Linking Ape Tourism and Poverty Alleviation in Africa

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Dilys Roe of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) presents about the potential of great ape tourism as a means for alleviating poverty in Africa. She gave this presentation at the ‘Linking Great Ape Conservation with Poverty Alleviation’ workshop hosted by CIFOR in January 2012.

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  • Tourism is an important consequence of many species conservation programmes. People want to see rare, famous and charismatic species. Can bring in lots of revenue through jobs and chance to sell goods, and can be community-level benefits through revenue sharing and PPP. Benefits can be significant in certain places like Bwindi, but don’t tend to reach the poorest people. Various other associated costs.Other ICDP approaches more likely at ape sites. Various approaches – things like protein or woodfuel alternatives are common at ape sites. Can be positive for poverty, but endlessly discussed and criticised.
  • SACOLA lodge generated over $100,000 in its first year. But equates to $10 per person in surrounding area. Conservation just can’t deal with this level of poverty
  • Linking Ape Tourism and Poverty Alleviation in Africa

    1. 1. Linking Ape Tourism and Poverty Alleviation in Africa Issues and Opportunities Dilys Roe International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
    2. 2. Sources: www.propoortourism.info
    3. 3. Approaches to linking conservationand poverty at ape sites• From changing the behaviour/attitudes of communities towards conservation (education, outreach) to changing the practice of conservation (community- based natural resource management [CBNRM], community conserved areas)• From finding alternatives to resources of conservation concern (alternative protein/energy sources) to generating benefits from resources of concern (tourism, payments for ecosystem services [PES])
    4. 4. Specific examples:• Job creation – formal (tourism) and informal (SMEs)• Income generation (revenue sharing, PES, CBNRM, market access)• Primary health and family planning• Subsistence needs – bushmeat alternatives, firewood alternatives/fuel efficient stoves• Addressing human-wildlife conflict• Skills/capacity development• Governance and empowerment• Ape tourism by far the most common approach
    5. 5. Nature and scale of ape tourismin Africa Four species of great ape in Africa: bonobo, chimpanzee, western gorilla, eastern gorilla Distributed across 21 countries Majority of countries not major tourism destinations
    6. 6. African Great Apes Distribution
    7. 7. Ape attractions Most significant in countries with mountain gorillas – Rwanda and Uganda (and Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]) Slower development of western gorilla tourism but some in Gabon, Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic (Nigeria) Chimpanzees – mainly Tanzania and Uganda but also starting in Rwanda and in west and central Africa Bonobos – just beginning in DRC
    8. 8. Limitations Political stability – for international tourists Transport connections Pricing – for local tourists Accessibility of ape habitats Presence of habituated groups
    9. 9. Some major impacts Ape tourism a clear contribution to the national economy of some countries – notably Rwanda and Uganda – and a prominent feature of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers Impacts of poor people less clear
    10. 10. Poverty impacts+ Employment+ Small enterprise development+ Revenue sharing+ Tourism infrastructure and services – transport, communications, health+/- Maintenance of natural resource base- Increased law enforcement restricting livelihoods in short term- Elite capture of benefits- Increased human-wildlife conflict
    11. 11. Interventions that ―work‖ Building assets and income: 1) employment; 2) selling local goods and services; 3) increasing access to land and resources; 4) increasing productivity of existing resources Providing or improving infrastructure and services: to reduce environmental health risks (e.g. sanitation) or mitigate impact of risks (e.g. healthcare, safety nets etc.) Securing safety nets: social protection crucial — protects people from shocks and reduces vulnerability, helps conserve and accumulate assets, helps transform economic and social relations Increasing voice: within national political structures and own locality e.g. through CBOs or elected local authorities
    12. 12. How does ape tourism compare?Intervention ExampleBuilding assets Maintenance/restoration/enhancement of natural assetand income base; jobs; revenue sharing; SME developmentImproving Maintenance/restoration/enhancement of ―pro-poor‖infrastructure ecosystem services; extension of conservation/tourismand services infrastructure/services to local communities; conservation-linked health initiativesSecuring safety Maintenance/restoration/enhancement of biodiversity-nets based healthcare, wild foods, etc; regular cash from revenue shares; compensation for wildlife damageIncreasing voice Community involvement in tourism enterprises; clarification/strengthening of land and resource rights
    13. 13. Factors affecting success1) Scale of poverty: difficult to have meaningful impact in areas with huge populations of poor people2) Commercial viability of tourism: many ape habitats are necessarily remote and undeveloped. Without roads, airports, services (and a receptive market) tourism is not a viable option3) Local capacity to engage: many local people lack the necessary skills and time to engage effectively in tourism4) Conservation/tourism organisation capacity: many organisations lack the necessary development skills to ensure pro-poor impacts and business skills to develop a successful tourism enterprise
    14. 14. Making tourism more ―Pro-poor‖ Recognise different levels of wealth within local communities and target the poorer segments Address potential negative impacts of strictly enforced protected areas Develop more transparent and equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms that generate realistic benefits Target training and employment strategies at poorer people Purchase local goods and services (for lodges, guides etc.) Encourage visitor use of local services (home stays, handicrafts, transportation) Provide opportunities for tourists to make philanthropic donations
    15. 15. Overall conclusions In many African ape habitats (remote, inaccessible forest) tourism is not a viable option Where tourism is viable, jobs and revenue have reduced poverty in some places for some people Tourism provides a number of overlooked local benefits which contribute to alleviating poverty Tourism is not without its costs, and these must be recognised Much can be done to make tourism more pro-poor

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