Global change, Tourism and Community Impacts in Kalahari, Botswana

Authors: Jarkko Saarinen*, University of Oulu
Topics: Tourism Geography, Global Change, Africa
Keywords: tourism, communities, climate change, perceptions, Botswana
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Botswana is characterized by arid conditions with the climate being generally hot and dry, with sparse and unpredictable rainfall. Due to ongoing environmental change and economic transition the basis of livelihoods are changing in the country. Especially in rural areas, the tourism industry has been introduced and increasingly perceived by policy makers as a prominent avenue for development and a tool for economic diversification and poverty alleviation. The highlighted role of tourism has been based a synergistic relation between the growth of tourism and a strong policy emphasis on community-based and locally beneficial tourism development initiatives in Botswana. Based on this, the industry is seen as a beneficial activity for destination communities. However, good intentions may not always materialize in practice. Instead, the tourism industry and its growth ideology has also resulted in negative changes and challenges for communities. This paper overviews the tourism policy context in Botswana. More specifically, the paper focuses on tourism and community relations in the Kgalagadi (Kalahari) North District villages (Kang, Hukuntsi, Tshane, Lehututu and Lokgwabe) in the context of transforming rurality and environmental change. These villages are situated close to Trans-Kalahari Highway running through Botswana linking up the country with Namibia and South Africa. Although resident of these villages are close to tourism operations their personal role and perceived and actual benefits from tourism remain abstract and relatively marginal. Based on this, future governance, policy and research needs are highlighted in relation to a quest for sustainability in tourism development in rural community contexts.

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