This thesis reflects on the question under which conditions ecotourism can result in successful community development. This main research question results in the working hypothesis that, community empowerment emerges through properly conducted ecotourism and contributes to community development and subsequently, regional development and welfare. The master thesis outlines the positive effects ecotourism can have on a community in a third-world country and also on the individual tourist. System theory was used in order to create a research framework including all actors of an ecotourism project. As a major part of this model deals with community empowerment connected to ecotourism, an evaluation framework for community empowerment was created which enables the researcher to compare different ecotourism projects with each other. A set of indicators - economic, social, political, psychological, ecological and tourism related - was developed and can be used for different kinds of ecotourism projects. According to this set of indicators two ecotourism project in Nepal were evaluated. Questionnaires for community members, project workers and tourists were created and handed to people in the villages of the case-study area.The main goals of this thesis consists in showing that community empowerment, if emerging through ecotourism, has a positive effect on community development and, in creating an evaluation framework for ecotourism projects which can be applied in different countries all over the world. This evaluation framework can be applied both, for the comparison of ecotourism projects in various countries as well as for the analysis of strengths and weaknesses within a single project. Additionally, the results of the evaluation should help the visited projects in Nepal to improve their performance and to find potential weaknesses in their development plans.