Barriers to ecotourism supplier success: A comparison of agency and business perspectives

Gabriela Silva, Marc E. McDill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Many small businesses catering to ecotourists’ needs have emerged in response to an increasingly important ecotourism sector, but high turnover rates reduce benefits to owners, communities and visitors. The objective of this study was to compare agency and business perspectives on barriers affecting ecotourism suppliers. Understanding the similarities and differences between the views of agencies and businesses on ecotourism supplier success can help identify some fundamental steps needed to strengthen the ecotourism sector and to more effectively manage the natural resource base. Data were collected through key informant interviews of stakeholders associated with the ecotourism sector in Pennsylvania and Maryland in the United States. Key informants were business owners, tour operators and outfitters, state and local government personnel, natural resource managers working on public lands, and conservation leaders. Forty-five interviews were conducted. Data were qualitatively analyzed using content analysis. Qualitative Solutions and Research, Non-numerical Unstructured Data - Indexing, Searching and Theorising (QSR NUD*IST), a computer-based tool, was used to facilitate the content analysis. Results show that while agency and business interviewees agree on some barriers associated with the success of ecotourism suppliers, differences exist on their perspectives of providers’ needs and ecotourism’s role in the local economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-305
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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