The tourism industry is changing in response to globalisation and shifting power relations between governments, communities and the private sector. It is one of the largest sources of foreign exchange revenues and contributions to GDP for some of the world’s poorest countries. The emergence of discourses around sustainability, conservation and people-centred approaches are increasingly influencing the growing tourism industry. This paper examines community engagement with the private sector in the case of the Maasai in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Makuleke in South Africa’s Pafuri Triangle near Kruger National Park. The goal is to explore the changing role of the private sector in engaging with pro-poor ecotourism in the framework of changing relationships and how its involvement can lead to benefits for local communities around ecotourism destinations.
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