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|Benefit potential of ecotourism in Nepal
|Pasa, Rajan Binayek
|Ecotourism;Cultural tourism;Community development;Rural livelihood
|Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences ,Rural Developmen
|Faculty of Humanities & Social Science
|This study underscores on the area of benefit potential of ecotourism in the context of Nepal. However, professional background, personal interests, and the gaps in literature review had tremendously motivated the researcher to explore the benefit potential of ecotourism. Moreover, this study applies quantitative approach and cross-sectional survey design. The numerical data were collected from 745 community people (tourism entrepreneurs) belonging to three ecological regions: Mountain, Hill, and Tarai. The researcher has brought theoretical insights from alternative tourism development (i.e. ecotourism, cultural tourism and creative tourism), assets based community development approach, sustainable rural livelihood approach and theory of practice, which are then supported by the empirical findings in the study. Empirically, the study was conducted around Sagarmatha national park (UNESCO Heritage site) located in Pasang Khumbulhamu rural municipality of Solukhumbu district; Annapurna conservation area (Largest conservation area of the country) located in Annapurna rural municipality of Kaski district and Chitwan national park (UNESCO Heritage site) located in Ratnanagar municipality of Chitwan district. The household survey, key informant interview and participant observation techniques were applied from 20 October 2019 to 30 December 2019 for collecting numerical data and generating narrative information. Statistically, social demographic index seems significant for the analysis of family food sufficiency, personal means of transportation, land ownership types and ecology but insignificant for sex group and caste/ethnicity. Ecotourism index seems significant for entrepreneurial skills, beneficiaries’ groups, and ecology and insignificant for types of tourism services. The KAP index seems insignificant for gender, ecology, and caste/ethnicity. Multiple benefits indexes seem significant for number of accommodation room and ecology but insignificant for beneficiaries group, types of tourism services, caste/ethnicity and business investment. Logistic regression model for types of tourism service with respect to social demographic and entrepreneurial characteristics, KAP and economic benefit found significant. Factor analysis model developed two significant explainable factors (government support, marketing, plan; community, culture, and hospitality) from KAP related variables and developed four significantly explainable factors (community building and infrastructure; cultural sentiments and social capital; transformative role of women and hospitality; agro-ecotourism and garbage management) from multiple benefits related variables. Discriminant functions model explained knowledge as stronger predictor than attitude for the educational choice and explained economic benefit and cultural benefit as stronger predictors than social benefit for migration decision. Multiple regressions model for KAP index with respect to social demographic characteristics found significant and the multiple benefit potential index with respect to entrepreneurial characteristics also found significant. Finally, ecotourism is creating economic, social, cultural, environmental, education and health benefits to the community people significantly. Thus, knowledge generated from this study has greater implication on knowledge level (at conceptual, theoretical and methodological), practice level (to the experts and stakeholders who are working for tourism and rural development) and policy level (to the policy makers and planners working in central and local levels).
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