Impacts of Ecotourism Activities on Sustainable Livelihood of the Communities Living on Wasini Island, Kwale County, Kenya
Impacts of Ecotourism Activities on Sustainable Livelihood of the Communities Living on Wasini Island, Kwale County, Kenya,
3 July 2021,
Ecotourism is a unique form of tourism that can contribute to the livelihood of the local people while minding about conservation. Although ecotourism has the potential and capacity of improving the livelihood of the local community, but it may not be the case always. The study was conducted on Wasini Island in Kwale County, to assess the impacts of ecotourism on the livelihoods of the communities living on Wasini Island to establish the relationship between ecotourism initiatives and the sustainable livelihood activities undertaken by communities living on Wasini Island, to assess the extent to which ecotourism initiatives contribute to the assets of the communities living on Wasini Island and to examine the relationship between ecotourism initiatives and the entitlements of the communities living on Wasini Island. The study employed a mixed method research approach and descriptive research design, where the units of analysis were the community residing on Wasini Island and stakeholders operating on the Island. The sample size of the study was 320 respondents who were interviewed using questionnaires, 15 interviewees and a focus group discussion with eight members. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the respondents for interviews and focus group discussion while systematic random sampling technique was used to select respondents for questionnaire surveys. Descriptive statistics was used during data analysis where multiple regression was used to establish the relationship between variables. Chi square was used to measure the goodness of fit of the variables. Analysis of variance was conducted between ecotourism initiatives as the dependent variable and financial, physical, natural, human, social assets as independent variables, where the results showed that there was significant difference (F = 1.303, p = 0.262). Lack of finance (23.8%) and cultural exploitation (23.1%) are regarded as the main challenges in regard to ecotourism initiatives at Wasini Island. From the results, it was clear that training (53.1%) was regarded as the best solution to overcome the challenges of ecotourism initiatives. In conclusion, ecotourism contributed to the development of sustainable livelihood of the communities living on Wasini Island. From the study findings, it was recommended that there should be more community participation in ecotourism, community training and governmental support. From the findings on human assets, the respondents mentioned that EI contributed to knowledge (SA - 61.3%), skill up grading (A - 61.3%), human resource (A – 40.3%), creativity (A - 40.9%), adaptive strategies (A - 35.3%) and health aspects (N – 29.1%). In addition on physical assets, the respondents said that EI contributed to building constructions (SA – 48.4%), roads (A - 40%), machinery improvement (SD – 28.4%), improvement of crops and livestock (SD - 30.9%) and schools (A – 34.7%). Furthermore on natural assets, the respondents reiterated that EI contributed to soil protection (SA – 45%), natural environment (A – 49.4%), water protection (A – 34.4%), air protection (A – 33.1%) and forest/vegetation protection (N – 29.4%). Additionally on social assets, EI contributed to good governance structure (SA – 37.2%), decision-making power (A – 48.4%), stronger community groups (N – 36.9%), societal structure (N – 34.1%), cultural preservation (A – 31.3%) and robust society (N – 40%). Finally, on financial assets, the respondents observed that EI contributed to more salaries and wages (SA – 45.9%), local living standards (A – 56.6%), economy (A– 36.3%, N – 36.3%) income (A – 39.7%), savings (N – 36.9%) and economic empowerment (N – 38.1%).