Natural resources, sustainable tourism development and community livelihoods relationships: A comparison between Botswana and the USA

Moren T. Stone, Gyan P. Nyaupane, Dallen J. Timothy, Lesego S. Stone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


In many developing countries, tourism has been adopted as a driver to improve local community livelihoods. With most communities depending on their natural resources for tourism development, it is assumed that through benefits from natural resources, communities can achieve community development and will be willing to promote conservation efforts in a win-win outlook. Using the concept of sustainable tourism development as the theoretical underpinnings, this chapter explores relationships among natural resources, conservation, community livelihoods and sustainable tourism development adjacent to protected areas, with specific reference to communities around the Chobe National Park (CNP), Botswana and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), USA. The two were selected owing to the lack of comparative studies between the Global North and the Global South to explain relationships between protected areas and surrounding communities and the role tourism plays. Through the use of appreciative inquiry approach, community asset mapping and secondary data sources, the chapter discusses implications of the Chobe Enclave Community Trust’s (CECT) community-based tourism initiative on the five participating villages’ community livelihoods. Comparatively, the chapter explores the same in sixteen communities surrounding the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, fourteen of which are in Utah and two in Arizona, USA. Mixed results were obtained. Results indicate that sustainable tourism development has provided employment opportunities, diversified livelihood options, empowerment and community participation and natural resource conservation for the CECT. Similarly, results obtained from communities around the GSENM indicate that some community members own and operate tourism businesses, provide employment opportunities for others in the community, organise events and festivals, and provide marketing initiatives to promote tourism, something missing in the Botswana case. Furthermore, in both communities, conflicts were reported, such as increased human-wildlife encounters at CECT, vandalism of canyons and off-track driving at GSENM. Results are essential in assisting tourism policy makers and practitioners to appreciate and possibly adopt adaptive management strategies to improve the relationship between natural resources, conservation, tourism and community livelihoods. Furthermore, by comparing results from a developed and developing country, lessons can be learnt at the global level, with the hope that sustainable tourism development can be enhanced and measures that bring better socio-economic and conservation outcomes espoused.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNatural Resources, Tourism and Community Livelihoods in Southern Africa
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges of Sustainable Development
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000763591
ISBN (Print)9780367254124
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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