Homestays’ contribution to community-based ecotourism in the Himalayan region of India
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This article investigates how villagers’ participation in the homestay programme can influence attitudes and behaviours related to ecotourism objectives within a wildlife sanctuary. Initially, it provides a historical context of the development of the homestay programme within the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in Kumaon Hills of the Indian Himalayan region using a case-study approach. Based on interviews with each household head conducted within the Sanctuary, the paper explores the links between villagers’ homestay involvement and, attitudes and behaviours related to the Sanctuary’s ecotourism objectives. The findings suggest that contextual variable such as occupation significantly influences villagers’ attitudes towards the homestay programme while human–wildlife interactions additionally influence the villagers’ attitudes towards ecotourism development. Furthermore, positive attitudes towards homestays have been manifested as positive ecotourism-directed behaviours resulting in villagers’ engagement in public–private partnerships, their involvement in tourism-related cultural programmes and willingness to contribute towards nature interpretation activities to support ecotourism objectives in the Sanctuary. While the homestay programme has encouraged local guardianship behaviour, opportunities to improve and expand conservation efforts with the help of communities in the region could be further developed, and require greater cooperation from concerned stakeholders in both public and private sectors.
Tourism Recreation Research
Tourism not elsewhere classified