Drivers and socioeconomic impacts of tourism participation in protected areas

Nature-based tourism has the potential to enhance global biodiversity conservation by providing alternative livelihood strategies for local people, which may alleviate poverty in and around protected areas. Despite the popularity of the concept of nature-based tourism as an integrated conservation and development tool, empirical research on its actual socioeconomic benefits, on the distributional pattern of these benefits, and on its direct driving factors is lacking, because relevant long-term data are rarely available. In a multi-year study in Wolong Nature Reserve, China, we followed a representative sample of 220 local households from 1999 to 2007 to investigate the diverse benefits that these households received from recent development of nature-based tourism in the area.

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