Tropical Geography ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (3): 645-655.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003352

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Proposing a Conceptual Framework for Ecotourism Based on Pro-Poor Tourism Strategy in Lechang City, Guangdong Province

Jihong He1,2(), Bing Sun1, Zhaowan Shi1, Shuixing Luo1, Xu Wang1, Lei Chen3, Ying Xiong4, Jun Lin5, Nancai Pei1()   

  1. 1.Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Guangzhou 510520, China
    2.College of Landscape Architecture, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
    3.International Center for Bamboo and Rattan, Beijing 100102, China
    4.Research Center of Resource Environment and Urban Planning, Changsha University of Science and Technology, Changsha 410076, China
    5.Lechang Longshan Forest Farm, Lechang 512221, China
  • Received:2020-11-15 Revised:2021-01-05 Online:2021-06-30 Published:2021-06-24
  • Contact: Nancai Pei E-mail:jihong.he61@;


Eliminating poverty and exploiting natural resources are sustainable development goals for modern society, especially for developing countries or regions. To achieve these targets, development-oriented eco-tourism planning and design can empower rural areas with rich available natural resources to eventually achieve the aforementioned goals. Pro-Poor Tourism (PPT), an initiative proposed by the UK's Department for International Development in 1999, is regarded as an effective pathway that benefits, through tourism, the underprivileged population living in poor areas. For the purpose of attracting the participation and increasing the income of the poor population, we conducted research, in the present study, on possible models of development-oriented poverty reduction via ecotourism in forest zones. We then proposed several development paths for PPT industries in Lechang city, Guangdong province, southern China, by utilizing the literature review method and conceptual analyses and comprehensively adopting the PPT strategy. The results indicated that: 1) four stakeholders [(i.e., government departments, tourism enterprises, rural communities, and non-profit social organizations (NGOs)] are responsible for engaging the poor population, alleviating poverty, and protecting the environment in different ways. Specifically, government departments are expected to play a leading role in setting up platforms and supervising the situation, tourism can maximize its usage of various ecological resources rationally and sustainably, and the rural communities and NGOs are recommended to serve as an organic unit, working together to push forward certain PPT tasks and form practical development models. 2) In consideration of the availability of three featured types of ecological resources (i.e., natural forests, high mountain tea, and characteristic vegetables and fruits) in Lechang city, the present study put forward a compound development model of ecological tourism consisting of the above three featured agro-forestry resources.Furthermore, we proposed three possible pathways suitable for the industrial development of Lechang city; that is, (i) "leisure agriculture + characteristic forest fruit industry + e-commercial tourism industry," (ii) "understory leisure industry + understory economic industry + initial processing of forest products," and (iii) "forest eco-tourism + characteristic forest planting + natural ecological education." In conclusion, our study suggests that the rational utilization of the PPT strategy and the effective integration of government departments, tourism enterprises, rural communities, and NGOs could facilitate subsequent tasks. The study also emphasized that achieving the anticipated three goals (i.e., comprehensive development of economy, comprehensive development of poor communities, as well as poor population and ecological sustainability) might largely rely on the full consideration of benefits for the economy, society, and the environment during the process of development-oriented poverty reduction via eco-tourism by the four stakeholders.

Key words: tourism poverty alleviation, targeted poverty alleviation, Pro-Poor Tourism, eco-tourism, rural revitalization strategy, forest zones in southern China

CLC Number: 

  • S718.5