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Public–private partnerships in the ecotourism sector: a Portuguese case study

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This study aims to analyse the impact of public–private partnerships (PPPs) in the ecotourism sector. The main research objectives are to identify motives, critical success factors and obstacles for partnerships between the public and private sectors in ecotourism and to assess the benefits of such arrangements. Thus, a case study approach, with an ecotourism partnership in Portugal as its subject, has been used for evaluation of tourism partnerships. As data–collecting instruments, interviews and documentary analysis were used, and the data–treatment technique was content analysis. Based on this approach to analysis, four main dimensions emerged (motivations, success factors, obstacles and benefits) which defined the nature and effectiveness of relationships between public and private institutions in the field of ecotourism. Based on the principal results, this investigation also suggests some guidelines to bear in mind when creating and maintaining a public–private partnership in the ecotourism sector and some implications for protected–area managers and other stakeholders are presented.

Keywords: environmental tourism, stakeholders, public sector, private sector, protected areas, ecotourism, public–private partnerships, PPPs, Portugal, barriers, critical success factors, CSFs, motivation, benefits

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