Conservation for Sustainable Development? Ecotourism in ...· Ecotourism in Tanzania A thesis presented

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  • Conservation for Sustainable Development? Ecotourism in Tanzania

    A thesis presented by

    Naabia Gyasiwa Ofosu-Amaah

    to

    The Committee on Degrees in Environmental Science and Public Policy

    in partial fulfillment of the requirements

    for a degree with honors of Bachelor of Arts

    Harvard College Cambridge, Massachusetts

    March 2007

  • i

    Acknowledgements I would like to thank the following people and organizations for their support in this project. For funding: The Harvard College Research Program, The Harvard University Center for the Environment, and The Carr Foundation. For supporting my research efforts at Harvard: Professor William Clark, Mary Anne Baumgartner, Greg Carr, Professor Sarah Jansen, Professor Heidi Gengenbach, Nancy Dickson, Kate Emans, Juan Carlos Vargas-Moreno, George Clark, Gernot Wagner, Lorraine Maffeo, Sam Bjork, Dr. Agnes Kiss, and the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College. For allowing me to interview them: Aloyce Nzuki, Rosada Msoma, Corbett Bishop, Petro Ahham, Fred Nelson, James Kahuranaga, Peter Makutian, Francis Kone, Philemon K. Lemorog, Bruno Kawasange, Jason King, Joseph Kessy, Jo Anderson, Thad Peterson, Benjamin Andulege, Blandina Cheche, Bakari Binamu, Herry Christopher, Olais Mokolo, Godfrey Jacob, Elias Ngunat, Mr. Elikana, and Sanguyan Oledorop. For providing guidance and leads to sources for my research project in Tanzania: Ladisy Chengula, Jane Kibassa, Fatma Naaman, Professor Pius Yanda, Sarah Kariuki, Elizabeth Mrema, Elizabeth Quashie-Idun, James Quashie-Idun, Honorable Felix Mrema, Joyce Msuya, Shubi Mukurasi, Bruno Kawasange, Frank, Mr. Mulungwana, Carola and Wolff Hauk, Glen Wiser, Zoe Chafe, William Wright, Cynthia Perera, Andrew Murphy, Kate Davenport, Emily Kisamo, and Les Carlisle. For taking care of me in Tanzania: Norma Theobalds, Sir Dennis Byron, Bahati, Ihpraim, Julie, Judy OConnor, Sharon Abu, Bassirou Sarr and Family, Jonas Karulama, Leah Pillsbury, Sarah Cheche, Gloria Cheche, Paulsen Mrina, Mercy Msuya, Besa Mongella, and Madame Gertrude (Mama) Mongella. And to Mom, Dad, Nii Amaah, Jess, Jen, Liz, Amy, Ashley, Jenny, Oyin, Nneka, Michelle, Karie, Alison, Joe, Andrew, Mike, and all of my friends and family for their constant support.

  • Preface

    Throughout my studies in Environmental Science and Public Policy, I have

    become extremely interested in the policies that govern the ways in which humans

    interact with their natural environments. I have been able to combine this study of

    environmental science and policy with my interest in international development by

    looking at various options for sustainable development. The field of sustainable

    development, as the World Commission on Environment and Development describes it,

    deals with methods to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of

    future generations to meet their own needs.1 I have come across many methods for

    sustainable development in my studies, but I was particularly intrigued by a presentation

    at the Center for International Development Undergraduate Associate Program at the

    Kennedy School of Government given by Greg Carr. Mr. Carr spoke about the

    restoration of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique and the efforts that the Carr

    Foundation was making to include ecotourism in this area. He explained how the

    Foundation had begun to educate local communities about plans for the new park, and

    about how they could be employed there. He also mentioned that revenues from tourism

    activities in the park would go to local communities for development purposes. This

    concept, through which local communities benefit from the conservation of natural

    resources, seemed to combine my interests in environmental science, public policy, and

    sustainable international development.

    1 World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1987) 43.

  • Conservation for Sustainable Development?

    iv

    After this introduction to the concept of ecotourism, I became interested to learn

    how the theory translated into practice in order to determine whether ecotourism is

    successful. After studying ecotourism in my courses, I realized that it was essential to

    view ecotourism in the field. Tanzania was one of the first places that I considered, due

    to the plethora of nature-based tourism activities found in this country as well as its

    relatively stable political and social environment. I conducted further library research

    and traveled to Tanzania for five weeks to view ecotourism first-hand.

    During my travels, I began to wonder whether ecotourism caused more harm than

    good. If ecotourism is supposed to be used as a sustainable development tool, then the

    local communities and governments involved should receive a significant portion of the

    revenues generated, and projects should create minimal cultural and environmental

    damage. Yet, by traveling to Tanzania by air, I wondered whether I had paid too much

    money to non-Tanzanian companies and had used too much environmentally harmful jet

    fuel to make the trip worthwhile for the Tanzanians who were implementing the projects

    or for achieving environmental protection. I became aware of my ecological footprint, as

    I traveled, again by air, from Dar Es Salaam to Arusha and back, and as I drove over 300

    miles in sport-utility-vehicles to visit ecotourism sites. I wondered as I spoke with

    villagers near these sites whether my presence and my interview questions were

    damaging their culture. I observed the elementary school classrooms and other facilities

    that were built with the revenues from these projects, and I wondered whether the

    potential harm caused by my trip, and the trips of all who embark on ecotourism

    excursions, were a worthy tradeoff for these benefits. I began to question the feasibility

    of achieving sustainable development goals through ecotourism. The driving question of

  • Preface

    v

    this thesis became: is ecotourism worthwhile for those involved in the planning and

    implementation of projects?

    Throughout my time in Tanzania, I repeatedly encountered the slogan of the

    Tanzania National Parks Association (TANAPA): Conservation for Sustainable

    Development. This organization manages Tanzanias fourteen national parks and

    therefore, oversees the bulk of nature-based tourism in Tanzania. The fact that this is

    their slogan is revealing about the way in which Tanzanian tourism is perceived and

    marketed. Through my field research, I aimed to perform careful analysis of whether

    these perceptions of Tanzanias nature-based tourism do indeed manifest themselves in

    actual tourism projects. This thesis reflects my desire to understand the concept of

    ecotourism, to observe how it has been applied in Tanzania, and to determine whether

    ecotourism projects can achieve their desired goals of conservation for sustainable

    development.

  • vii

    Table of Contents Acknowledgements.............................................................................................................. i Preface................................................................................................................................ iii Table of Contents.............................................................................................................. vii List of Acronyms ............................................................................................................... ix List of Figures, Tables, Maps, and Boxes........................................................................... x Introduction....................................................................................................................... 1 Chapter 1: Ecotourism as a Contested Global Concept................................................ 7

    Introduction..................................................................................................................... 7 The Origins of Environmentalism .................................................................................. 7 The Modern Environmental Movement.......................................................................... 9 Economic Development................................................................................................ 11 Sustainable Development.............................................................................................. 13 The Tourism Industry ................................................................................................... 15 The Emergence of and Initial Resistance to Ecotourism ........................................... 17 Evolving Definitions of Ecotourism ............................................................................. 19

    Chapter 2: Ecotourism in Tanzania the National Context ...................................... 25

    Introduction................................................................................................................... 25 History of Environment and Natural Resource Use ..................................................... 26 Tanzanias Tourism Sector ........................................................................................... 33 Tanzanias Ecotourism............................................................................................... 38 Types of Ecotourism in Tanzania ..................................

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