Community Involvement In The Assessment Of The Importance Of Sustainable Rural Tourism Indicators For Protected Areas: The Case Of The Nevado De Toluca National Park In Mexico
Free (open access)
417 - 428
G. González Guerrero, M. E. Valdez Pérez, R. Morales Ibarra
This paper uses objective sustainable tourism indicators in a subjective way to examine the importance that local people attaches to them. The legal rights that local people have over resources in Protected Areas make it not only important but also crucial that communities be involved in monitoring. For this reason it is necessary to know the importance they attach to indicators, which, in turn could be considered as a reflection of the importance they attach to resources. For the research, a revision of available indicators was conducted. Nineteen of these indicators were selected as being applicable to the context of the Nevado de Toluca National Park. Interviews were conducted with the local people in three parts. The first part referred to their perception of the tourism activity in the area, the importance they attached to each of the indicators using a 5-point Likert scale, and their knowledge ability on the subjects of sustainable development or tourism. The second part of the interview consisted of a set of 12 photos they had to order according to the importance they attached to them. These pictures were representative of the resources found in the Nevado Park and the community. The last part of the interview was meant to help characterise the household as regard to their livelihoods. The paper concludes that more work needs to be done with indicators at the community level. Because of the technicalities of indicators, there exists the risk of leaving the local people at bay even though sustainable tourism has called for community involvement. Although interviewees attached importance to the monitoring of resources it is equally important that they understand their possible participation in it.
rural tourism, sustainability indicators, community involvement, national parks, Mexico