Developing effective partnerships for facilitating sustainable tourism associated with protected areas

This paper provides highlights of the progress to date of a two-year Australia-wide study that seeks to identify the attributes, both process and outcome-related, characterizing successful tourism-protected area partnerships. A wide range of literature is used to develop a list of partner-, process- and context-related factors that contribute to successful partnerships. Utilizing this theory-driven approach to analyse the Australian Alps National Parks trans-border partnership, the paper provides preliminary explanations of how and why this particular partnership, in spite of very limited funding, has been successful in achieving desired outcomes. Notably, the partnership has strengthened agency efficiency, helped build organizational, community and tourism industry capacity, enhanced social capital and goodwill, and stimulated innovation. Economic, social, cultural, and ecological sustainability outcomes have been achieved, overcoming legislative and administrative impediments, insufficient resources, and lack of legal authority to implement the activities of the partnership.