Community agency and entrepreneurship in ecotourism planning and development in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area

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11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In much of southern Africa, ecotourism has been widely acknowledged as critical for enhancing livelihoods of communities living outside protected areas. Several studies highlight the potential of tourism as a mechanism for driving rural economies in Africa. Using the case of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park shared among Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Mozambique, this paper demonstrates how communities are engaging in ecotourism entrepreneurship. A decade after the emergence of transfrontier parks in the region, no studies have explored how new and vibrant assemblages of individuals and community actors tap the potential of ecotourism. This study is based on 57 semi-structured interviews with participants drawn from four wards in southeast Zimbabwe. In addition, a netnography (online ethnography) of a Facebook page administered by a local community trust promoting ecotourism was undertaken. Findings demonstrate that innovative community leaders imagine, embrace, and exploit ecotourism opportunities that arise from their proximity to transfrontier parks. More specifically, this study characterises these entrepreneurs, their local and extra-local connections, how they actively engage in social networking to promote cultural tourism and development of a visible ecotourism product. This paper contributes to the understudied aspect of social entrepreneurship in ecotourism planning within transfrontier conservation areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-203
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ecotourism
Volume14
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

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