Monday, September 20, 2010

The effects of tourism development on rural livelihoods in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

The article assesses the impact of the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) program on communities around the Okavango Delta  in Botswana. CBNRM assumes that if rural communities derive benefits from natural resources, they will be obliged to use such resources sustainably. Using the sustainable livelihoods framework, this study analyzes the effects of tourism development through CBNRM on rural livelihoods at Khwai, Sankoyo and Mababe in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, using primary and secondary data sources. Results of long-term surveys and in-depth interviews indicate that the three communities have forgone traditional livelihood activities such as hunting and gathering, livestock and crop farming to participate in tourism through CBNRM. Livelihoods in these villages have been improved as a result. Basic needs such as shelter, employment and income and social services like water supply systems, transportation, scholarships and payment of funeral expenses are now provided to community members and funded with income from CBNRM. Social capital has been built up in order to agree, manage and develop the CBNRM process. These results show that tourism development in these villages is achieving its goal of improved livelihoods, contradicting claims that community development projects are failing to achieve rural development. The article appears in Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol 18, No.5, 2010.

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