What is the economic impact of ecotourism for the poor in Lao PDR?
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Ecotourism has been promoted not least as a tool for reducing poverty in developing countries. This article quantifies the economic impact at the household level of two community-based ecotourism projects in northern Laos; one project is private and the other is publicly owned. This is done to illustrate how much economic benefit is distributed to poor households in the two communities. The study finds that ecotourism provides various linkage opportunities to the local economy through employment in the forms of guiding, cooking, massage, handicraft and accommodation. However, the distribution of income is maintaining inequality among different classes in these two communities. Gini coefficients show lower inequality in the village where the privately owned ecotourism company is based. The distributional effect of tourism income still spreads out unevenly between different groups of people in both cases. A minority of the population receives nearly half of their income from the publicly owned businesses. Thus ecotourism projects for poverty reduction cannot be assumed to provide benefits equally to all households. It is thus argued that poverty reduction measures should focus on the lowest income group.
ecotourism, income equality, economic impact, linkage, poverty reduction, Lao PDR
Social and Economic Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-50081OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-50081DiVA: diva2:458994