In Bolivia, the government is planning to support 2,000 community based tourism projects, despite the fact that in the past, due to limited market access, only a few projects have been successful. As Antje Monshausen reports, the context in which these projects operate also needs to be taken into account. Excluding commercial tour operators and only supporting the communities in creating new offers on the supply side may not be a wise option.
Tour operators can play an important role in providing market access for communities. However, cooperation agreements should not only be based on the sharing of economic benefits, but also on joint decision-making and political participation. Multi-stakeholder approaches, supported by NGOs and/or governmental institutions, would help to take social and environmental concerns into account.
The article by Antje Monshausen is based on research for her Master's thesis.
In June 2008, Antje joined EED-Tourism Watch.