NGOs in ecotourism: patrons of sustainability or neo-colonial agents? Evidence from Africa

Wondirad, Amare, Tolkach, Denis, and King, Brian (2019) NGOs in ecotourism: patrons of sustainability or neo-colonial agents? Evidence from Africa. Tourism Recreation Research, 45 (2). pp. 144-160.

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NGOs have become involved in ecotourism because of its potential to balance economic development, environmental conservation, and socio-cultural revitalisation. However, some critics have associated ecotourism with neo-colonialism and with the perpetuation of economic and political hegemonies because the concept has been advanced from the West. The present study adopts a qualitative research approach to explore the merits of two opposing views – that NGOs facilitate and advance sustainable development or that they are agents of neo-colonialism. The researchers focus on a nation which was spared the experience of colonisation – Ethiopia – to explore whether ecotourism practice can be accurately characterised as ‘neo-colonial’. Through a close examination of NGO involvement in ecotourism, the authors challenge the widely held view that NGOs use sustainable development as a pretext to promote neo-colonial ideas. The paper contributes to theory and practice by explaining the relationship between neo-colonialism and ecotourism. Implications and opportunities for future research are also discussed.

Item ID: 63290
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2320-0308
Keywords: Dependency, ecotourism, neo-colonialism, NGOs, Southern Ethiopia
Copyright Information: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The Author Accepted Manuscript version of the article is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2020 00:19
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3508 Tourism > 350801 Impacts of tourism @ 60%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440608 Recreation, leisure and tourism geography @ 40%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 60%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9403 International Relations > 940302 International Aid and Development @ 40%
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