Female perceptions towards collaborative ecotourism management in Thailand
Dhakal, SP 2006, 'Female perceptions towards collaborative ecotourism management in Thailand', in G Lidestav & E Holmgren (eds), Proceedings: Symosium on Gender and Forestry and IUFRO 6.08.01 Workshop, Umeå, Sweden, 17-21 June, Faculty of Forest Sciences Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden, p. 257.
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Collaborative Ecotourism Management (CEM) has increasingly been embraced by rural communities in developing countries across the globe as a tool for sustainable community development. While the role of women in CEM is often emphasized, little attention has been paid to integrate their perceptions in formulating CEM strategies in Southeast Asia. In that milieu, study was designed to investigate whether or not the female members perceive and desire CEM differently in and around Pailom and Ampuvararam Temple Wildlife Non Hunting Area. Located in an outskirt of Bangkok, pristine swamp forests, thousands of migratory birds and two ancient Buddhist temples in the vicinity have made this IUCN Category VI Protected Area (PA) a popular ecotourism destination. However, neither the PA nor the communities in and around it have been able to tap the economic benefits accruing from ecotourism opportunities due to the lack of systematic institutional management. Therefore, a semi-structured questionnaire was administered in a community adjacent to PA to elicit resident‘s perceptions regarding their willingness to participate and willingness to pay towards potential CEM. Quantitative analysis of responses indicated that female respondents a) perceived there were less benefits from PA, b) were less willing to participate and c) were willing to pay less towards CEM compared to the male counterparts. Qualitative analysis indicated that heterogeneous gender perceptions were shaped by the excluding nature of the stakeholders towards female members of the community. Ambiguous mandate for the PA management to involve community in the decision-makings was the primary concern of the stakeholders that could eventually affect CEM outcomes. Study recommended that existing national protected area policy be amended to facilitate deliberative participation and integrate gender specific perceptions to ensure sustainability of CEM.