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Local governance of national parks: The perception of tourism operators in Dovre-Sunndalsfjella National Park, Norway

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Protected area management in Norway is undergoing institutional changes with the implementation of management models aimed at increased public participation. At the same time tourism enterprises are increasing in number within the protected areas. Greater levels of interaction with stakeholders place new demands on lead institutions in terms of communication, transparency, involvement, and power sharing. A governance perspective was used to examine some facets of the interaction between a local council managing a national park in Norway and tourism companies using the park for their operations. The main objective was to assess how the tourism sector perceives the cooperation and interface with the management institution. Semi-structured interviews were used, together with a framework of United Nations Development Programme principles of good governance: legitimacy and voice, direction, performance, accountability, and fairness. The results showed rather negative evaluations by the tourism sector, and operators expressed views, implying that the current management model fails to achieve most of the principles of good governance. Although based on a one-sided view by one group of stakeholders, the study suggests that lack of access to important processes and decisions, perceived bias towards traditional conservation, neglect of cultural heritage, and undue restrictions on access could have serious implications for developing an effective management model.

Keywords: good governance principles; local management; participation; protected areas; tourism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2011

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