Success factors and constraints among nature-based tourism entrepreneurs

The nature-based tourism sector is characterised by small-scale businesses often located in rural regions. As a consequence, business success is dependent not just upon the sustainable use of natural resources, but also on several external (e.g. infrastructure and destination images) and internal (e.g. management and human resources) factors.

Many nature-based tourism entrepreneurs are also driven by non-monetary objectives, which imply different management priorities compared with many other businesses. This study provides an exploratory analysis of business success factors and constraints among nature-based tourism entrepreneurs in Sweden. Data collected in 2009 include ‘life-history’ interviews, a telephone survey of 176 entrepreneurs, and follow-up critical incident interviews.

The results show that internal factors are more common for business success, while external factors dominate among the constraints. Among the 26 success items studied, management (commitment and competence), access to natural resources, and lifestyle are considered the most important. Low profitability, lack of capital, regulations, infrastructure, and taxes are given the highest weights among the constraints. The classification system of Ishikawa [(1990). Introduction to quality control (J.H. Loftus, Trans.). Tokyo: 3A Corporation] is used to analyse how business success and constraints are structured over time. This study also elaborates how success factors and constraints are associated with different types of businesses, including perceived monetary and non-monetary achievements.