Publications: Protected areas, concessions, biodiversity conservation and tourism

Tools and resources for nature-based tourism (2020)
Anna Spenceley, for the World Bank

Screenshot coverNature-based tourism (NBT) plays an important role in sustainable development. It can support poverty alleviation, economic growth, and biodiversity conservation and contribute to key global agreements and frameworks, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. NBT’s singular potential to create jobs and growth, while protecting wildlife and ecosystems, makes it an enticing prospect for developing countries seeking to align those interests. The Nature-Based Tourism (NBT) Community of Practice (CoP) was launched in December 2017 as an internal World Bank Group (WBG) community, whose focus is to help develop the NBT agenda within the Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy (ENB) Global Practice. The NBT CoP has facilitated collaboration and learning through a mix of knowledge products and services. The NBT CoP commissioned a comprehensive review of the tools and knowledge resources that could be used by practitioners in the field of NBT, to prepare and implement projects that promote sustainable NBT practices and policies.

Download the report here

-World Bank feature “The journey back to recovery – Resources to develop tourism sustainably
– Related link: Launch event & e-book

A decision framework on the choice of management models for park and protected area services (2019)
Anna Spenceley, Sue Snyman and Paul Eagles


There are two categories of management approaches for the delivery of tourism services; insourcing or outsourcing. This paper presents a decision framework for the choice of a management model for the delivery of tourism-related services in protected areas. The research used the expert opinion of 28 PA senior tourism managers from the protected area and tourism authorities of 11 countries in the Southern Africa Development Community to identify the advantages and disadvantages of the use of 5 different management models for the delivery of tourism services: 1) outsourcing to private, profit-making companies; 2) outsourcing to a community; 3) outsourcing to a nongovernment organization; 4) outsourcing to a joint venture company; and, 5) insourcing to the PA authority. The comparisons utilized 7 themes: 1) finance; 2) tourism operations; 3) socioeconomic impact; 4) governance; 5) risk; 6) human resources; and, 7) environment and conservation. A total of 190 comparative findings were identified. The 28 senior tourism managers provided comments on the advantages and disadvantages of each management model according to all themes. These comments were summarized into a table of findings.

The research found that all five management models are useful, but the decisions to choose the management model are highly influenced by the current legal and policy structure of the PA authority. This research provides information that can assist PA managers in the decision structure for the choice of and implementation of the various management approaches for the provision of tourism services in protected areas.

This is the first paper of its kind to compare and analyse different management models using literature, research, as well as practitioners’ experience and technical knowledge. Further research on all the models and the different potential options would be useful in providing a greater understanding of all the options to finance protected areas through tourism.

Download here

Private sector tourism in conservation areas in Africa (2019)
Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley


Private Sector Tourism in Conservation Areas in Africa is the first book to provide a detailed analysis of private sector involvement and partnerships in tourism in Africa. It includes best practices and processes to develop tourism partnerships with the private sector, and highlights important tools to enhance sustainability of tourism in Africa, involving numerous stakeholders.

Key features include:

–  Detailed analysis of private sector involvement and partnerships in tourism in Africa.
–  Best practice examples to develop tourism partnerships with the private sector.
– Important tools to enhance the sustainability of tourism in Africa, involving numerous stakeholders.

This book is recommended for academics, students and practitioners working in sustainable tourism, including community, private sector and government stakeholders.

Click these links for either the e-book or hardback editions on Amazon or the hardback from the publisher CABI

A decision framework on the choice of management models for park and protected area services (2019)
Anna Spenceley, Sue Snyman and Paul Eagles

There are two categories of management approaches for the delivery of tourism services; insourcing or outsourcing. This paper presents a decision framework for the choice of a management model for the delivery of tourism-related services in protected areas. The research evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of the use of 5 different management models for the delivery of tourism services: 1) outsourcing to private, profit-making companies; 2) outsourcing to a community; 3) outsourcing to a nongovernment organization; 4) outsourcing to a joint venture company; and, 5) insourcing by the protected area authority.  The research found that all five management models are useful, but the decisions to choose the management model are highly influenced by the current legal and policy structure of the PA authority.

Download here

Tourism and visitor management in protected areas (2018)
Editors: Yu-Fai Leung, Anna Spenceley, Glen Hvengaard, and Ralf Buckley

Cover BPG2Protected areas are a key component of any global conservation strategy. Tourism provides a crucial and unique way of fostering visitors’ connection with protected area values, making it a potentially positive force for  conservation. Protected area tourism’s economic benefits—which depend on beautiful natural areas, healthy wildlife and nature, and authentic cultures—can also be a powerful argument for conservation. Tourism in protected areas  is a major part of the global tourism industry—an industry whose scale and impacts are enormous. Such a high volume of visitors implies certain needs for fundamental infrastructure and requirements for employment and human services, all of which have ramifications for the economy, society, culture and the environment. These Guidelines provide guidance on key issues to help managers achieve sustainable tourism in protected areas. The guidelines are available in English, Spanish, German, Portuguese and French.

Download here

Revenue sharing from tourism in terrestrial African protected areas (2017)
Anna Spenceley, Sue Snyman and Andrew Rylance

A prerequisite for the sustainability of protected areas in Africa is the meaningful inclusion of local populations in conservation and tourism. This has been demonstrated in numerous destinations where communities receive benefits from tourism in terrestrial protected areas, they are more inclined to view it positively and conserve natural resources. This paper presents a review of revenue-sharing literature, and also an analysis of the evidence of quantified benefits accrued by local communities in Africa through institutional arrangements to share revenue or finance development projects by (1) protected areas, and (2) tourism enterprises. The review highlights the challenges of revenue sharing as well as four key components of successful revenue-sharing systems: (1) economic benefits must be clearly identified and communicated, (2) benefits are appropriate to the scale of threats to biodiversity, (3) involvement of communities in decision-making on the structure and process of the distribution system, and also how the revenues are used and (4) sufficient regulatory and institutional support is necessary to develop clear objectives, aims, goals and responsibilities. This paper constitutes the first multi-country, multi-scheme analysis of revenue sharing in terrestrial African protected areas.

Download here

Guidelines for tourism partnerships and concession for protected areas (2017)
Anna Spenceley, Susan Snyman and Paul Eagles

Cover CBD 2 Sept 2017The tourism sector is recognized as the largest global market-based contributor to the financing of protected area systems in many countries. Protected areas are an essential tool for safeguarding the world’s biodiversity and preserving ecosystem services, currently at serious risk. In 2014, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) noted that, under appropriate safeguards, tourism can contribute to protected areas through partnerships and concessions. However, most countries currently underuse tourism as a means to contribute towards the financial sustainability of protected areas.

The aim of these guidelines is to provide information to support protected area authorities to achieve sustainable tourism operations in their protected areas; to bring benefits to conservation and other purposes for which the protected area has been declared; and to avoid or mitigate negative impacts. The publication includes information on the fundamentals of tourism, different tourism partnerships, financing concessions, a step-by-step guide to concession processes, integrating sustainability, contract management and concession capacity requirements.

The guidelines are available online in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Download here

An introduction to tourism concessioning: 14 Characteristics of successful programs (2016)
Anna Spenceley, Hermione Nevill, Carla Faustiano Coelho and Michelle Souto

Concessioning 14 tips

Governments and Protected Areas Authorities are under increasing pressure to preserve the beauty and biodiversity of their beaches, parks, and pristine natural sites, while also growing tourism activity. Tourism concessioning is one solution. Delivering successful tourism concessioning programs, however, is challenging and depends on the right mix of characteristics, technical expertise, and institutional experience.

This guideline sets the stage and core principles to be taken into consideration when designing successful tourism concessioning programs in protected areas.

Development of the guideline was led by the World Bank Group’s Tourism and Competitiveness Global Practice, and the International Finance Corporation’s Public-Private Partnership Transaction Advisory Department (C3P), drawing from experience in Mozambique, South Africa, and other parts of the world.

The document is currently available from several sites, using the links below:

Tourism and the IUCN World Parks Congress, 2014 (2015)
Anna Spenceley
JOST cover page

Every decade, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) convenes a World Parks Congress (WPC), in conjunction with the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). The sixth WPC was held in Sydney, Australia, from 12 to 19 November 2014. It was a major event, bringing together 6000 delegates from across the world to discuss opportunities and challenges for protected areas. This paper is a Conference Report published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, which summarises the tourism activities that took place during the WPC.

Access here

Visitor management (2015)
Anna Spenceley, Jon Kohl, Simon McArthur, Peter Myles, Marcello Notarianni, Dan Paleczny, Catherine Pickering,  and Graeme Worboys

Worboys cover

There are many different types of visitors to protected areas. They may be official guests to a national park; researchers working in a strict nature reserve; volunteers assisting with a national park work program; educational groups learning about special natural or cultural heritage; or people who conduct their business within a protected area including contractors and shop owners. Importantly, visitors also include tourists and recreationists. This book chapter  briefly examines the types of visitors protected area managers may need to deal with and management considerations associated with such visitor use. The paper provides a focus on tourism and its management in this chapter. Depending on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) protected area category, tourism and recreation are common visitor uses of most protected areas and important contributors to local and national economies. As part of managing protected areas for tourists, the chapter describes a management framework for providing a range of recreation opportunities within reserves, the provision of visitor services and facilities and management responses to visitor impacts.

This chapter is published in “Protected area governance and management” edited by Graeme Worboys,  Michael Lockwood, Ashish Kothari, Sue Feary and Ian Pulsford.

Download here

Tourism and protected areas: A growing nexus of challenge and opportunity (2014)
Steve McCool and Anna Spenceley

koedoeThree significant trends are converging with the result of increasing the importance of understanding and managing the nexus of tourism and protected areas. Firstly, international travel and tourism continues to grow significantly, resulting in more people wanting to visit, learn and appreciate their natural and cultural heritage. Secondly, international conservation efforts are increasingly dependent on protected areas serving as the cornerstone of slowing (ideally stopping) the loss of biological diversity. Thirdly, demands from society on protected areas are not only increasing, they are diversifying as well. Increased demand is, in part, the result of a growing human population that competes for space with natural areas and its wildlife through other land uses such as agriculture.  This editorial paper introduces a special edition of the journal Koedoe on “Tourism and Protected Areas” developed by the IUCN WCPA TAPAS Group.

Download here

Ecotourism: planning for rural development in developing nations (2013)
Anna Spenceley and Ted Manning

International handbook ecotourism coverThis book chapter established the characteristics of good planning processes in natural destinations and for ecotourism enterprises, while outlining some of the challenges that can arise. The discussion concentrates on implications for local economic development while sustaining the resources on which ecotourism is based. This chapter is published in “The International Handbook on Ecotourism” edited by Roy Ballantyne and Jan Packer.

Access here

Tourism Concessions in protected areas in Mozambique (2012): Analysis and Manual for Operators
Anna Spenceley and Rita Casimiro

Developing sustainable tourism concession models in and around Mozambique’s key protected areas, is one way for the Government of Mozambique (GoM) to get the private sector engaged, to enable communities to benefit from tourism development, job creation, and to help Mozambique’s tourism industry grow. When designed and implemented correctly, tourism concessions can greatly benefit a wide range of stakeholders, while ensuring the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity.

An analysis of concessions models in protected areas in Mozambique examined best practice models of tourism concessions in protected areas, looking at current practices implemented in Mozambique, in the southern Africa (e.g. South Africa, Namibia, Botswana), and other countries.  Following the analysis, a Manual was developed that was designed to provide the private sector and stakeholders in general with a step-by-step guide to help them understand the process for obtaining and operating a tourism concession in Mozambique National Parks and Reserves.

Download here:
Analysis of tourism concessions models in protected areas in Mozambique
Manual for operators and concessionaires
Presentations from the concessions workshop

Rwanda – The success of tourism in general and Gorilla tourism in particular (2010)
Hannah Nielsen and Anna Spenceley

Yes africaThis paper was prepared as a background paper for the World Bank’s Africa Success Stories Study. The paper reviews the growth of gorilla viewing tourism in Rwanda, and considers the overall strategy and vision, marketing, the business environment and also implications for communities and conservation. A version of this paper also appears in the World Bank’s “Yes Africa Can.”

Download here
Link to “Yes Africa Can

Seminar on Ecotourism and Protected Areas in Africa: Contributing to community development and conservation. Summary Report (2008)
Anna Spenceley 

seminar wtoThis seminar was held in Maputo, Mozambique, in November 2008. It focused on the contribution of ecotourism to community development, poverty reduction and financing of protected areas, as well as related social and environmental issues.  This event was intended to provide opportunities for countries in the region to present experiences and examples, as well as analyzing the case of Mozambique and the Great Limpopo National Park, in order to reflect and discuss on the opportunities and challenges of ecotourism, related policy issues and management techniques. The seminar aimed at providing a practical experience for policy makers, managers, operators and development organizations involved in ecotourism, through dynamic exchanges and concrete examples.

Download here 

Ecotourism: Benefits for conservation and local people? (2006)
Anna Spenceley

This article was written for the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, and reviews examples of ecotourism in Southern Africa, and demonstrates some of the positive examples emerging from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, community-based tourism enterprises and government.

Download here 

Nature based tourism and environmental sustainability in South Africa (2005)
Anna Spenceley

Environmental impacts of tourism from four photographic wildlife tourism enterprises in South Africa are described. This paper from the Journal of Sustainable Tourism presents qualitative and quantitative data that was collected from Ngala Private Game Reserve, Pretoriuskop camp in Kruger National Park, Jackalberry Lodge, and Sabi Sabi using the Sustainable Nature-Based Tourism Assessment Toolkit (SUNTAT). Issues of best practice, motivations for responsible tourism and local livelihood strategies are reviewed.

Download here 

Economic analysis of Rhino conservation in a land-use context within the Southern Africa Development Community [SADC] region (2005)
Anna Spenceley and Jon Barnes

Market analysis of the value of black and white rhino in relation to land use in southern Africa. Evaluations of the Save Valley conservancies in Zimbabwe, the Torra and Puros conservancies in Namibia, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi and Phinda in South Africa.

Download here

Tourism, Local Livelihoods and the Private Sector in South Africa: Case studies on the growing role of the private sector in natural resources management (2003)
Anna Spenceley

Changing institutional arrangements and policies in tourism and how they affect the poor and their access to natural resources are explored. Seventeen case studies from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are used to illustrate how different stakeholders have influenced rural livelihoods.

The studies include Phumlani Lodge, Amadiba Adventures, Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary, the Makuleke, South African National Parks, the Greater St. Lucia Wetland park and the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Driving forces behind the initiatives and the degree to which the poor have influenced them are explored.

Download here 

Integrating Biodiversity into the Tourism Sector: South Africa (2001)
Anna Spenceley

The UNDP/UNEP/GEF Biodiversity Planning Support Programme (BPSP) commissioned this paper as one of twelve national studies on the integration of biodiversity into the tourism sector. The studies were specifically focused on how to incorporate global best practice into national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

Download here