Does Tourism Really Help Revitalise Management of National Parks as Commons? Lessons Learned from West Bali National Park, Indonesia

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"National Parks in developing countries often face the harsh reality that local communities do not support them, creating protracted Park- people conflicts. Critics comment that the change of status, from common property to state property, which limits community access to the Park's natural resources, and failure to exert effective management have led to such conflicts. Of numerous approaches to address these problems, tourism has been promoted as having the potential to encourage conservation, reducing pressure upon natural resources, and to simultaneously provide economic opportunities for local communities. Ultimately, tourism could improve the use and governance of Parks as commons. While tourism has been integral to many National Parks in developing countries, little is known about whether it has really helped reduce natural resource degradation resulting from open access. "This study of the West Bali National Park, Indonesia, aimed to explore the impacts of tourism in conservation areas, as endorsed by Indonesian Government Regulation Number 18/1994 on Nature Tourism Enterprising in Utilisation Zones of National Parks, Botanical Gardens, and Recreation Parks, on Park administration and local communities, and the implications of these impacts for management of Parks as commons. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews of semi-randomly selected villagers from three villages situated just outside the Park boundary, semi- structured interviews with Park officials and tourism operators, and analysis of government documents and newspapers. Results suggest that tourism has affected Park administration by demoralising employees through (a) forced changes of Park zoning to give way to construction of private tourism facilities in the utilisation zone; (b) setting up of activities incompatible with Park objectives; and (c) loss of additional income that had been enjoyed for years up to the application of Regulation 18/1994. The local community experienced some positive effects of tourism through employment opportunities and generation of alternative livelihoods. However, removal of access to protected lands and general feelings that local people were being unfairly treated by the Park administration which appeared to favour outside tourism organisations promoted a lack of respect for the Park and increased pressure on it as a resource for the provision of firewood and fodder. "The overall situation, however, is not too bleak. The advent of tourism has induced (a) the adoption of a collaborative management scheme by local-level stakeholders to help the Park manage its coastal environment, and (b) demand from local communities for a traditional use zone in the Park and for promotion of community-based forestry management to reduce pressures upon the Park's terrestrial environment. "It is concluded that improvements to the state of the Park produced by these initiatives would be enhanced by the 'pro-poor tourism' approach. This approach uses tourism as a community development vehicle to enable sustainable livelihoods in community-based natural resource management and has the potential to expand Park administration and tourism companies' social responsibility to address challenges of involving communities in conservation."



IASC, tourism, parks, common pool resources, conservation, environmental policy