-level stakeholders, governance and tourism development. Firstly, the paper explores the actors’ interactions as they relate to the use of resources and environment. Within this theme are seen more specific sets of social relations and sustainability elements. These elements highlight key factors, beginning with the actors, the resource uses, and continuing with the influence of different resource management regimes, of power and authority, of networks of social relations, of patterns of governance, and of internal and external relations that occur with actors both inside and outside the local villages. The geographical context is three villages in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai, a key international ecotourism area. The study is underpinned by use of a range of qualitative methods and considers the views of 70 key informants. Participation in tourism by Thai villagers is argued to reflect both ability to be involved (centred on land ownership and its restriction of livelihood opportunities) and active choice of involvement (the extent to which tourism is individually considered as a potential livelihood option). Involvement in community based ecotourism in a traditional hierarchical society like Thailand appears to be linked to an individual's social standing or general position in society and to be far from a matter of free choice. Governance – in the sense of social order, social coordination, social practices – is identified as having a key influence upon the ways in which participation in tourism occurs at a local level. Social status, legitimacy and power are highlighted as issues for further research in relation to further understanding the dynamics of community-based tourism development.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts > Department of Media Arts and Communication
Identification Number:
Page Range: 320-337
Depositing User: Nicola Palmer
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2018 11:51
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 01:16

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