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Managing concessions in protected areas, Paul F J Eagles


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Presentation made at the CBD/IUCN TAPAS Group meeting on "Tourism partnerships and concessions in protected areas: Cooperating for success" meeting in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park

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Managing concessions in protected areas, Paul F J Eagles

  1. 1. 
 Managing Concessions in Protected Areas
 Workshop on Tourism Partnerships Time Block 13 Paul F. J. Eagles June 2, 2017
  2. 2. Potential Challenges – Capital Investment •  Most protected area managers want short-term contracts to maximize the protected area flexibility. •  However, most concessionaires want long-term contracts in order to maximize business development and return on investment. •  Concessionaires are loath to put money into protected area-owned facilities in the last years of a contract. They prefer to transfer this maintenance liability to the protected area, in the expectation that the protected area must repair the facilities after the contract is over.
  3. 3. Potential Challenges – Capital Investment
  4. 4. Potential Challenges – Capital Investment
  5. 5. Potential Challenges – Contract Responsibilities •  Concessionaires argue for a narrow interpretation of their responsibilities within the contract. •  They wish to avoid involvement in activities that are beyond their specific focus. •  Not available for search and rescue, fire fighting, site management, enforcement, etc.
  6. 6. Black bear kills woman camper in Provincial Park north of Chapleau, Ont. CBC News Posted: Sep 07, 2005 Dr. Jaqueline Perry, MD Physician at Grandview Medical Centre, Cambridge, Ontario.
  7. 7. Potential Challenges – Concessionaire Staff Members •  Concessionaire staff members are hired to provide a specific service, such as selling products in a store or renting equipment. They may have weak understanding of protected area policy. •  Inappropriate activities by staff include illegal harvesting, or provision of incorrect information. •  Housing for staff. •  Low wages, encouraging illegal activities (e.g. theft).
  8. 8. Potential Challenges – Poor Service Delivery •  Poor service delivery can be identified when visitors report that services are below acceptable standards (e.g. incorrect information, unacceptable or dangerous situations, rude staff).
  9. 9. Potential Challenges – Legal Liability •  All users of a service, facility, or product have an expectation that they will not be harmed or injured. •  The direct service provider has legal liability and can be held accountable by the courts. •  However, those who provide the contract or the license also have some legal liability, and also may be held responsible.
  10. 10. Potential Challenges – Pricing Policy •  Contractors may provide services that vary from consumer products to personal guiding. •  Charge rates as much as the market will bear? •  Charge rates determined by park mangers?
  11. 11. Potential Challenges – Transfer of contracts to third parties •  Contracts must stipulate whether the contractor can transfer the responsibilities to another contractor. •  It is best if the protected area management has the ability to monitor and control all such transfers. •  The new contractor must have the ability to fulfill all the contract stipulations that were used to choose the successful bidder.
  12. 12. Potential Challenges – Political interference •  Challenges include bottlenecks in decisions/approving development plans, political interference in the process (i.e. pressure to accept one bid over another), concession fees going to central government coffers rather to conservation and visitor mitigation, and interference in tourism operations by communities.
  13. 13. Potential Challenges – Potential Problems 1)  Financial stress due to lower-than expected tourism revenues; 2)  Contractor losing key staff members; 3)  Financial problems within contractor administration; 4)  Underreporting of tourism volumes or revenues; and, 5)  Unsustainable tourism practices.
  14. 14. Potential Challenges – Monitoring •  All contracts must be monitored by the protected area for compliance. •  Three aspects of contact monitoring: 1.  reports and complaints by concessionaires; 2.  reports submitted by the concessionaire to the protected area, usually annually; and, 3.  direct monitoring by protected area staff.
  15. 15. Potential Challenges – Contract Terminations 1.  Clean-up of facilities and grounds used by contractor; 2.  Operations up to the exact date of termination; 3.  Issues concerning the termination of contract staff; 4.  Final payments under the contract; and, 5.  Operating environment remaining for a new contractor.
  16. 16. Glacier National Park, Canada •  Glacier Park Lodge operated a hotel, two restaurants, and auto service station near the TransCanada Highway in Glacier National Park in Canada. •  In 2008 the facility contractor sold the business to another contractor. •  In 2012 Parks Canada declined to renew the lease on the land and buildings, causing the new owners to shut down the business. •  Multiple law suits resulted involving the initial owners, the new owners, and Parks Canada. •  The major facility is now empty, derelict, and declining rapidly. •  This case study outlines the high risk for all parties involved in contracting out and leasing public property to private contractors. •  With failure of the business, the protected area authorities ultimately must assume capital costs, including those of reclamation.
  17. 17. Park Managers
  18. 18. Park Managers
  19. 19. Discussion