The implications of the values and behaviours of actors for ecotourism policy: A case study of Sebangau National Park, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Rhama, Bhayu (2017) The implications of the values and behaviours of actors for ecotourism policy: A case study of Sebangau National Park, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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A number of studies have suggested that the management of national parks might be best served if undertaken according to the principles of ecotourism, a concept that potentially provides a ‘win-win’ solution to the conflicting aspects of conservation and recreation in protected areas. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to critically appraise the potential of ecotourism as a framework for implementing tourism in a national park. More specifically, it seeks to explore the implications of actors’ values for the effective implementation of ecotourism policy. Many studies overlook the importance of the understanding and response of different values as fundamental aspects in the process of policy-making.

Based on a case study of Sebangau National Park, Kalimantan, Indonesia, and using Schwartz’s theory as the fundamental conceptual framework, this research progresses the argument that the development of ecotourism policy should be seen in terms of the values espoused by relevant actors by seeking to identify the values and behaviours of the actors involved in ecotourism development in the park and the subsequent management implications. This study adopts the philosophy of pragmatism and mixed methods as its methodological approach, and is carried out in three phases: interviews (qualitative), focus group discussions (qualitative) and a survey (quantitative), followed by appropriate methods of analysis, such as performing ANCOVA and performing grounded theory to analyse qualitative data, supported by NVivo software.

The results show that the Indonesian people, from the tourists’ perspective, embrace the culture of embeddedness with a tendency towards the value of Conformity that implies they are willing to follow regulations because they are aware of the importance of the local community and of the natural resources in the park. Meanwhile, the value of Benevolence should be the value espoused by policy makers because it is exerts a more significant influence on the concept of ecotourism in comparison with the other nine Schwartz’s values. In addition, even though several studies show that the value of Power tends not to be pro-environment, the involvement of actors who embrace it cannot be ignored in the policy-making process because it is required to demonstrate leadership, participation, self-determination, competence and self-efficacy behaviour. Moreover, the importance of the Hedonism value based on tourists’ perspective implies that tourists have the potential to behave in an anti-conservation manner for the sake of personal satisfaction; thus, it will lead to consumptive behaviour at tourist locations, even for ecotourism destinations.

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