e-ISSN 2231-8534
ISSN 0128-7702

Home / Regular Issue / JSSH Vol. 29 (1) Mar. 2021 / JSSH-6154-2020


Understanding the Importance of Stakeholder Management in Achieving Sustainable Ecotourism

Ahmad Salman, Mastura Jaafar, and Diana Mohamad

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 29, Issue 1, March 2021


Keywords: Ecotourism framework, stakeholder influence, stakeholder interest, stakeholder management, sustainable ecotourism

Published on: 26 March 2021

Ecotourism brings many economic, environmental, and socio-cultural benefits to the tourism destination, but its implementation is not simple. Several studies in the past have shown the importance of including stakeholders for the development of ecotourism in the area. Understanding stakeholders varied interests and their power of influence is vital to achieve sustainability in a tourism destination. The study aimed to develop a multi-stakeholder management model that could unite stakeholders towards achieving sustainable ecotourism in the area. A critical synthesis of the literature was conducted by classifying and then critically reviewing the literature to construct and integrate the variables that could help in the better management of stakeholders, which would lead towards the development of a framework that can guide in achieving sustainability in ecotourism. This study validates previous findings and also directs to develop a sustainable ecotourism framework through which the environmental, social, and economic benefits can be achieved in the destination. Understanding multiple stakeholders helps to achieve sustainability and, as a result, makes the tourist destination experience better for both the visitor and host. The developed model would add value to the literature by enriching tourism destination stakeholders understanding, precisely related to the multiple stakeholder management, and leads to achieving ecotourism sustainability.

  • Abdullah, A. R., Weng, C. N., Afif, I., & Fatah, A. (2018). Ecotourism in Penang National Park: A multi-stakeholder perspective on environmental issues. Journal of Business and Social Development, 6(1), 70-83.

  • Ayachi, H., & Jaouadi, S. (2017). Problems and perspective of ecotourism in the Island of Farasan. Society and Business Review, 12(2), 235-251.

  • Ayala-orozco, B., Rosell, J. A., Merçon, J., Bueno, I., Alatorre-frenk, G., Langle-flores, A., & Lobato, A. (2018). Challenges and strategies in place-based multi-stakeholder collaboration for sustainability: Learning from experiences in the global South. Sustainability, 10.

  • Backman, K. F., & Munanura, I. (2015). Introduction to the special issues on ecotourism in Africa over the past 30 years. Journal of Ecotourism, 14(2-3), 95-98.

  • Berardi, U. (2013). Stakeholders’ influence on the adoption of energy-saving technologies in Italian homes. Energy Policy, 60, 520-530.

  • Butler, R. (2018). Sustainable tourism in sensitive environments: A wolf in sheep’s clothing? Sustainability (Switzerland), 10(6), 1789.

  • Byrd, E. T. (2007). Stakeholders in sustainable tourism development and their roles: Applying stakeholder theory to sustainable tourism development. Tourism Review 62(2), 6-13.

  • Candrea, A. N., & Herţanu, A. (2015). Developing ecotourism destinations in Romania. A case study approach. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov, 8(2), 293-294.

  • Chan, R., & Bhatta, K. D. (2013). Ecotourism planning and sustainable community development: Theoretical perspectives for Nepal Ecotourism Planning and Sustainable Community. South Asian Journal of Tourism and Heritage, 6(1), 69-96.

  • Cobbinah, P. B., Black, R., & Thwaites, R. (2015). Ecotourism implementation in the Kakum Conservation Area, Ghana: Administrative framework and local community experiences. Journal of Ecotourism, 14(2-3), 223-242.

  • Cohen, E., & Cohen, S. A. (2012). Current sociological theories and issues in tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(4), 2177-2202.

  • Coria, J., & Calfucura, E. (2012). Ecotourism and the development of indigenous communities : The good, the bad, and the ugly. Ecological Economics, 73, 47-55.

  • Courvisanos, J., & Jain, A. (2006). A framework for sustainable ecotourism: Application to Costa Rica. Tourism and Hospitality, Planning and Development, 3(2), 131-142.

  • Creswell, J., & Clark, V. P. (2007). Ch. 3. Choosing a mixed methods design. In Designing and conducting mixed methods research (pp. 53-106). Sage Publications

  • Dam, S. (2013). Issues of sustainable ecotourism development in Sikkim: An analysis. South Asian Journal of Tourism and Heritage, 6(2), 32-47.

  • Das, M., & Chatterjee, B. (2015). Ecotourism: A panacea or a predicament? Tourism Management Perspectives, 14, 3-16.

  • Ecological Tourism in Europe. (2005). Sustainable tourism development in UNESCO designated sites in South-Eastern Europe.

  • Eskerod, P., & Huemann, M. (2013). Sustainable development and project stakeholder management: what standards say. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 6(1), 36-50.

  • Fennell, D. A. (2003). Ecotourism: An introduction. Routledge.

  • Fennell, D. A., & Dowling, R. K. (2003). Ecotourism policy and planning: Stakeholders, management and governance. In Ecotourism policy and planning (pp. 331-344). CABI.

  • Freeman, R. (2010). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Cambridge University Press.

  • Freeman, R. E. (1999). Divergent stakeholder theory. Academy of Management Review, 24(2), 233-236.

  • Getz, D., & Timur, S. (2005). Stakeholder involvement in sustainable tourism: Balancing the voices. In Global Tourism (pp. 230-247). Elsevier Inc.

  • Gilson, L. L., & Goldberg, C. B. (2015). Editors’ comment: So, What is a conceptual paper? In Group and Organization Management (Vol. 40, Issue 2; pp. 127-130). SAGE Publications Inc.

  • Grieves, M., Adler, M., & King, R. (2014). To preserve the mountains and the community: indigenous ecotourism as a sustainable development strategy. Social Thought and Research, 33.

  • Hardy, A. L., & Beeton, R. J. S. (2001). Sustainable tourism or maintainable tourism: Managing resources for more than average outcomes? Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 9(3), 168-192.

  • Hardy, A., & Pearson, L. J. (2016). Determining sustainable tourism in regions. Sustainability (Switzerland), 8(7), 1-18.

  • Harrison, J. S., & Freeman, R. E. (2015). Stakeholder theory as an ethical approach to effective management: Applying the theory to multiple contexts. Review of Business Management, 17(55), 858-869.

  • Herlangga, R. E., & Basuni, S. (2019). Stakeholder management of Kawasan Konservasi Mangrove dan Bekantan in Tarakan City. Jurnal Manajemen Hutan Tropika, 25(3), 146-153.

  • Kenawy, E. H., & Shaw, D. (2014). Developing a more effective regional planning framework in Egypt: The case of ecotourism. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 187, 77-91.

  • Kenawy, E., Osman, T., & Alshamndy, A. (2017). What are the main challenges impeding implementation of the spatial plans in Egypt using ecotourism development as an example? Social Sciences, 6(3), 75.

  • Kent, K., Sinclair, A. J., & Diduck, A. (2012). Stakeholder engagement in sustainable adventure tourism development in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, India. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 19(1), 89-100.

  • Kiper, T. (2013). Role of ecotourism in sustainable development. In Advances in Landscape Architecture.

  • Ko, T. G. (2005). Development of a tourism sustainability assessment procedure: A conceptual approach. Tourism Management, 26(3), 431-445.

  • Komppula, R. (2016). The role of different stakeholders in destination development. Tourism Review, 7(1), 67-76.

  • Lalicic, L. (2018). Open innovation platforms in tourism: How do stakeholders engage and reach consensus ? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30(6), 2517-2536.

  • Lee, J. H., Kim, S. H., & Kwon, H. S. (2017). Mapping interests by stakeholders’ subjectivities toward ecotourism resources: The case of Seocheon-Gun, Korea. Sustainability (Switzerland), 9(1).

  • Litheko, A., & Potgieter, M. (2019). Strategic management of tourism stakeholders: Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela, South Africa. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, 8(2), 1-23.

  • Lyon, A., Hunter-jones, P., & Warnaby, G. (2017). Are we any closer to sustainable development? Listening to active stakeholder discourses of tourism development in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa. Tourism Management, 61, 234-247.

  • Maguire, B., Potts, J., & Fletcher, S. (2012). The role of stakeholders in the marine planning process—Stakeholder analysis within the Solent, United Kingdom. Marine Policy, 36(1), 246-257.

  • McComb, E. J., Boyd, S., & Boluk, K. (2017). Stakeholder collaboration: A means to the success of rural tourism destinations? A critical evaluation of the existence of stakeholder collaboration within the Mournes, Northern Ireland. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 17(3), 286-297.

  • Mendoza-Ramos, A., & Prideaux, B. (2018). Assessing ecotourism in an Indigenous community: using, testing and proving the wheel of empowerment framework as a measurement tool. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 26(2), 277-291.

  • Mihalic, T. (2016). Sustainable-responsible tourism discourse - Towards “responsustable” tourism. Journal of Cleaner Production, 111, Part B(January), 461-470.

  • Miočić, B. K., Razović, M., & Klarin, T. (2016). Management of sustainable tourism destination through stakeholder cooperation*. Journal of Contemporary Management Issues, 21(2), 99-120.

  • Moswete, N. N., Thapa, B., & Child, B. (2012). Attitudes and opinions of local and national public sector stakeholders towards Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Botswana. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 19(1), 67-80.

  • Newcombe, R. (2003). From client to project stakeholders: A stakeholder mapping approach. Construction Management and Economics, 21(8), 841-848.

  • Nicolaides, P. A. (2015). Tourism stakeholder theory in practice: Instrumental business grounds, fundamental normative demands or a descriptive application? African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, 4(2), 1-27.

  • Nigar, N. (2018). Ecotourism for sustainable development in Gilgit-Baltistan. Strategic Studies, 38 (3), 72-85.

  • Noto, G., & Noto, L. (2019). Local strategic planning and stakeholder analysis: Suggesting a dynamic performance management approach. Public Organization Review, 19(3), 293-310.

  • Osman, T., Shaw, D., & Kenawy, E. (2018). Examining the extent to which stakeholder collaboration during ecotourism planning processes could be applied within an Egyptian context. Land Use Policy, 78(March), 126-137.

  • Perez-Batres, L. A., Doh, J. P., Miller, V. V., & Pisani, M. J. (2012). Stakeholder pressures as determinants of CSR strategic choice: Why do firms choose symbolic versus substantive self-regulatory codes of conduct? Journal of Business Ethics, 110(2), 157-172.

  • Phillips, R. (1997). Stakeholder theory and a principle of fairness. Business Ethics Quarterly, 7(1), 51-66.

  • Phillips, R. (2003). Stakeholder theory and organizational ethics. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

  • Picard, D. (2015). Making ecotourism sustainable: Refocusing on economic viability. Lessons learnt from the “Regional strategic action plan for coastal ecotourism development in the South Western Indian Ocean”. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23(6), 819-837.

  • Pipinos, G., & Fokiali, P. (2009). An assessment of the attitudes of the inhabitants of Northern Karpathos, Greece: Towards a framework for ecotourism development in environmentally sensitive areas: Aramework in environmentally sensitive areas. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 11(3), 655-675.

  • Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge. In Choice Reviews Online (5th ed.).

  • Pongponrat, K., & Chantradoan, N. J. (2012). Mechanism of social capital in community tourism participatory planning in Samui Island, Thailand. Tourismos, 7(1), 339-349.

  • Rajablu, M., Marthandan, G., Fadzilah, W., & Yusoff, W. (2015). Managing for stakeholders: The role of stakeholder-based management in project success. Asian Social Science, 11(3), 111-125.

  • Ramos, A. M., & Prideaux, B. (2014). Indigenous ecotourism in the Mayan rainforest of Palenque: empowerment issues in sustainable development. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 22(3), 461-479.

  • Rhodes, J., Bergstrom, B., Lok, P., & Cheng, V. (2014). A framework for stakeholder engagement and sustainable development in MNCs. Journal of Global Responsibility, 5(1), 82-103.

  • Riahi, Y. (2017). Project stakeholders: Analysis and management processes. SSRG International Journal of Economics and Management Studies, 4(3), 37-42.

  • Rivera, J. P. R., Gutierrez, E. L. M., & Rivera, J. P. R. (2018). A framework toward sustainable ecotourism value chain in the Philippines. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 20(2), 123-142.

  • Salman, A., Mastura, J., & Mohamad, D. (2020). Strengthening sustainability: A thematic synthesis of globally published ecotourism frameworks. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, 9(3), 246-258.

  • Sheehan, L. R., & Ritchie, J. R. B. (2005). Destination stakeholders: Exploring identity and salience. Annals of Tourism Research, 32(3), 711-734.

  • Stoll-Kleemann, S., De La Vega-Leinert, A. C., & Schultz, L. (2010). The role of community participation in the effectiveness of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve management: Evidence and reflections from two parallel global surveys. Environmental Conservation, 37(3), 227-238.

  • Su, M. M., Wall, G., & Ma, Z. (2014). Assessing ecotourism from a multi-stakeholder perspective: Xingkai Lake National Nature Reserve, China. Environmental Management, 54(5), 1190-1207.

  • The International Ecotourism Society. (2018). What is Ecotourism? | The International Ecotourism Society.

  • Timur, S., & Getz, D. (2008). A network perspective on managing stakeholders for sustainable urban tourism. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 20(4), 445-461.

  • Üllenberg, A., Buchberger, C., Meindl, K., Rupp, L., Springsguth, M., & Straube, B. (2015). Evaluating cross-border natural resource management projects: Community-based tourism development and fire management in conservation areas of the SADC region (Publication Series S259). Seminar für Ländliche Entwicklung.

  • Van Cuong, C., Dart, P., Dudley, N., & Hockings, M. (2018). Building stakeholder awareness and engagement strategy to enhance biosphere reserve performance and sustainability: The case of Kien Giang, Vietnam. Environmental Management, 62(5), 877-891.

  • Van Cuong, C., Dart, P., & Hockings, M. (2017). Biosphere reserves: Attributes for success. Journal of Environmental Management, 188, 9-17.

  • Voss, H. (2014). Environmental public participation in the UK. The International Journal of Social Quality, 4(1), 26-40.

  • Waligo, V. M., Clarke, J., & Hawkins, R. (2013). Implementing sustainable tourism: A multi-stakeholder involvement management framework. Tourism Management, 36, 342-353.

  • Walker, D. H. T., Bourne, L. M., & Shelley, A. (2008). Influence, stakeholder mapping and visualization. Construction Management and Economics, 26(6), 645-658.

  • Walker, K., & Moscardo, G. (2014). Encouraging sustainability beyond the tourist experience: Ecotourism, interpretation and values. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 22(8), 1175-1196.

  • Wang, C. C., Cater, C., & Low, T. (2016). Political challenges in community-based ecotourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 24(11), 1555-1568.

  • Wei, M., & Yang, R. R. (2013). A research on eco-tourism development models based on the stakeholder theory. Applied Mechanics and Materials, 291-294, 1447-1450.

  • Wondriad, A., Tolkach, D., & King, B. (2020). Stakeholder collaboration as a major factor for sustainable ecotourism development in developing countries. Tourism Management, 78(October 2019), Article 104024.

  • Yang, R. J. (2014). An investigation of stakeholder analysis in urban development projects: Empirical or rationalistic perspectives. International Journal of Project Management, 32(5), 838-849.

  • Zehrer, A., & Hallmann, K. (2015). A stakeholder perspective on policy indicators of destination competitiveness. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 4(2), 120-126.

ISSN 0128-7702

e-ISSN 2231-8534

Article ID


Download Full Article PDF

Share this article

Recent Articles