At its best, community-based ecotourism promotes environmental conservation, contributes to economic livelihood and helps preserve local cultures. Ecotourism visitors usually stay with local families, have community guides, and participate in tourism activities built on local and indigenous knowledge. Informal learning and education of both visitors and hosts are critical to the success of community-based ecotourism projects. This research project has documented: (a) the informal ecotourism “curriculum” and experiential learning of visitors; (b) community education related to ecotourism management, environmental conservation, cross-cultural exchange and political activism; and (c) gender dimensions of community-based ecotourism. The project has been conducted in conjunction with local NGOs and researchers Gad Wannitikul, Linh Tran and Kila Reimer in three Southesat Asian communities: Koh Yao Noi, near Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay National Park in the Andaman Sea; Chiphat, Cambodia, a remote rainforest village in the Cardamom Mountains; and Giao Xuan, a community in Vietnam’s Xuan Thuy National Park, part of the UNESCO Red River Biosphere Reserve. One aim of the research is to develop an open source clearinghouse of sustainable community-based ecotourism projects and practices, and exemplars of community-based ecotourism curricula for the education of visitors.
Local NGOs and researchers Gad Wannitikul, Linh Tran and Kila Reimer in three Southesat Asian communities: Koh Yao Noi, near Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay National Park in the Andaman Sea; Chiphat, Cambodia, a remote rainforest village in the Cardamom Mountains; and Giao Xuan, a community in Vietnam’s Xuan Thuy National Park, part of the UNESCO Red River Biosphere Reserve.
Reimer, J.K. & Walter, P. (2012). How do you know it when you see it? Community-based ecotourism in the Cardamom Mountains of southwestern Cambodia, Tourism Management 34, 122-132. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517712000659
Tran, L.T. & Walter, P. (2013). Ecotourism, gender and development in northern Vietnam. Annals of Tourism Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2013.09.005
Walter, P. (2013). Catalysts for transformative learning in community-based ecotourism. Current Issues in Tourism. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13683500.2013.850063#.Un7kcCcUZ6g
Walter, P. (2013). Theorizing visitor learning in ecotourism. Journal of Ecotourism 12(1), 15-32. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14724049.2012.742093
Walter, P. (2011). Gender analysis in community-based ecotourism. Tourism Recreation Research 36(2), 159-168. http://www.trrworld.org/article.php?aid=507&year=2011&vol=36&issue=2
Walter, P. (2009). Local knowledge and adult learning in environmental adult education: community-based ecotourism in southern Thailand. International Journal of Lifelong Education 28(4), 513-532. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02601370903031363
Walter, P. (2009). Environmental learning and education in marine wildlife ecotourism. Journal of Adult Learning Aotearoa New Zealand 37(2), 72-89.
Walter, P. (2004). Tourism and forest management among the Hani in Xishuangbanna, China. In Dev Nathan, Govind Kelkar and Pierre Walter (eds.) Globalization and Indigenous Peoples in Asia: Changing the Local-Global Interface (pp. 207-224). New Delhi, London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (book chapter) http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book227258/readership#tabview=toc
Walter, P. & Reimer, J.K. (2011). The ‘ecotourism curriculum’ and visitor learning in community-based ecotourism: case studies from Thailand and Cambodia. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research 17(5), 551-561. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10941665.2011.627930