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Tourism as an engine for local economic development


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This presentation by Dr Dilys Roe, principal researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), gives an overview of the contribution tourism makes to Uganda’s economy and then focuses on its potential for contributing to local economic development, using the example of a project supporting small enterprises around Bwindi forest.

The presentation was made as part of the Ugandan Aga Khan Development Network Lecture Series – aimed predominantly at the diplomatic and Ugandan government community – held at the Serena Hotel, Kampala on 2 April 2019.

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Tourism as an engine for local economic development

  1. 1. 1 Author name Date THE AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK LECTURE SERIES 2nd April 2019 DILYS ROE Tourism as an engine for local economic development
  2. 2. 2 Tourism to Africa – key stats • In 2017 the tourism sector grew faster in Africa than any other region of the world, and at double the pace of the global economy. • During the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, Africa was the only region in the world that continued to experience growth in the tourism industry. • The African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates that, in 2015, Africa received 62.5 million visitors, contributed 9.1 million direct jobs in travel and tourism sectors, and generated $39.2 billion in international tourism receipts • Arrivals increased from nearly 7 million in 1990 to over 26 million in 2000 and 62 million in 2017 with SSA receiving the lions share
  3. 3. 3 Room for growth? • Despite impressive statistics, Africa’s tourism industry remains relatively underdeveloped. • Of the 1.2 billion international travellers in 2016 only 5% arrived in Africa. • Only 10 African countries receive $1 billion or more per year in tourism revenues, • African Union Development Agency (prev NEPAD) recognises tourism development as a priority sector and its Tourism Action Plan aims to make Africa the destination of the 21st century. • African Union Agenda 2063 puts tourism as a central objective • Green Economy credentials: tourism one of a few “smokestack free” development sectors • Opportunities for extensive linkages to multiple sectors • Women make up 80% of workforce
  4. 4. 4 What type of growth? • WTTC: The new continental mantra is ‘growth, but not at all costs’. • Botswana Tourism Organisation: fees should be directed to local communities eg a tourism levy or tax • Sisa Ntshona (CEO South African Tourism): “when people are included they protect; when people are excluded they destroy.” • Brookings Institute 2018: “Supporting a basis for tourism also requires gaining support from the local community, which makes visitors feel welcome and contributes to the authentic experience that many travellers are looking for. “
  5. 5. 5 Tourism in Uganda • Vision 2040 – tourism a central pillar for economic development • 2011 Uganda was the 4th highest recipient of tourism FDI ($165 million compared to South Africa ($6.1 billion), Kenya ($404 million) and Ghana ($270 million) (Brookings Institute). • Total receipts still low at $0.77bn in 2016 compared to other African destinations (Brookings) • But still significant - UBOS: 10% GDP, biggest export earnings and biggest source of ForEx • Giants Club Conservation and Tourism Investment Forum 2017. • UBOS: 1.8 million tourists in 2018
  6. 6. 6 Tourism, gorillas and communities IGCP estimated value of gorilla tourism in Uganda at up to US$34.3 million in late 1990s Estimated by OECD as potential of US$874 million at full capacity based on 2009 habituated gorilla numbers.
  7. 7. 7 Limited local benefits
  8. 8. 8 Our pilot initiative Funded by: UK Darwin Initiative Implemented by: IIED Responsible Tourism Partnership IGCP ITFC/MUST BMCT Golden Bees Kwetu Afrika Lets Go Travel
  9. 9. 9 Origins in 2012 research project • Conservation “unfair” • Costs outweigh benefits • Little revenue and few jobs from tourism • Tourists come to see gorillas only
  10. 10. 10 Key questions 1. Does the current non-gorilla tourism offer at Bwindi satisfy tourists and tourism businesses? 2. Can capacity of poor people living close to the Bwindi forest be developed to improve existing products and services and/or to develop new ones? 3. Will improved products and services result in increased sales to tourists, tour operators and lodges? 4. Will increased sales of local tourism services and products affect household incomes and, if so, what difference will this make to local livelihoods? 5. Will increased income from tourism improve local attitudes towards national park conservation?
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  13. 13. 13 Our interventions • 14 enterprises – crafts, bee keeping, market gardening, guiding • 4 professional trainers • 400+ individuals trained over 12 month period • Improvements to existing enterprises and development of new
  14. 14. 14 Baskets – Kwetu Afrika
  15. 15. 15 Honey – Golden Bees
  16. 16. 16 Guiding – USAGA, RTP
  17. 17. 17 Fresh produce
  18. 18. 18 Impacts - sales • Numbers of tourists visiting, and purchasing from, the enterprises we worked with increased by a factor of 3-10 • More lodges started to buy local produce from the market gardening initiatives, and many of those already buying bought more or more regularly
  19. 19. 19 Impacts - livelihoods • Most (64%) of the beneficiaries of the project believed that their income had increased • Income increased on a monthly basis both at the enterprise level and to individual members of the enterprises • Income from sales was used for solar lighting, chairs, school fees and flip flops! • Diverse veg for lodges improved local food and nutrition • Successful enterprises instilled sense of pride and worth
  20. 20. 20 Impacts – conservation • More individuals - women, men, Batwa, Bakiga - described their relationship with the park as positive after the project compared to before • Conversely. fewer individuals described their relationship with the park as negative after the project compared to before. • More individuals that had been directly involved in the project described their relationship with the park as positive compared to others within their communities who had not been involved • Before the project, 38% of project participants believed living near the park positively influenced their ability to lead a good life. After the project this had increased to 59%. • The main reason given was a recognition that the park attracts tourists and tourists mean sales of products and services.
  21. 21. 21 “I have been able to install solar to my house and children can now read at night” “After selling honey and vegetables to the park staff and lodges I managed to pay school fees in time” “Before the project, we would get two or four tourists per month, but now we get about 30 tourists coming to visit our enterprise every month. Each time they come, at least 20 will buy” “When I hear that tourists are coming to Bwindi I feel good because I will be sure of the market of my baskets. I weave above 10 baskets to pay school fees for my children I cemented my house. I also buy food for my family.” THANK YOU!