Why Ecotourism Failed as an Alternative Livelihood in Marine Park: The importance of community’s involvement in park management


  • Geoffrey Wall Department of Geography and Environmental, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, N2L 3G1, Waterloo, ON, Canada




Ecotourism, Sustainable Livelihoods, Institutional Arrangement, Marine Park


This study investigates the impacts of park establishment on communities and how institutional structures, such as customary laws, can influence communities’ involvement in ecotourism. A sustainable livelihoods (SL) approach was adopted as a framework to analyze the relationships among institutional processes and organizational structures (i.e. NCR, institutional arrangement), livelihood strategies and livelihood outcomes. In-depth household surveys and stakeholder interviews were undertaken during three months of fieldwork conducted in Tun Sakaran Marine Park (TSMP), Sabah, Malaysia. Although TSMP contains beautiful islands, and has many attributes and potential to be suitable for ecotourism development, surprisingly, this study found out that the local communities are not involved in tourism. At the same time, dive operators are bringing divers and snorkelers to the park on a daily basis. In conclusion, ecotourism as an alternative livelihood in TSMP can be achieved through efficient institutions i.e. the implementation of policies that are informed by the local situation. Therefore, institutional support should be strengthened if ecotourism is to become a livelihood strategy for communities in TSMP.

Keywords: Ecotourism; Sustainable Livelihoods; Institutional Arrangement; Marine Park

eISSN: 2398-4287 © 2018. The Authors. Published for AMER ABRA cE-Bs by e-International Publishing House, Ltd., UK. This is an open access article under the CC BYNC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Peer–review under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers), ABRA (Association of Behavioural Researchers on Asians) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.


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How to Cite

Abu Bakar, N. A., & Wall, G. (2018). Why Ecotourism Failed as an Alternative Livelihood in Marine Park: The importance of community’s involvement in park management. Environment-Behaviour Proceedings Journal, 3(9), 77–86. https://doi.org/10.21834/e-bpj.v3i9.1540