Acta Universitatis Danubius. Œconomica, Vol 13, No 6 (2017)

Assessing Nature Conservation and Tourism Development Effectiveness towards Local Economic Development in South Africa: Nuanced by the Perceptions of Local Communities?

Ikechukwu Onyekwere Ezeuduji, Joyce M. Mdiniso, Antonia Thandi Nzama

Abstract


Tourism development around protected areas is perceived a major development opportunity for rural sub-Saharan Africa. Objective: This study was conducted in South Africa to investigate how local communities living around a nature reserve, uKhahlamba-Drakensburg Park (a World Heritage Site) in KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, evaluate the effectiveness of nature conservation and tourism development towards their local economy. Approach: Quantitative data were collected using a structured respondent-completed questionnaire from simple randomly selected respondents. Descriptive and bivariate data analyses yielded information used to address research objective. Result: Local community members who were surveyed declare that the 'development strategy' seems to be the main issue adversely affecting community participation in conservation practices and tourism development around uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. Implication: It is therefore recommended that nature conservation and tourism development strategies in rural South Africa align with the sustainable rural development critical success factors outlined in this paper. Value: This will support optimising local economic development successes, especially in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

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