Understanding success factors for ensuring sustainability in ecotourism development in southern Africa

Scott Parker, Anshuman Khare

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Developing an ecotourism enterprise is a complex and difficult undertaking for an entrepreneur. In addition to a thorough understanding of market principles and business fundamentals, the entrepreneur must build strong, lasting and equitable partnerships with local communities, protect the environment, and operate in sometimes adverse national and local conditions. In evaluating the potential sustainability of an ecotourism project the entrepreneur must understand the critical success factors for the project. This paper provides a methodology of evaluation for the three major categories of critical success factors: (1) environmental (environmental quality, site boundaries, water and opportunity costs), (2) community (community partnerships, community definition, community dialogue, and poverty and social inclusion) and (3) economic (national political environment, adequate legal systems and security, infrastructure and government policy). By investigating and rating these success factors and understanding their affect on the potential of an ecotourism project, the entrepreneur can effectively compare the potential of different projects. This article attempts to create a framework for understanding the ecotourism success factors taking the example of southern African countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-46
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Ecotourism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Critical success factors
  • Ecotourism
  • Southern Africa


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