Santarém F, Campos JC, Pereira P, Hamidou D, Saarinen J, Brito JC



Evaluating the ecotourism potential of sites is a key issue in tourism management. Multiple methodologies have been developed to assess the ecotourism potential of sites. However, there are many constraints affecting their quality. Methodologies independent of subjective criteria and weights are lacking, compromising following interpretations on where to allocate efforts for ecotourism development. We propose a new approach to circumvent these issues that combines independent statistical procedures to assess ecotourism potential. By combining multi-criteria with ordination and clustering algorithms, this two-stage statistical approach allowed identifying suitable water-bodies for ecotourism development in Mauritania and independently assessed which features are related with ecotourism potential. The method was able to group sites for different ecotourist demands, which has implications for policy makers and tourism planners trying to optimize investments while protecting biodiversity and supporting communities.  We provide a framework that is scalable and applicable by stakeholders operating in ecotourism planning and management worldwide.



Journal: Tourism Management

DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2018.01.001