In general, this study was to encourage students to pursue, environmental science, biology and tourism programmes at tertiary level by embarking on educational tour with tertiary students to the study area, while at the same time, the paper performs its functions such as finding out how residents were empowered in funding, capacity building and conflict resolution skills in tourism development. Specifically, the study was to analyse areas in which residents were empowered to involve in ecotourism development. The sample of the study was 281 respondents including 14 key informants. Data were collected using household surveys, made up of questionnaires and interviews. The findings show that the residents were empowered through funding, capacity building and conflict resolution skills. In general, there was no significant difference in methods of empowerment among the socio-demographic characteristics of residents in the projects. Resident’s commitment to ecotourism development in their communities is commendable. It was recommended that the government and the NGO’s committed to the development of the projects in the local communities should integrate the local people fully and empower them as partners in the management of the projects by not only asking for their views when making decisions, but also, putting their ideas into action for the benefit of the projects. Again, since effective management of the projects is essential, residents should be empowered through training to enable them to participate fully in the projects.
Key words: Residents, empowerment, participation, ecotourism, development.