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Community-based tourism as a strategy for building climate resilience in Bhutan

  • Ngawang Dendup
  • Kuenzang Tshering
  • Jamyang Choda
  • Summary

Governments in developing countries are exploring numerous ways to respond to climate change and build resilient communities and in this chapter, we examine if community tourism can be one of the alternative livelihoods. We examine the benefit of community tourism on rural poor in Bhutan using household census data from 2017. We compare households from the sub-districts that received community tourism with the households from the sub-districts that did not. We use propensity score matching methods to make sure that other than the presence or absence of community tourism programs; these villages are similar in observed characteristics. The results show that households from the sub-districts that received the community tourism programmes are 10% more likely to have more than the average number of rooms in their homes (i.e. 4 rooms) and about 5% more likely to own a vehicle. Most of the tourism initiatives in Bhutan are promoted in protected areas, and thus, it is likely that households’ dependence on the natural environment (like forest and water bodies) may reduce. Further, based on this evidence, it is also likely that community tourism may not only help poor households in terms of enhancing household income, but it may also provide alternative livelihood options in the poor villages where opportunities are limited.

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