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Key sustainable tourism mechanisms for poverty reduction and local socio-economic development in Africa


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Increasing populations, together with the impact of climate change, are resulting in greater competition for land and a necessity for sustainable land use. Tourism can provide a flow of benefits from conservation to rural communities to reduce poverty and promote biodiversity conservation. Three key mechanisms of sustainable tourism to reduce poverty are discussed: employment, value chains and equity. These are based on primary data and a thorough literature review. Case study examples from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are included to demonstrate the impact of tourism employment on household welfare. Common problem areas associated with community engagement are identified and ways to upscale benefits are put forward. Tourism is not a panacea, but it can certainly play an important role in poverty alleviation.
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76 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms
for Poverty Reduction and Local
Socioeconomic Development in Africa1
Increasing populations, together with the
impact of climate change, are resulting in
greater competition for land and a necessity
for sustainable land use. Tourism can
provide a fl ow of benefi ts from conservation
to rural communities to reduce poverty and
promote biodiversity conservation. Three
key mechanisms of sustainable tourism to
reduce poverty are discussed: employment,
value chains and equity. These are based
on primary data and a thorough literature
review. Case study examples from Malawi,
Zambia and Zimbabwe are included
to demonstrate the impact of tourism
employment on household welfare. Common
problem areas associated with community
engagement are identi ed and ways to
upscale benefi ts are put forward. Tourism
is not a panacea, but it can certainly play
an important role in poverty alleviation.
Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
Sue Snyman2, Environmental Policy Rese arch Unit, Universit y
of Cape Town & Wild ernes s Safar is, South Africa
Anna Spenceley, Spenceley Tourism and Development CC
(STAND) & S enior Research Fellow, School of Tourism &
Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Africa is a continent of diversity: of fl ora, fau-
na, weather conditions, landscapes and ethnic
groups. Sustaining much of this diversity re-
quires the coexistence of wildlife with grow-
ing human populations and for communities
to recognise and value biodiversity as an as-
set. Ideally, biodiversity should be the basis of
strategies to diversify household incomes, re-
duce poverty and promote socioeconomic devel-
opment. For the poor, the environment is either
a threat or a consumption opportunity, while to
the rich it is a luxury commodity. An avenue
is needed for wealth transfer from the af u-
ent (who want to enjoy the environment) to the
poor (who frequently suffer from it). Tourism
can provide this avenue.3 The reported connec-
tions between poverty and environmental deg-
radation are numerous.4 Affl uence also imposes
costs on the environment: increased wealth
can lead to an increase in the use of natural
resources and increased land conversion for
agriculture, or result in greater pollution and
therefore environmental degradation.5
While sustainability requires a balance be-
tween people, their land-use practices and bio-
diversity conser vation, the particular structure
77© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
of this balance will differ from country to coun-
try, depending on the local socioeconomic con-
ditions, political structures and the institutions
present.6 This is important, since the effi cacy
of conservation efforts on public and private
land in Africa depends, in some measure, on
the extent to which these areas are socially,
economically and ecologically integrated into
the surrounding area7 and the lives of the lo-
cal communities.8 A number of authors9 have
stressed that tourism is one of the few activi-
ties able to generate income in impoverished
rural areas where agriculture is marginal.
Overall, rural African communities are
largely characterised by a lack of economic de-
velopment, remoteness, high levels of poverty
and unemployment, low levels of skills and
education, and a heavy reliance on subsistence
agriculture and natural resources for survival.10
Natural resources provide essential services to
communities, including watershed protection,
fuel, food, pollination, building materials and
climate regulation. Living alongside conserva-
tion areas may also entail human–animal con-
ict costs, such as a loss of crops and livestock.
Previously, communities were able to sur vive
through subsistence farming and, in some
cases, with government rations and grants.
As population growth has escalated, people
are fi nding it harder to survive in this man-
ner, and there is a greater need for permanent
employment and a steady, reliable income. The
increasing role of climate change and its effect
on subsistence lifestyles is also resulting in a
growing dependence on the market economy
and a declining ability of traditional subsist-
ence lifestyles to sustain rural populations.
There is, therefore, an urgent need for alterna-
tive, sustainable income-earning opportuni-
ties, and a panacea is often thought to reside
in high-end ecotourism. For ecotourism to be
viable and sustainable as a land use, tangible
benefi ts are essential for communities living in
and around the conservation areas that exceed
the costs they bear in the form of human–wild-
life confl ict and lack of access to resources.
Spenceley11 makes the point that the long-
term economic sustainability of tourism in
Africa depends on its ability to lift local peo-
ple out of poverty. There are many factors that
have an impact on the livelihoods and poverty
levels of households that are beyond the control
of the individual household, including exposure
to world markets, natural disasters (droughts
or fl oods), war and unrest, climate change, hu-
man–wildlife confl ict and poor governance.12
Tourism affects not only mean income, but also
the variance in income, that is, the risks that
households face. It can act as an insurance pol-
icy by allowing households to diversify their in-
come sources. In this way it can support biodi-
versity conservation by providing an economic
demand for ecosystems and natural areas.13
This article is based on quantitative and
qualitative data, which ensures a rigorous
analysis of the impacts of sustainable tour-
ism in Africa. To ensure sustainability, tour-
ism needs to provide tangible benefi ts to local
communities that are affected by the protected
area. This article will look at whether or not
this is in fact occurring in speci c areas, and
will present ways of maximising bene ts to
Three Key Mechanisms for
Sustainable Tourism to
Reduce Poverty in Africa
Tourism has been promoted as an economic op-
tion for community development and poverty
alleviation in Africa through employment,14
equity in enterprise ownership,
15 and procure-
ment through value chain linkages.16 Tangible
78 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
socioeconomic benefi ts have been documented
in South Africa in relation to community-based
tourism enterprises,17 joint ventures with the
private sector,18 and where tourism enterprises
have channelled donations into community
initiatives.19 In addition, tourism concessions
have been used by protected area managers
across South Africa to commercialise parks and
leverage quantifi able local economic benefi ts
through concession contracts.20
The following sections provide an overview
of three of the main ways that sustainable tour-
ism can contribute to reducing poverty and en-
suring sustainability in Africa. We will specifi -
cally explore employment, value chain linkages
and equity.
A number of tourism operations are located
in remote rural areas of Africa, with little de-
velopment and very few employment oppor-
tunities for the communities. Consequently,
unemployment rates and poverty levels are
generally high. Employment, both direct and
indirect, that results from tourism operations in
these areas can thus make a large contribution
to poverty reduction and an overall improve-
ment in social welfare in these areas.21 Direct
employment opportunities (direct participa-
tion in tourism, e.g. lodge workers, guides) are
limited in terms of the size of the ecotourism
operation, but indirect employment opportuni-
ties can be substantial.22 These could include
crafters, local suppliers to the tourism indus-
try (supply chains) and the transport industry.
Employment includes those working directly in
and relying specifi cally on the tourism industry
for support as well as self-employment, indi-
vidual entrepreneurship and the informal sec-
tor, or micro-enterprises23 that exist as a result
of the tourism industry, but are not always en-
tirely dependent on it.
Tourism’s ability to generate employment
in the informal sector of the economy has been
cited as one of the key opportunities presented
by tourism growth in developing countries.24
Despite the fact that this informal labour may
often be seasonal, variable and unreliable,
it can constitute a ver y important and use-
ful supplement to poor household livelihood
strategies.25 The scale of spending in the lo-
cal economy will determine the magnitude
of the impact on informal employment and
from there the magnitude of the impact on
poverty reduction.
The creation of employment opportunities is
a key indicator of how successful tourism can
be in promoting rural livelihoods26 and reduc-
ing poverty.27 It has been found
28 that skills
training, development and the empowerment of
local communities through employment, along
with other indirect benefi ts of tourism, have the
potential to improve rural livelihoods and so-
cial welfare, and encourage the sustainable use
of natural resources.
Direct and indirect employment has an im-
pact not only those who are employed, but
also those whom they support, and in this
way extends the poverty reduction effects of
tourism employment in many cases quite sub-
stantially.29 Poultney and Spenceley30 found
that waged employment makes a dramatic dif-
ference to the wellbeing of the poor, and may
often lift a family out of poverty on a sustain-
able basis. Tourism wages are generally at-
tractive in comparison with the alternatives
available in many developing countries,31 and
the security of a reliable monthly income can
improve overall security and social welfare. For
example, research in the Eastern Cape of South
Africa, where seven private game reserves were
surveyed, demonstrated that the number of
employees increased by a factor of 3,5 when
properties converted their use from livestock
79© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
farming to wildlife-based tourism (from 175
to 623 people), and employees also received
additional benefi ts not normally received by
farm employees, including accommodation,
training, food, pension contributions and medi-
cal insurance.32 The next section explores the
impact of employment in one safari company,
Wilderness Safaris.
Employment by Wilderness Safaris
in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe
An extensive socioeconomic study by Snyman33
on the impact of high-end ecotour ism on r ural
communities in six southern African coun-
tries, highlights the important role of tourism
employment in poverty reduction. The empiri-
cal material in this article looks specifi cally
at communities living alongside conservation
areas in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and
examines the impact high-end ecotourism
has on reducing poverty and ensuring envi-
ronmental sustainability. Structured one-
on-one questionnaire interviews were used
to ascertain the socioeconomic situation of
local communities around Liwonde National
Park in Malawi, South Luangwa National
Park in Zambia and Hwange National Park
in Zimbabwe, and the impacts of conserva-
tion and tourism on the communities. Two
types of community members are identifi ed
in this case study: those employed in a high-
end ecotourism operation and those living
adjacent to the conservation area where the
ecotourism operation is located. The role of
ecotourism employment in reducing povert y
and improving rural social welfare was ana-
lysed from the data collected in these surveys.
A total of 165 staff surveys were conducted in
seven high-end ecotourism lodges, and a to-
tal of 539 community sur veys were conduct-
ed in 15 rural villages, covering 14 different
ethnic groups.
The analysis includes data collected from
two Wilderness Safaris (http://www.wilder- camps in Liwonde National
Park, in Malawi (327 surveys), one camp in
South Luangwa National Park in Zambia (92
surveys), and four camps in Hwange National
Park in Zimbabwe (295 surveys), using struc-
tured questionnaire interviews.
The results of the socioeconomic sur veys in
this case study indicate that education plays
an important role in terms of securing per-
manent employment. Staff had, on average, a
statistically signi cant higher mean number of
years of education (M=8,9) compared to com-
munity respondents (M=3,6). An analysis of
average total monthly household income re-
vealed that respondents employed in ecotour-
ism had, on average, a statistically signi cant
higher total mean monthly household income
(M=US$279,09) than the average community
household in the area (M=US$56,49).
The difference in the average number of
people that each staff and community member
supported was also statistically signifi cant.
On average, staff had 7,2 dependants, whereas
community respondents had only 4,89, which
illustrates the heavy reliance of these com-
munities on employment in ecotourism for
support. Table 1 illustrates the number of de-
pendants per staff member in the three case
study countries, as well as the average month-
ly amount given directly to dependants. More
than US$2 100 per month is paid by employed
community members out of seven camps to
support dependants in these rural communi-
ties. This amount excludes payments for food,
education, clothes and the like that is also paid
to support dependants. The multiplier effects of
this spending in rural areas further assists in
reducing poverty in remote, rural communities
in Africa. On average, in the three study coun-
tries US$301,48 is paid to support dependants
80 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
per camp, or US$15,98 per tourism bed. A total
of over 1 900 extra people are supported by the
seven camps: 278 people per camp or 15 people
per tourism bed.
According to Lepper and Goebel,34 the sig-
nifi cance of tourism employment revenue to
poverty alleviation and livelihood diversifi ca-
tion is only fully realised when one considers
the ‘trickle down’ effect of cash income that is
given to family members of the household and
the greater community. As shown in this case
study, this impact can indeed be substantial
Table 1
Number of people indirectly affected by ecotourism employment at three Wilderness
Safaris camps
Total no. of
staff in the
per staff
(infl ated
to 2011)
no. of
per staff
Tota l no.
of people
by camp
given to
per staff
(in US$)3
Tota l
payments to
per month
(in US$)45
(two camps
surveyed –
50 beds)
108 91,89 8 858 5,78 624,24
(one camp
– 18 beds)
23 159,40 7 167 6,15 141,45
(four camps
– 64 beds)
119 216, 8 7 8 9 2 2 11, 3 0 1 3 4 4 , 7
total (seven
camps –
132 bed s)
250 156,05 8 1947 7,74 2 110,39
1 All fi gures relating to the number of people indirectly impacted, as well as those lif ted out of poverty, have
been rounded up.
2 Over and above wages, employees receive gratuities (not included in this analysis) as well as other non-
monetar y bene ts of employment such as accommodation, food, uniform and a company HIV-awareness/
testing and education programme. These fi gures are based on data from socioeconomic surveys conducted
and are not of cial wage fi gures: they are based on the salar y fi gures given by respondents (and have been
infl ated to 2011 values).
3 This result is calculated by multiplying the number of people employed in the surveyed camps by the
calculated average number of staf f dependents. All fi gures are rounded up.
4 These fi gures were obtained from the expenses section of the surveys conducted in the countries. All fi gures
were conver ted to US$ for comparison purposes using exchange rates on 2 December
5 These fi gures were calculated by multiplying the total number of staff by the average monthly payment to
Source: Snyman, 201035
81© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
and it is important to take it into consideration
when considering the impact tourism has in
rural areas.
The analysis of income sources, dependency
ratios and average household income indicates
that there is a heavy reliance in many rural ar-
eas on the market economy for support in the
form of tourism. This highlights the important
role that tourism plays in rural economic and
social development. Tourism employment and
tourist philanthropy can go a long way in as-
sisting rural communities in reaching some of
their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
through education support, infrastructure de-
velopment, feeding schemes, and water provi-
sion programmes.
Value chain linkages
A value chain is defi ned as ‘a sequence of re-
lated business activities (functions) from the
provision of specifi c inputs for a particular
product to primary production, transformation,
marketing, and up to the fi nal sale of the par-
ticular product to consumers’.36 A diverse set of
organisations (including multilateral, bilateral,
NGO and research) are re-evaluating their ap-
proach to tourism along the lines of improv-
ing value chain linkages. They are developing
interventions that consider the entire tourism
value chain and boost the market access of
the poor, often through mainstream tourism.
Simultaneously, there is change within the pri-
vate sector, where good practices are no longer
Figure 1
Dynamic effects of tourism on local development and poverty reduction
Source: Adapted from Spenceley, Ashley & De Koch, 200938
Changes in business environment
Price and returns
Natural resource use & management
Infrastructure and services
Social institutions
Growth rates and patterns
Supply chains,
related sectors
Poor households
Dynamic changes in local economy and livelihoods
44 3
82 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
only the domain of small owner-operated or
niche companies. Hotel chains, international
tour operators and a range of NGOs and com-
mercial networks are now developing more
socially oriented practices, or what are often
called inclusive businesses. Inclusive business
explicitly incorporates engagement with the lo-
cal economy, but organisations may engage in
the arena under the terms of sustainable tour-
ism, responsible tourism or corporate social
responsibility/investment.37 Figure 1 describes
the linkages among the tourism industry, sup-
ply chains and related sectors, and the poor.
Development agencies and NGOs working on
tourism value chains (such as SNV Netherlands
Development Organization) tend to concentrate
their efforts on four main sectors that appear
to have the greatest potential for poverty reduc-
tion: accommodation, food and drink, handi-
crafts and shopping, and excursions. A series
of value chain analyses (VCAs) undertaken in
Africa have illustrated the following impacts
on poverty from these sectors in Tanzania,
Rwanda and the Gambia.
Looking at a nature-based tourism destina-
tion, Mitchell and Keane39 evaluated the value
of tourism value chains on Mount Kilimanjaro
in Tanzania. They estimated that the revenue
from 35 000 mountain climbers on a typical
climbing package provides in-country tourist
expenditure of just under US$50 million per
year. Of this, US$13 million is considered to be
pro-poor expenditure. Mitchell and Keane es-
timated that all expenditure on climbing staff
(wages and tips) was pro-poor (US$8,5 mil-
lion). About 90 per cent of food and beverage
expenditure on Kilimanjaro is sourced from lo-
cal markets in Moshi, and the suppliers of this
market are overwhelmingly local smallholder
farmers. The average climber spends US$58
each on cultural goods and services, half of
which is considered to have a pro-poor impact
(US$1 million). Total park revenue is estimated
at US$22 million, of which 5 per cent has some
pro-poor impact (over US$1 million). Finally,
expenditure on accommodation is around
US$2,5 million, of which around 16 per cent is
considered to have a pro-poor impact (almost
US$500 000).
In Rwanda, Spenceley et al.40 considered the
impact gorilla tourism has on the poor in the
Parc National des Volcans, which is famed for
being inhabited by endangered mountain goril-
las. The overall value of the accommodation,
food and beverage, tour operator and shopping
value chains around the park was estimated at
US$42,7 million per year, with an associated
US$2,8 million in expenditure on wages, fruit
and vegetables, and non-food purchases. The
pro-poor income was an estimated US$1,8 mil-
lion (4,3 per cent of destination turnover).
In the Gambia, another beach tourism des-
tination, Mitchell and Faal41 found that the
value of the Gambian tourism value chain was
around £96 million per year, and about half of
this is spent within the Gambia. They found
that 7 per cent of expenditure on accommoda-
tion (£1,2 million), 11 per cent of money spent
on food and beverages (£1,7 million), 50 per
cent of money spent on shopping (£2,4 million),
and 25 per cent of excursions revenue (£1,1 mil-
lion) reached the poor. This equated to 7 per
cent of the total benefi ts of the tourism value
chain being retained by the poor.
To provide an idea of how destinations’ pro-
poor income compares to one another, Mitchell
and Ashley42 compiled a comparative analy-
sis (see Figure 2). Considering the previously
summarised studies, this demonstrates that
mountain climbing on Kilimanjaro provides a
far higher pro-poor income than beach tour-
ism in the Gambia. In general, there are greater
local benefi ts to the poor from tourism value
chains when local people can participate in the
83© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
tourism sector by providing labour, products
and services. Interventions by development
agencies should focus on reducing barriers to
entry into the tourism sector and enabling the
poor to participate.
There are a number of different equity/owner-
ship arrangements for tourism operations in
Africa. Benefi ts from such arrangements vary
depending on the agreements between the par-
ties. The extent of impacts on poverty reduction
also varies with the chosen equity agreement.
The level of community involvement depends
on the specifi c conditions of the equity arrange-
ment, with a large amount of involvement oc-
curring in community-based tourism (CBT),
and a more limited amount in public–private
partnerships. However, in the majority of cases,
the tourism sector operates without commu-
nity equity, and a pure private sector model is
observed. There are also cases of partnerships
between the private sector, communities and
Community-based tourism (CBT)
Since the 1980s, community involvement in
tourism has been widely supported in the lit-
erature as being essential from a moral point of
view, an equity perspective and a developmen-
tal perspective.45 Proponents suggest that com-
munity ownership provides livelihood security,
minimal leakage, effi cient confl ict resolution,
increases in the local population’s social car-
rying capacity and improved conservation.46
As a result of interventions by NGOs and de-
velopment agencies, community-based tourism
initiatives have proliferated across Africa, Asia
and the Neotropics.47 There have also been a se-
ries of theoretical and practical studies (mostly
through case studies) done.48
In relation to poverty reduction, the level
and distribution of economic benefi ts from
CBT depends on many factors including the
Figure 2
Pro-poor income as a percentage of destination spending
Source: Mitchell & Ashley, 201043
Destination: Type of tourism
Pro-poor income (PPI) as % of destination spending
Northern Tanzania: mountain climbing
Ethiopia: cultural outside Addis
South Africa: game viewing
Ethiopia: business in Addis
The Gambia: beach package
Ghana: business in Accra
Cambodia: cultural
Northern Tanzania: safari
Cape Verde: beach package
Namibia: protected areas
Luang Prabang, Laos: cultural
Central Vietnam: business tourism
0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30%
84 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
attractiveness of the tourism asset, the type
of tourism operation, the nature and degree of
community involvement, and whether earnings
become private income or are channelled into
community projects or other benefi t-spreading
Problems associated with developing com-
munity tourism projects include high cost to
establish and they encourage high expectations
that may not be feasible. New confl icts may also
arise as marginal groups become more empow-
ered and elites gain greater benefi ts through
networks.50 They may fail because authority
has not been devolved to the appropriate low-
est level, so benefi ts from activities are not re-
turned to the community.51 Furthermore, donor
support may be fi ckle and may be removed at
any time, because there are seldom contracts to
state that a donor must remain until a project
is sustainable. In addition, communities are
frequently unable to provide the standard of
service foreign tourists require, leaving large
tourism operations without competition or any
incentives to distribute wealth.52
A systematic review of the impacts of 215
community accommodation enterprises in
Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi,
Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa,
Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe
revealed that although there are some success
stories, the majority struggle to survive with
problems of accessibility in remote locations,
limited market access, poor promotion, low mo-
tivation and constrained communication.53 The
study implied that interventions by third parties
(e.g. NGOs, donor agencies) have not promoted
business plans or market-led approaches of the
community-based tourism enterprises (CBTEs),
because the intermediaries were primarily fo-
cused on capacity building and empowerment
of the poor rather than commercial viability.
Despite operating from a diffi cult basis, the
CBTEs demonstrated tangible benefi ts for local
people, including employment of 2 504 people
and providing access to fi nance, community
infrastructure, education and product develop-
ment. Local procurement totalled nearly US$1
million per annum on products such as crafts,
food, décor, building materials and services,
which included entertainment, guiding, cater-
ing and construction from all of the enterprises.
Most of the enterprises considered themselves
to be practising sustainable tourism, with
many having policies on and commitments to
conservation and local benefi ts. However, until
CBTEs adopt a business perspective, many will
continue to struggle and frustrate the intended
benefi ciaries, who have not been empowered to
recognise their failings and adapt to improve, or
pursue alternative livelihood options.54 Similar
ndings on CBT have come from Tanzania
and Zambia.56 Key determinants of success in
Zambia were linkages to tourism companies,
proximity to main tourism routes, competitive
advantage, fi nancial management, visitor han-
dling and community motivation.57 Dixey58 as-
certained that community-based tourism has to
be market related with regard to consumer de-
mand if it is to be viable and benefi t the poor in
the long term. However, when Barnes59 under-
took an analysis of community-based natural
resource management (CBNRM) and conservan-
cies in Namibia, he demonstrated positive im-
pacts of CBT at both local and national levels.
By using cost/bene t analyses of fi ve conser v-
ancies (Torra, Khoadi-Hôas, NyaeNyae, Mayuni
and Salambala), Barnes60 found that communi-
ties derive positive net returns from their in-
vestments in tourism-related CBNRM, particu-
larly in arid and semi-arid areas. In addition,
he reported that donor and government grants
signifi cantly enhanced the returns that commu-
nities obtained (although some would be viable
without grants).
85© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
In recent years, practitioners have effec-
tively shaken the premise that CBTEs are al-
ways a useful development tool in poor rural
areas. Although CBT can provide greater eco-
nomic benefi ts than agriculture in some areas,
it is imperative that these projects are planned
and operated as commercial entities. There is
little value in establishing a CBTE that tour-
ists do not know about (because of poor pro-
motion) and cannot reach (because of poor
infrastructure), where the establishment is
product- rather than demand-led (because no
market research was done), where a low level
of service is given (because of poor training),
and which does not make a profi t (because ex-
pectations remain unrealised, and third par-
ties have to subsidise the operations in the
long term).
It is clear that the concept of community-
based tourism should be reconfi gured to take a
market-led approach that concentrates on small
business development and maximises linkages
between tourism and communities through
the supply chain, rather than stressing collec-
tive ownership and management. Where donors
and NGOs work with the poor to establish small
tourism businesses, they have a responsibility
to provide an enabling framework for partner-
ships with tourism professionals to ensure that
a realistic and commercial approach is adopted.
Policymakers also have a key role to play by
providing a consistent enabling policy frame-
work that empowers communities to capitalise
on their natural environment and heritage in a
sustainable way.61
Public–private partnerships
and joint ventures
The case of public–private partnerships
(PPPs) in African tourism is well illustrated
by the commercialisation of South African
National Parks (SANParks). SANParks is a
government-run organisation that embarked
on a commercialisation strategy in 2000.62 The
main objective of this strategy was to reduce
dependence on government funding (which
amounted to 20 per cent of its operational re-
quirements (approximately US$80 million))
and to improve existing operational effi cien-
cies.63 To date, the strateg y has resulted in in-
creased market segmentation and product and
price differentiation.64 An additional 380 guest
beds resulted in an increased contribution to
the local economy through increased employ-
ment and other associated multiplier effects.
According to Varghese,65 the strategy’s most
signifi cant benefi t has been its ability to reduce
poverty in remote areas through the creation of
sustainable employment. The combination of
the conservation expertise from national parks
(public sector) and the business expertise of
private enterprises allows for the maximisa-
tion of benefi ts through increased employment,
improved service delivery, increased infrastruc-
ture, and improvements in skills training and
development of local people. PPPs can, under
certain circumstances, therefore be an effective
mechanism for reducing poverty and promoting
conservation in the long term by bringing to-
gether the strengths of various public and pri-
vate enterprises.
With the vision of creating successful tour-
ism businesses that local people can benefi t
from, there has been a trend away from com-
munity-based tourism towards joint-venture
partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa. This trend
has recognised that partnerships in which
communities bring resources (e.g. land, natu-
ral attractions) and the private sector brings
business acumen and networks (e.g. exist-
ing client bases, linkages with tour operators,
business planning and promotion experience),
create a ‘win–win’ situation for both parties.
Wilderness Safaris has taken the joint-venture
86 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
model in Africa a step further, evolving the
joint-venture model.66 In their new venture at
Rocktail Beach Camp, Wilderness Safaris is not
only a partner in the commercial enterprise, but
also in the company that represents the com-
munity. With this linkage, Wilderness Safaris
can assist in the fi nancial governance of the en-
terprise to avoid problems of misappropriation
of community funds.67 Another example is the
Damaraland Camp joint venture (JV) partner-
ship between Wilderness Safaris and the Torra
Conservancy in Namibia. From year 10 to 15 of
the partnership the conservancy was given –
per annum – 20 per cent equity in Damaraland
Camp, until they owned 100 per cent and chose
to sell a portion back to Wilderness Safaris
to form a joint venture equity partnership.
Wilderness Safaris was then offered and pur-
chased 60 per cent of the camp back from the
conservancy. They are now operating as equity
partners, with the JV leasing the land from the
conservancy for a fee based on a percentage of
the revenue.68 In 2010, Wilderness Safaris as-
sisted the conser vancy to raise a bank loan
of N$500 000 based on the collateral of their
shareholding in Damaraland Camp, which
was used to build the Damaraland Adventurer
Camp. This is the fi rst instance of a community
raising their own funds for building purposes,
and helped to empower the community and
provide experience in fi nancial management
and business skills.69
Joint ventures between community groups
and private tourism operators might have the
greatest potential for generating signifi cant
revenues for communities and may also be
more likely to succeed than wholly community-
run enterprises. However, communities will of-
ten need outside assistance to organise, obtain
and assert their legal rights and understand
their obligations in such partnerships.70
With respect to &Beyond, the example
of Phinda is a notable innovation that has
created a win–win situation from the land-
claims process in South Africa (see Figure 3).
Previously a privately owned, developed and
operated venture, Phinda became a joint ven-
ture with local communities in 2007, following
a land claim that had been declared in 2002.
&Beyond did not oppose the claim, and was
paid R268 million (approximately US$34,5
million) by the South African government for
the return of 12 000 hectares to the commu-
nities. Now &Beyond pays rental agreements
Figure 3
Joint venture operation institutional arrangement: Phinda and &Beyond
Source: Pers Com Pretorius and Campbell, cited in Spe nceley,73 2008b
Mnqobokazi community
Lessor 6 110 ha land (72 year
lease, following land claim)
Lessor 1 140 ha on 36 year lease
Makasa community
Lessor 6 550 ha land 72 year lease
(following land claim)
Lessor Foresst and Vlei lodges
Lessor 990 ha on 36 year lease
& Beyond
Lessee, Developer and Operator
Owner of 3 667 ha
Traversing agreements
11,1 0 9 h a
Average rental 262 per ha
(ranging R150 – 295 per ha)
87© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
for areas of land it leases from the communi-
ties, and has traversing agreements to operate
game drives.71 The rental income is being used
for projects that include electrifi cation and
Pure private sector
Largely due to a lack of the necessary com-
mercial focus to generate suf cient revenues
from natural resources, African governments
and state conservation departments have been
turning to the private sector to assist with the
management and maintenance of conserva-
tion areas.74 The private sector appears to be
better placed to identify opportunities, real-
ise the potential of a destination, and drive
the development of a product forward. It also
has the potential to adopt a range of highly
effective strategies for the benefi t of com-
munities and their livelihoods.75 The degree
to which pure private sector ownership can
contribute to poverty reduction depends on
the particular private sector operator and its
desire to contribute to local community devel-
opment through employment opportunities,
philanthropic donations, and the construc-
tion and development of infrastructure and
community projects. This varies depending on
the particular business and ethical objectives
of the private sector operator.76 For example,
safari operators such as &Beyond have re-
sponded constructively to the HIV/AIDS issue
by developing health education programmes
among communities neighbouring its lodg-
es.77 Also, companies practising signifi cant
levels of corporate social responsibility, such
as Wilderness Safaris, have produced ethical
policies that are advertised in their brochures
and in their annual report.78
Motivations for the private sector to en-
gage in tourism operations, with a community
engagement or development angle, include
obligations to provide benefi ts to rural com-
munities through concession arrangements,
being driven by corporate social responsibility,
seeking market advantage, or ethical tenden-
cies to do so (e.g. Ngala Private Game Reserve
in the Kruger National Park; Jackalberry Lodge;
Vilanculos Lodge in Mozambique; Wilderness
Safaris in various southern African countries).79
These motivations are driven by a number of
forces, including market forces, the diversifi ca-
tion of commercial activities, and the availabil-
ity of new and competitive opportunities.80 The
private sector has the capital available for the
development of new tourism ventures, as well
as marketing capabilities, greater advertising
opportunities, economies of scale and fi nancial
management skills.
In general, the private sector is oriented
towards generating revenue and making a
profi t from selling tourism products and serv-
ices.81 The private sector can also play a very
important role in catalysing the development
of new community institutions, facilitating
and fi nancing projects, and assisting with the
management of community projects.82 These
empowerment and skills enhancement benefi ts
are important in terms of long-term poverty re-
duction and local economic development.
Critical to the long-term success of private
sector tourism operations and the development
of tourism in Africa is that local governments
create an enabling environment in which the
private sector can operate effectively and effi -
ciently, and that can also stimulate economic
growth.83 The degree to which private sector
ownership has an impact on poverty reduc-
tion varies greatly, depending on the particu-
lar private sector operator and its objectives,
but it can be enhanced by a commitment to the
development of local communities in the area
through employment, equity shares, empower-
ment, and skills training and development.
88 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
Some of the successes in improving the eco-
nomic impacts of tourism in Africa have includ-
ed capital investment, increased yield per tour-
ist, job creation, market linkages, commercial
opportunities for small businesses, and diver-
sifi cation of markets.84 Some of the constraints
include the high cost of taxes, levies and gov-
ernment fees; lack of skilled local labour; in-
suffi cient economies of scale to develop viable
market linkages; and the fact that many jobs
may not necessarily mean good-quality and
well-paid ones with decent working conditions.
A number of mechanisms have been identi-
ed and applied to enhance the economic im-
pacts of tourism.85 These include the following:
Creating incentive and taxation instruments
that support rather than punish commercial
Providing mechanisms to ensure living or
minimum wages across the sector, in col-
laboration with the private sector.
Promoting value for money in tourism prod-
ucts and destinations, coupled with quality
service and experiences.
Investing in marketing and promotion.
Establishing strong market linkages be-
tween the destination and source markets.
Promoting strong local value chains, so that
local businesses can overcome barriers to
engaging in tourism markets, and sell their
goods and services to the tourism sector.
Monitoring and evaluating the economic
and fi nancial returns to society and local
A number of projects have sought to bene t
communities via tourism but have been unable
to demonstrate success on any scale. While
the problems vary from place to place, broadly
speaking there are eight types:86
1. Focusing on community-owned enterprise
to the exclusion of other parts of the value
chain. Most donor interventions in tourism,
from either a development or a conservation
perspective, have helped communities to set
up tourism enterprises, but as indicated ear-
lier, there are many other ways in which the
poor engage in tourism and through which
they earn considerably more. Community-
run enterprises often generate very low
returns because they are small and barely
commercially viable.
2. Developing tourism enterprises that do not
have a market. Often community-owned en-
terprises are established without any market
research or business planning. This means
that many remain commercially unviable for
years and years, only to be supported by do-
nations and the activities of donor agencies.
The ‘build and they will come’ approach rare-
ly works without substantial long-term sup-
port and promotion.
3. Providing heavy development inputs but
not commercial expertise. There have been
heavy donor and NGO inputs into develop-
ing local tourism, which often signifi cantly
outweigh any local benefi ts that fl ow from
them. However, because tourism is a busi-
ness, commercial inputs are needed – on
pricing, marketing, budgeting and business
4. Ignoring deep-set constraints in the busi-
ness environment. Lack of access to fi nance,
communication problems, the regulatory en-
vironment, racial discrimination, corruption
in licensing or limitations on ights arriv-
ing may be fundamental constraints to par-
ticipation of the poor in tourism. However,
these are rarely addressed in tourism-pover-
ty projects.
5. Doing pro-poor tourism as a separate ‘add-
on’ to destination development.
89© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
mainstream development plans do include
an objective for pro-poor impact, but if this
is done with separate projects, budget and
staff, it becomes another project. More im-
pact comes from assessing the zoning, hotel
licensing, shopping development, entertain-
ment plans and all other aspects of develop-
ment with a pro-poor lens.
6. Excluding local people from tourism assets.
Where authorities consider that the tourism
(or conservation) attraction is too sensitive,
local people are often excluded from the area.
The exclusion may be to prevent hunting, or
the collection of fi rewood and water, or the
opportunity to graze livestock. Exclusion
may also be by pricing, where it is too expen-
sive for local people to pay the same prices
as foreigners; and may also be from planning
processes, which have implications for the
places where residents live, work and play.
7. Failing to recognise the environmental im-
pacts of tourism.
All tourism products and
services have environmental consequences
from the rare mahogany used to create
a beautiful traditional mask in Africa, to
the wetland that is drained to provide solid
ground for a luxury lodge, to creating access
roads in remote areas that bring more devel-
opment, and the greenhouse gas emissions
generated by fl ying between home and a
holiday destination. Undermining the natu-
ral environment jeopardises tourism assets,
ultimately threatening the continuation of
a tourism destination and therefore the pro-
poor income-generating activities that rely
on it.
8. Over-promising and under-delivering. Manag-
ing community expectations relating to a
tourism operation in the area is crucial to its
long-term success. This can be time consum-
ing and diffi cult because there are frequently
numerous stakeholders involved in a project
and there needs to be agreement in terms
of what can and cannot be achieved by the
project. If communities are promised more
than is delivered, this can lead to frustra-
tions and confl ict, which can erode support
for the tourism operation.
Current thinking in tourism focuses on
interventions that are more strategic and
based on an open-minded assessment of
where impact can be created at scale. In
summary, these attempt to engage the pri-
vate sector in expanding opportunities for
poor people, and take advantage of the
growing business case for the tourism sec-
tor to demonstrate its commitment to des-
tination development; link poor people to
opportunities in mainstream tourism, not
just niche tourism; assess and then tackle
the main market blockages that limit par-
ticipation of the poor; work at any point in
the tourism value chain, wherever there is
greatest potential for pro-poor change; and
evaluate the potential environmental, cul-
tural and social impacts of the inter vention
and the type of enterprise being developed.
This should be done during the planning
stage and in participation with local stake-
holders to ensure that overall the impacts
will be benefi cial.87
In conclusion, there is a range of ways that pro-
poor interventions can be scaled up.88 These in-
clude employment, value chain linkages, joint
venture partnerships, and community capacity
building and skills training:
Increasing employment of local people,
including greater skills training and de-
velopment to ensure growth and promo-
tion to management levels.
Job-shadowing or internships for com-
munity members to learn new skills.
90 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
Improving the level of access to vacan-
cies (as well as opportunities for service
and product provision) information lo-
cally, i.e. not only advertising to exist-
ing staff.
Value chain linkages
Sharing information on the value of val-
ue chain analysis (VCA), in terms of the
information it generates, and of how to
design interventions that improve mar-
ket linkages in local economies.
Supporting interventions that have used
VCAs in their feasibility and preparatory
phases, in combination with environ-
mental and social elements.
Providing training/internships for lo-
cal SMMEs to give guidance in terms of
market needs, budgeting, pricing, etc.
Joint-venture partnerships
Developing concession tool templates,
models, guidelines and training materi-
als, supported by case study examples.
Developing funding mechanisms to chan-
nel donor funds towards concession and
joint-venture processes to promote pov-
erty reduction, investment and conserva-
Developing guidelines for private sec-
tor operators engaging with community
trusts/boards to assist in promoting the
sustainability of agreements and the
equal distribution of benefi ts to have an
impact on as many community members
as possible.
Community capacity building and skills
Scholarship programmes for young
adults in tourism-related fi elds.
Children’s education programmes in
communities to inform them of jobs that
are available/possible in tourism and
how they can get involved.
Community capacity building and skills
training in administration, fi nancial re-
porting and strategic planning, which
should be conducted by government,
NGOs and the private sector.
The uniqueness of Africa’s natural resources,
its abundant and diverse wildlife, and its cul-
tural diversity make it very attractive for tour-
ism. The concurrent high levels of poverty
and unemployment on the continent make it
even more important that tourism is truly pro-
poor focused, and that local rural communi-
ties benefi t from conservation and tourism in
a sustainable manner that will assist them in
achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Notes and References
1 A version of this paper is to be published
in Bricker, K., Black, R. & Cot trell, S. (eds.),
2012. Sustainable tourism & the M illennium
Development G oals: Effecting positive
change. Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC.
2 Sue Snyman gratefully acknowledges
funding from SIDA (Swedish International
Development Cooperation Agency)
through the Environmental Polic y Research
Unit, Univer sity of Cape Town.
3 Snyman, S., forthcoming (a). Economics
of ecotourism: The socio-economic impac t
of high-end ecotourism on rural com-
munities in six southern African countries.
PhD dissertation (in progress), School of
Economics, University of Cape Town.
4 See, for example, A dams, W.M., Aveling,
R., Brockington, D., Dickson, B., Elliott, J.,
Hutton, J., Roe, D., Vira, B. and Wolme r,
W., 2004. Biodiversit y conser vation and
the eradication of p overty. Science, 306,
pp. 1146–1149; Fisher, B. and Christopher,
T., 2007. Poverty and biodiversit y:
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and the bio diversity hot spots. Ecological
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E., Berranger, A. and Gouin, J.F., 2008.
Innovation in business–community
part nerships: Evaluating the imp act of
local enterprise and global investment
models on poverty, biodiversity and de-
velopment, Corpor ate Governance, 8(4),
pp. 546–556; and Scherl, L.M., Wilson,
A., Wild, R., Blockhus, J., Franks, P.,
McNeely, J.A. and McSh ane, T.O., 2004.
Can protected areas contr ibute to povert y
91© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
reduction? Opportunities and limitations.
Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge UK:
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5 Stronza, A., 2007. The economic promis e
of ecotour ism for conservation. Journal of
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6 Kepe, T., Wynberg, R. and Ellis, W., 2005.
Land reform and bio diversity conservation
in South A frica: Complementary or in con-
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7 Ibid., p. 8
8 Snyman, forth coming (a), op. cit.
9 See, for example, A shley, C. and Roe, D.,
2002. Making tour ism work for the poor:
Strategies and challenges in southern
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pp. 61–82; Boudre aux, K. and Nelson,
F. 2011. Community conser vation in
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pp. 17–24; Lapeyre, R ., 2010. Community-
based tourism as a sustainable solution
to maximise impacts locally? The Tsiseb
Conser vancy c ase, Namibia. Develop ment
Southe rn Africa, 27, pp. 757–772; Scherl,
L.M., Wilson, A., Wild, R., Blockhus, J.,
Franks, P., McNeely, J. A. and M cShan e,
T.O., 2004; and Spenceley, A. and
Goodwin, H., 2007. Nature-based tourism
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sector and paras tatal enterpr ises in and
around Kruger National Park, South
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10 Ellis, F., 1999, Rural livelihood diversit y
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11 Spenceley, A., 2003, Tour is m, l oc al
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12 Vedeld, P., Jumane, A., Wapalila, G. and
Songor wa, A., 2012. Protected areas,
poverty and confl ict s: A livelihoods case
study of M ikumi National Park, Tanzania.
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13 Hearne, R.R. and Santos, C.A., 20 05.
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15 Mahony and Van Zyl, 2002, op. cit.;
Ntshon a, Z. and Lahif f, E., 2003.
Community-based ecotourism on the
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16 Ashley, C., 20 07. Pro-poor analysis of the
Rwandan tourism value chain: An emerging
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17 See Biggs, D., Turpie, J., Fabricius, C. and
Spence ley, A., 2011. The value of avitour-
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18 Ashley, C. an d Jones, B., 2001. Joint
ventures between communities and tourism
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Intern ational J ournal of Tourism Research,
3(5), pp. 407–423; and Poult ney and
Spence ley, 2001, op. cit.
19 For example, Spencel ey, A., 2001.
Integrating biodiversity into the tourism
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United Nations Environment Programme –
Biodiversity Planning Support Programme
(UNEP- BPSP); and Spence ley, A., 2010.
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and best practices in sub-Saharan Africa.
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20 See Fearnhea d, P., 2004.
Commercialisation in nation al parks. In
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Elephant Nation al Park (pp. 54– 61).
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21 Ashley, C., 2006. How can governments
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22 See Ashley, 2006, op. cit.; Mitchell &
Ashley, 2010, op. cit.; Spenceley, 2008,
op. cit.
23 Mitchell & Ashley, 2010, op. cit.
24 De Kadt, 1979, in Mitchell & Ashley, 2010,
op. cit.
25 Mitchell & Ashley, 2010, op. cit.
26 Mbaiwa, J., 2008, The realities of
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27 Mitchell & Ashley, 2010, op. cit.
28 See Mbaiwa, 200 8, op. cit.; Salaf sky,
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29 See Mitchell & Ashley, 2010; and
Snyman, S., 2010, Various unpublished
92 AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012 © Africa Institute of South Africa
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
socio-economic reports based on extensive
surveys conducted for Wilderness Safaris in
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op. cit.
30 Poultney and Spenceley, 2001, op. cit.
31 Mitchell and Ashl ey, 2010, op. cit.
32 Sims-Castley, R., Kerley, G.I.H., Ge ach, B.
and Langholtz, J., 20 05. Socio-economic
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33 Snyman, for thcoming (a), op. cit.
34 Lepper, C.M. and Go ebel, J.S ., 2010.
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35 Snyman, 2010, op. cit.
36 Spring er-Heinze, A. ed., 20 07. Value links
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37 Mitchell and Ashl ey, 2008, cited in Ashley,
C., Mitchell, J., and Spenceley, A., 200 9.
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38 Adapte d from Spenceley, A., Ashley, C.
and De Koch, M . 2009. Touris m and
local development: An introductor y guide.
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39 Mitchell, J. and Keane, J., 2008.
Tracing the tourism dollar in Norther n
Tanzania, fi nal report. London: Overse as
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40 Spenceley, A., Habyalimana, S., Tusabe,
R. and Mariza, D., 2010. Benefi ts to the
poor from gorilla tourism in Rwanda.
Development Southern Africa, 27(5),
pp. 647–662.
41 Mitchell, J. and Faal, J., 2007. Package
holiday tourism in the Gambia.
Development Southern Africa, 24(3),
pp. 445–464.
42 Mitchell and Ashl ey, 2010, op. cit.
43 Ibid.
44 See Mahony, K. and Van Zyl, J., 2001.
Practical strategies for pro-po or tourism.
Case studies of Makuleke and Manyeleti
tourism initiatives. London: PPT Working
Paper no. 2; Reid, H., 2001. Contractual
national parks and the Makuleke
communit y. Human Ecology, 29(2),
pp. 135–155; and Steenkamp, C. and
Uhr, J. 2000. The Makuleke land claim:
Power relat ions and community-based
natural resources management. London:
Intern ational I nstitute for the Environment
and Development.
45 See Brohman, J., 1996. New direc tions
for tourism in Third World development.
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46 Steele, P., 1995. Ecotourism: An economic
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47 Walpole, M., 1997, Dragon tourism in
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48 For example, K iss, A., 2004. Is community-
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49 Kiss, 20 04, op. cit.; Wunder, S., 200 0,
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50 Zazueta, A .E., 1995. Policy hits the ground:
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51 Att well, C.A.M . and Cot terill, F.P.D., 1999.
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52 Yu, E.W., Hendrickson, T. and Castillo,
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54 Ibid.
55 Nelson, F., 2008. Livelihoods, conser va-
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56 Dixey, L.M ., 2008. The unsustainability
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57 Ibid.
58 Ibid.
59 Barne s, 2008, op. cit.
60 Ibid.
61 Spenceley, A., 2008, Phinda Private Game
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Paper pre sented at African Safari Lodge
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63 Ibid.
64 Ibid.
65 Ibid.
66 Spenceley, 2010, op. cit.
67 Ib id.
68 NACSO. 2010. Namibia’s communal
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69 Snyman, S., for thcoming (b). Ecotourism
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71 Personal communication, Pretorius &
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72 &Beyond, undated, and Spenceley, 2010,
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73 Personal Communication, Pretorius and
74 Spenceley, 2003, op. cit.
93© Africa Institute of South Africa AFRICA INSIGHT Vol 42(2) – September 2012
Key Sustainable Tourism Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Local Socioeconomic Development | Sue Snyman and Anna Spenceley
75 Simpson, M .C., 2008. T he impac ts of
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76 Spenceley, 2003, op. cit.
77 Spenceley, 2008, op. cit.
78 Wilderness Sa faris. 2010. Wilderness an-
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79 Spenceley, 2003, op. cit., p. 111.
80 Spenceley, 2003, op. cit.
81 Buckley, R., 20 02. Public an d private part-
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83 Ibid.
84 Spenceley, 2010, op. cit.
85 Ibid.
86 Spenceley et al., 2009, op. cit.; and
Snyman, for thcoming (a), op. cit.
87 Spenceley, Ashley and De Koch, 20 09,
op. cit.
88 Spenceley, 2010, op. cit.
89 Spenceley and Goodwin, 20 07, op. cit.
... Employment opportunities for the poor are considered key to poverty reduction and an important component of PPT (Mitchell & Ashley, 2010;Snyman & Spenceley, 2012). Tourism also provides non-economic benefits such as capacity building, basic infrastructure development and services, health care and security (Mowforth & Munt, 2003;UNWTO, 2002). ...
... The factor employment of the poor in tourism enterprises revealed to be the most contributing factor in alleviating the poverty. The result is also supported by some previous studies conducted by (Mitchell & Ashley, 2010;Snyman & Spenceley, 2012) which stated that employment opportunities for the poor are considered key to poverty reduction and an important component of pro-poor tourism. It is also because of linkages of tourism with other sector of economy like transport, construction, handicrafts, manufacturing, horticulture, agriculture and many others; therefore tourism has the potential to employ the large proportion of people. ...
Poverty alleviation is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. It has become one of the major concerns for most of the developing countries including India. Tourism is considered as one of the most effective and viable tool for poverty alleviation. Therefore, it becomes critical to understand the tourism-poverty link, if tourism is to be used as a mechanism for reducing poverty. This research is intended to identify various factors of poverty alleviation through tourism; and to study the perception of inhabitants of Leh district of Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir regarding poverty alleviation through tourism and finally to suggest the strategies for pro-poor tourism development in the region. Exploratory factor analysis was done to identify various factors and confirmatory factor analysis was performed to cross validate it. Furthermore, one sample t-test was executed to study the perception of inhabitants on the identified factors. The findings of the study reveal that the tourism plays a significant role in reducing poverty and will help the strategy makers to come up with effective strategies that will promote Pro-poor tourism in study area and other similar regions.
... On the African continent, since the 1970s, most countries have experienced exponential growth in tourism [54]. This growth in visitor numbers has not necessarily always translated to economic, social or environmental benefits for host communities. ...
... This growth in visitor numbers has not necessarily always translated to economic, social or environmental benefits for host communities. Nonetheless, the Kenya Community Based Tourism Network (KECOBAT) [55] notes that the, concept of CBT is widely practiced in southern Africa and Namibia with many success stories [54]. An in-depth field study in one of Namibia's rural areas established that tourism incomes captured locally improved the livelihoods of rural households and generated linkages in the local economy [56]. ...
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Community-Based Tourism (CBT) has been pushed as one of the strategies for poverty alleviation and it might enhance the sustainability of marginalized regions and communities. However, tourism has also been argued to carry seeds for its own destruction and therefore presents a great dilemma and developmental paradox. This research sought to establish perceptions of the citizenry towards community-based tourism as a sustainable development strategy for rural regions in Kenya. The study focused on the awareness levels of CBT, and perceived contributions of CBT to the socio-economic and physical sustainability of rural regions in Kenya. A descriptive research design was adopted with a sample of 395 respondents. Data collected were collated and analyzed using SPSS 25 and Nvivo 12. Findings revealed that agriculture and other economic activities can be integrated with tourism and hospitality to deliver sustainable development in rural regions given the vast resources and attributes ideal for CBT. The majority of the respondents were noted to have a fair understanding of what CBT entails and thus calling for more capacity building, training and appropriate technical support to unlock the full potential of CBT as a sustainable development strategy. Overall results showed favorable perceptions towards CBT as a tool that can contribute to the sustainability of the socio-economic and physical environments in Kenya’s rural region.
... According to Barnes (2001), a non-consumptive wildlife-based tourism should be prioritised in the southern African context. This should be planned 171 and developed in a sustainable way Snyman & Spenceley, 2012) that benefits local communities that often bear a burden of living and practising their livelihoods with wildlife populations (Child & Barnes, 2010;Chiutsi & Saarinen, 2017). Therefore, social, economic and environmental justice are integrally linked to sustainability thinking in wildlife-based tourism (Nyirenda et al., 2020;Saarinen, 2014). ...
... As such appropriate supporting legal and regulating systems on environmental sustainability in the tourism and hospitality industry are missing (Bello, Carr & Lovelock, 2016). The evidence available also suggests that in developing countries especially in Africa, low levels of community appreciation of the environmental socioeconomic impacts affect the successful adoption of SEPs within the hotel sector (Snyman & Spenceley, 2012). It is further underscored that in most African countries SEPs innovation in the tourism industry at large, is not well documented and that lack of policy guidance is lacking (Booyens, 2012). ...
This paper discusses the governance practices in the Malawi tourism and hospitality sector and their impact on the sustainability of natural resources. The focus of this paper is the National Tourism Policy (NTP) for Malawi and how central and local government structures enforce it to promote environmental sustainability practices in hotels. The paper uses a Case Study approach whereby the Sogecoa Golden Peacock Hotel and the Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel are used to explore how the NTP has ensured sustainable environmental practices are followed. A qualitative research method was used through semi-structured interviews to secure the perceptions of key informants. Through a Grounded Theory analysis, the findings revealed that the NTP does not facilitate the enforcement of sustainable environmental practices. Furthermore, because of this shortfall in the NTP, hotels do not have an environmental management policy to promote sustainable environmental practices. This paper, therefore, recommends an urgent need to revise the NTP and introduce sustainable environmental management guidelines in order for the hotel sector to emulate. It is further recommended that hotel managers should have a thorough understanding of environmental sustainability to ensure that the industry addresses negative environmental impacts.
... Different concepts and approaches have been put forward to tackle this challenging situation in tourism of finding a balance between stakeholders and impacts in different societal spheres. These include attention to governance typologies (Hall, 2011), tourism value chain relations (Adiyia et al., 2015;Adiyia & Vanneste, 2018;Snyman & Spenceley, 2012), local backward linkages (Kirsten & Rogerson, 2002) and general relational approaches that incorporate, for example, trade associations and triple helix models of governance (Carlisle, Kunc, Jones, & Tiffin, 2013). These academic approaches have in common that they have an open multi-scalar view on tourism and sustainable development policies and focus on the interrelations between stakeholders with different levels of power and interest, policy spheres and spheres of impact. ...
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Many developing countries aim at balancing macro-level, growth-oriented economic policies with local community-based development strategies under the auspices of global governance organizations. South Africa adopts such a strategy to be competitive in the global market and, simultaneously, to alleviate domestic socio-spatial inequalities inherited from the apartheid period. Based on a qualitative case study in and around Pilanesberg National Park, this paper assesses whether this seemingly contradictory policy combination elicits the empowerment of traditionally marginalized actors. We use an institutional approach to evaluating sustainable development policy. Results of a policy perception analysis indicate that the substantive aspects of South Africa’s policies are widely acknowledged in the Pilanesberg area. The problem rests with the procedural aspects of how to deal with the shared responsibility of stakeholders with different interests and levels of authority. The paper concludes that power can be meaningfully shifted to community stakeholders only when the investments of global and national-level players are redirected towards establishing a system of procedures to solve local-level disparities in skills and power between the ‘jointly responsible’ actors. These disparities currently result in deadlocks regarding local sustainable development in the Pilanesberg area, despite promising multi-level policies implemented in the post-apartheid era to avoid such situations.
... This positive change is not limited to within the tourism industry and can also be observed in industries relevant to tourism (e.g. Snyman and Spenceley, 2012). Furthermore, tourism can also protect existing employment opportunities in the tourism and relevant industries and can provide young people and/or women in traditional societies with employment opportunities . ...
Main Description Heritage is a growing area of both tourism and study, with World Heritage Site designations increasing year-on-year. This book reviews the important interrelations between the industry, local communities and conservation work, bringing together the various opportunities and challenges for different destinations. World Heritage status is a strong marketing brand, and proper heritage management and effective conservation are vital, but this tourism must also be developed and managed appropriately if it is to benefit a site. As many sites are located in residential areas, their interaction with the local community must also be carefully considered. This book: - Reviews new areas of development such as Historic Urban Landscapes, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Memory of the World and Global Geoparks. - Includes global case studies to relate theory to practice. - Covers a worldwide industry of over 1,000 cultural and natural heritage sites. An important read for academics, researchers and students of heritage studies, cultural studies and tourism, this book is also a useful resource for professionals working in conservation, cultural and natural heritage management.
... This positive change is not limited to within the tourism industry and can also be observed in industries relevant to tourism (e.g. Snyman and Spenceley, 2012). Furthermore, tourism can also protect existing employment opportunities in the tourism and relevant industries (Sharpley and Sharpley, 1997), and can provide young people and/or women in traditional societies with employment opportunities (Jimura, 2007a). ...
This book addresses diverse themes surrounding World Heritage sites (WHSs), including tourism development, tourism marketing, heritage management, conservation activities, local communities, as well as economic, sociocultural and environmental impacts. Also covered are contemporary developments in and around the concept of WHSs. The book has 10 chapters and a subject index.
... Ensuring the growth of tourism is managed in a sustainable way is critical for Botswana to continue to offer a pristine tourism product that incorporates world-class attractions. On the positive side, growth in tourism expenditure should lead to increased job creation and business development, but conversely more development will lead to increased land-use pressure from construction, natural resource use, as well as increased waste production (Snyman & Spenceley, 2012). Therefore, it is important to include sustainability at the centre of any tourism development strategy. ...
Retaining revenue generated by tourism within a local economy is an important issue in tourism development, especially in developing countries where tourism is used as a tool for development. This research aims to quantify the value and proportion of tourism expenditure retained in this destination in order to inform national-level decision-making. It applies a value chain analysis (VCA) approach through semi-structured questionnaires with 117 stakeholders in Kasane, Botswana. The VCA demonstrates that the total gross revenue generation of the tourism industry within Kasane was USD 39.5 million in 2014. Excursions and transport generated nearly half of this revenue (USD 19.2 million; 49%), followed by accommodation and food and beverages, at around USD 10 million each (26%). Of the gross revenue accrued, USD 14.5 million (37%) remained in the local economy (defined by the Botswana Tourism Organisation as a 50 km radius surrounding Kasane) in the form of local goods (production) and services (wages). Recommendations for interventions that could enhance the local retention of revenue from tourism in Kasane are presented.
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This paper uses a qualitative meta-synthesis approach and suggests an appropriate methodological approach to study environmental sustainability practices in the hotel sector in Malawi. Twenty selected articles published between 2007 and 2017 were purposefully selected for a meta-synthesis because of their scope. The results from this meta-synthesis indicate that the majority of researchers from developed countries use a quantitative method to establish the status of environmental sustainability practices in the hotel sector. The results also revealed that some researchers from developing countries used both quantitative and qualitative (mixed method) methods, whilst others preferred the use of qualitative. This paper, therefore, proposes a seven-stage version of the Grounded Theory methodology for studying environmental sustainability practices in the hotel sector in Malawi and Sub-Saharan Africa at large. 401 Lameck Zetu Khonje is a Hotelier/Academician, an employee of the Mzuzu University in Malawi working in the Faculty of Tourism, Hospitality and Management studies as a Lecturer in the Department of Hospitality Management. His special research interest is in understanding how the hospitality industry and the physical environment interlink within different ecosystems and how the outcomes of these relationships influence policy and practice. Mulala Danny Simatele is an Associate Professor in Environmental Management and Sustainability Science. He is particularly interested in understanding how human and physical environmental processes interlink within different ecosystems and how the outcomes of these relationships influence policy outcomes. His research focus revolves within the following broad areas: Climate change adaptation, Urban and Peri-urban Transformations, Rural and Urban Agriculture, Environment and Migration, Water resource management and Community-based Development and Institution Building in sub-Saharan Africa and Asian countries. Regis Musavengane is a Geographer interested whose interests are in political economy, political ecology, community development, tourism geographies, responsible tourism, and environmental policy. He has published in regional and International development, environmental and tourism journals. He has taught and undertook research at a number of Higher Tertiary institutions in
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The word participation may be common parlance, but research on how to make the concept work in real life is scarce. For this reason, Policy Hits the Ground: Participation and Equity in Environmental Policy-making by Dr. Aaron Zazueta, director of the Latin America program in WRI's Center for International Development and Environment, should excite debate. Leaving theory largely to others, Dr. Zazueta writes from experience-his own and that of other Latin American development practitioners. He also breaks rank with activists who idolize the wisdom of "the people" and recognizes that oppression does not in itself confer moral superiority: the villagers, peasants, indigenous communities, or women who gain a seat at the table under the rubric of "participation" are sometimes right and sometimes wrong when it comes to solving environmental problems. The key is to create a process that gathers, recognizes, and tests the views and ideas of all competing interests and creates an opportunity to build understanding. Drawing on his experience as a facilitator of participatory policy-making in many Latin American countries, Dr. Zazueta shows how to take advantage of the differing strengths of each negotiating party. At the outset, he acknowledges inherent difficulties. In any planning exercise, for instance, each party has its own interests at heart and thus tends to see another group's gain as its own loss. Dr. Zazueta details ways to diffuse tensions and help opposing parties find common ground. He also shows how facilitators can often forestall wrong turns if they have thought through the exercise ahead of time-even though the outcome of any truly participatory process cannot be foretold.
Technical Report
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Opportunity Study guidelines are used by the TPRP to guide the identification of suitable projects that can be implemented over five year periods. These interventions facilitate the expansion of tourism supply chains, and enable local people to become involved in the tourism sector. This document is the core manual in a series intended to provide skills to assist local people to identify opportunities presented by the tourism sector and to take advantage of them.
Technical Report
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The focus of this paper is to examine how changing institutional arrangements and policies affect poor people's livelihoods and access to natural resources. It addresses tourism in South Africa, and the growing role of the private sector in natural resource management. Six different scenarios are analysed to demonstrate how government, NGOs, the private sector and rural communities have influenced rural livelihoods through tourism practices. The scenarios have been illustrated with seventeen case studies from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The driving forces for initiatives and the degree to which the poor have influenced them are explored through the case studies, as are the costs, benefits and constraints of the scenarios.
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This paper investigates livelihoods of communities around Mikumi, Tanzania's fourth largest national park, and impacts of living close to the park. People are very poor in the area, also beyond the areas close to the park. The average income is around 0.45 USD per person per day. People report food shortages in two out of the last five years. Even “the least poor group” earns no more than an average of 2 USD/cap and day.Main incomes (80%) are derived from agriculture and non-farm incomes. There is a differential diversification pattern where poor people depend more on selling their labour within agriculture, while the less poor group depends more on non-farm activities. Environmental (forest and natural resources) incomes are low, compared to what is typically found in such rural areas, making up 6.3% of total incomes. Living close to the park incurs costs in the range of 2 to 20% of total household incomes, mainly through wildlife raiding crops and livestock; the scale depending on village location.The study documents that attempts to reduce tensions between local people and the park through outreach activities yield negligible results compared to the costs people incur, and do little to reduce the conflict-ridden park-people relations.Although the park may not necessarily be a “poverty trap”, it must be seen as yet another and substantial constraint for people securing their livelihoods. Increasing land scarcity, population densities, income inequalities all imply mounting pressures that aggravate resource use conflicts. Furthermore, the present situation with external political interference in selection and implementation of outreach activities is not conducive to progress. Given that 24% of Tanzania consists of wildlife protected areas, much more focused, rights-based and location specific approaches should be developed to reduce losses, and to secure local people's rights to income from the parks and due compensation for accrued costs. People should have formal rights to access park resources that can be subjected to controlled, sustainable harvesting. The present park management culture in terms of attitudes, values and norms needs to change through training in how to work with local people. Such interventions would help reduce conflict levels.
Community tourism has grown significantly in popularity, often as part of community conservation strategies aiming to reduce poverty and increase biodiversity conservation. Indeed, the approach has been elevated to such an extent that it has become a ‘privileged solution’, in that debate about the merits and demerits of community tourism is limited in official discourses. There is a rising number of practitioners and academics, however, warning of a high failure rate and stressing the need for more rigorous analysis and accountability.This chapter introduces international developments, reviews critical appraisals and reflects on empirical findings in Zambia that are relevant elsewhere in the world where donors are funding community tourism projects. The author asserts that experiences in Zambia and other destinations have demonstrated that community tourism is challenging, complex and precarious to develop and that it will only be a useful development tool if lessons learnt are assimilated – particularly the need for a market orientation. It is also important to acknowledge that community tourism is likely to remain on the margins of the industry and therefore it has limited potential in terms of pro-poor tourism development. The challenge is to mainstream approaches to harness tourism for poverty reduction so practitioners must respond to emerging opportunities in policy with more dynamic approaches and demonstrated results.
Tourism can reduce poverty in developing countries. But tourism growth is not universally inclusive of the poor. Moreover our understanding of how tourism affects the poor is largely based on partial and superficial analysis. Researchers from different disciplines and practitioners with different objectives generally work in splendid isolation from each other and from the mainstream of development economics. Detailed economic analysis remains buried and is rarely challenged for policy implications, let alone poverty implications. This book provides an overview of a broad array of analyses of how tourism affects poor people. First, it pulls these together to identify three main pathways by which impacts on poverty can be delivered. Second, it reviews the empirical evidence on the scale and significance of impacts within each pathway, exploring where comparisons can be made and where they cannot. Finally, it considers the different methods used to gather and collect data, and implications for how we should work in the future. Tourism and Poverty Reduction draws on international evidence throughout, but provides particular insights into Africa and other less developed countries. It makes a major contribution to a more coherent, cross-disciplinary and sensitive approach to the tourism-poverty debate. © Jonathan Mitchell and Caroline Ashley 2010. All rights reserved.
art A Theoretical. Ecotourism management: an overview. Ecotourism assessment: an overview. Practical management tools and approaches for resource protection and assessment. Indicators and risk management for Ecotourism destinations. Ecotourism certification criteria and procedures. The Polar Framework and its operation in an Ecotourism setting. Ecotourism policy. Part B Case Studies. Managing Ecotourism in the island microstate: the case of Dominica. The case for an Ecotourism peace park and cultural heritage corridor in the Korean de-militarised zone. The state of nature tourism in Texas: sustaining the rural agricultural family enterprise. Canadian aboriginal Ecotourism in the North. The marketing of Ecotourism: a focus on Chile. The management of Ecotourism destination through policies of investment. The case of the Peneda-Geres National Park, Portugal. Ecotourism planning considerations in Eastern Central Europe. Responsible nature-based tourism planning in South Africa and the commercialisation of Kruger National Park. The development of responsible tourism guidelines for South Africa. Ecotourism in Thailand and Kenya, a private sector perspective. Ecotourism planning and destination management in Vietnam. An Ecotourism development plan for the Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia.
Responsible Tourism presents a wide variety of valuable lessons learned in responsible tourism initiatives in Southern Africa that many tourism practitioners can use in their efforts to make the tourism sector work for the poor and for the environment. Dr Harsh Varma, Director, Development Assistance Department, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) For those interested in how tourism can assist in the economic and social development of societies in need, Responsible Tourism effectively integrates scales and types of knowledge to present an informative, stimulating perspective. It will be on my bookshelf. Steve McCool, Professor Emeritus, Wildland Recreation Management, University of Montana Responsible tourism is one of the most significant contemporary issues for tourism scholars and practitioners alike. This useful and clearly written collection of new research demonstrates the innovations in responsible tourism occurring within southern Africa and provides lessons for international research and practice. Professor Christian Rogerson, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa Conservation efforts are often seen to be in conflict with local livelihoods and resource use - the park versus people debate. Responsible tourism and Ecotourism are often invoked as a third way that serve both ends. Yet do they actually work in practice? This volume delves deep into practice in southern Africa, the hotbed of innovation on the issue, and provides a comprehensive, evidence-based examination of what works and what fails, using a wealth of information from scholars and practitioners working in the region. This book opens with an overview of the issues, looks at what sustainable and responsible tourism are in practice and how they may contribute to conservation, poverty alleviation and local economic development. Part 1 examines policies and institutional activities in responsible tourism by governments, donor agencies and nongovernmental organizations, and addresses the market for responsible travel. Part 2 considers responsible nature-based tourism, the economics of wildlife tourism and ecotourism, transfrontier conservation areas, ecological impacts of tourism and other issues. Part 3 looks at more detailed case studies of community-based tourism projects, and highlights the reasons for successes and failures in this sector. The book concludes with a synthesis of the key findings with implications for policy, destination planning, business management, and future private sector and donor interventions. Published with the Southern African Sustainable Use Specialist Group (SASUSG) of IUCN
Ecotourism serves as the principal revenue source for many private protected areas worldwide. We surveyed seven ecotourism-based private protected areas in South Africa to identify key attributes and challenges. The findings include: 1) the top three attractions to private reserves were the wildlife, the scenery, and the high quality accommodation / service; 2) establishing a reserve was a costly undertaking, requiring an average initial outlay of USD $4.6 million; 3) in changing from farming to wildlife-based ecotourism, employment numbers increased by a factor of 3.5, the average value of wages paid per reserve increased by a factor of 20, and the average annual salary more than quintupled from $715 to $4,064 per employee; 4) the reserves were contributing in excess of $11.3 million to the regional economy per year; 5) reserves were making a substantial contribution to biodiversity conservation; and 6) lack of support by government entities was the most pressing challenge facing reserve owners. The analysis points to ecotourism as an economically and ecologically desirable alternative to other land uses, while also highlighting the need for governments to provide assistance and support for both the establishment and management of private reserves.