Sustainability indicators for monitoring tourism route development in Africa

Viljoen, Francois (2007-12)

Thesis (MA (Geography and Environmental Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


Tourism routes or networks have been identified as a tool for local economic development and could also contribute towards social development of communities, and conservation of the natural environment. In order to determine whether the development of routes have the desired effects on the economy, society and the environment, a set of sustainability indicators (SIs) needs to be developed to measure the possible effects. The aim of this study is to identify appropriate SIs that could be applied to tourism route development in Africa; to identify a suitable method of identifying route-specific indicators; and to test the suitability of these indicators in two case studies, namely the Caprivi Wetlands Paradise route and the Barotse Trails Route. The study area comprises part of the proposed Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area and includes the south-western part of Zambia and the Caprivi region in north-eastern Namibia. The objectives of the study are to determine the elements of a sustainable tourism route from existing literature; to identify a framework for selecting both generic and route-specific SIs; to select appropriate indicators for tourism route development in the African context; and to do a baseline assessment for the two case study routes to determine the suitability of the selected methods and indicators. Data were collected by making use of structured interviews and focus groups. Collected data on individual businesses are combined and presented collectively for each route by making use of sustainability assessment maps (SAMs). In addition, a method of identifying route-specific indicators was selected which makes use of the pressure-state-response (PSR) framework previously used for identifying environmental indicators. The results of the study show that the identified indicators provide a means of determining overall sustainability of routes or networks based on the principle of the triple bottom line. SAMs are a good way of presenting data to stakeholders in a simplified way. The results also indicate that the PSR framework can be adequately adapted to identify indicators in conjunction with communities in a participative manner. Recommendations are made for improving the overall sustainability of routes or networks and for increasing their network functionality. Recommendations include the possibility of investigating the use of geographic information systems in mapping SIs. KEYWORDS: Sustainability indicators; tourism routes; monitoring; pressure-state-response; sustainability assessment maps; tourism networks; route development.

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