The development of strong partnerships is fundamental to the success of ecotourism initiatives that provide local benefits and account for community aspirations. Encouraging the inclusion of stakeholders who have an interest in the development of their local area, in discussions about potential ecotourism initiatives will increase the likelihood that such initiatives are successful and have local buy-in. The early stages of SHAPE invested in implementing processes of stakeholder engagement in each Sustainable Heritage Area that included gathering views on local challenges and aspirations and participatory mapping of valued natural and cultural assets. This allowed contributions from all interested individuals, leading to the selection and development of ecotourism initiatives with strong local support. SHAPE aims to bring together stakeholders who have not traditionally worked in partnership, for example community representatives, local businesses, activity and accommodation providers, nature conservation and cultural heritage organisations. New partnerships can spark innovative ideas for ecotourism that may attract visitors to stay for longer in an area and participate in new activities. For example, linking outdoor experiences with other attractions such as local food and cultural sites can be the basis for more fulfilling visitor experiences.