Community Empowerment Through Community-Based Tourism: The Case of Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust in Botswana


  • Moren T. Stone


Given the increased awareness of the importance of host communities and environmental responsibility in tourism, community-based tourism (CBT) has gained popularity in the tourism literature as a strategy for environmental conservation and community development. Particularly, CBT is promoted for community empowerment by tourism planners, researchers and practitioners alike. Drawing on a case study of the Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust (CECT) in Botswana, this chapter demonstrates that the adoption of CBT under the rubric of community- based natural resource management (CBNRM) may not always bring the desired outcomes. More specifically, the study demonstrates that operational, structural and cultural limits impede community participation in CBT development projects. These fi ndings suggest that limited performance of CBT and conservation endeavors may be explained by the lack of consideration and incorporation of such limits in CBRNM initiatives. Nevertheless, while CECT may be perceived as having attained limited community empowerment success, the case study offers a positive example of how the government’s approach to natural resource management is evolving. The chapter is organized into three parts. First, an overview of the discourse around CBT is presented, highlighting the importance of community empowerment in CBT. Second, drawing on the case of Botswana, CBT’s organizational structure is discussed in terms of actors, roles and interests. Finally, the outcomes and effects of CBT are highlighted.