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Title: Tourism, conservation and livelihoods : the impacts of gorilla tracking at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Author: Sandbrook, Christopher Guy
ISNI:       0000 0001 3550 1583
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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Integrated Conservation and Development (ICD) initiatives that seek to incorporate human needs into protected area management have become common conservation practice. A popular ICD tool is nature-based tourism, which should deliver funding for conservation and benefits to local people, thereby encouraging them to support sustainable resource management. This "ecotourism" is attractive in theory, but its performance has been understudied in practice. In particular, little is known about how benefits and costs of tourism are distributed within host communities, how tourism influences attitudes to natural resources, the environmental impacts of tourism, and how tourists differ in their impacts. This thesis investigates all of these issues, using gorilla-tracking at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) in Uganda as a case study. The results show that whilst tourism at BINP resulted in measurable improvements in community development indicators, there were severe inequalities in the distribution of benefits between individuals according to age, gender, education, wealth, location and social networks. Tourism benefits generally outweighed tourism costs, encouraging positive attitudes to the industry. However, many people did not feel compensated for costs of conservation, because benefits were inappropriate or because they were not seen as linked to conservation. Tourism paid for park management, but tourists were found to represent a greater disease threat to gorillas than previously realised because encounters were illegally close and some tourists were unwell. Comparing the performance of tourists, older women were found to leave the most money in the local economy, whereas younger tourists posed the greatest disease threat to gorillas. Overall, tourism at BINP delivered surprisingly well on some of the promises of ecotourism. Nonetheless, considerable conflicts, risks and inequalities were identified. The thesis concludes by presenting a series of recommendations designed to improve the performance of tourism at BINP, and by discussing wider theoretical implications of the study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available