Hindered growth: The case of community base tourism in and around Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe
Albert Maruta and Dumsile Hlengwa
In Zimbabwe little, if any, research, has examined why community based tourism (CBT) has been constrained in spite of the much hyped national tourism growth agenda. Yet globally, and more-so in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) CBT is highly esteemed as one form of sustainable tourism appropriate for poor and remote rural areas. In such areas it has been credited for fostering alternative development, empowerment and self-reliance of impoverished local communities. Therefore, fundamentally, understanding why local people in and around Save Valley Conservancy, a successful tourism destination, are constrained in adopting CBT ventures as alternative livelihoods will be helpful to development planners. Ironically, the local people continue to eke a living from ancient, out-dated and unproductive rain-fed agriculture in a semi-arid agro-ecological region.
In this study qualitative research method was used to unpack the inherent hindrances which have stifled the adoption of CBT in spite of the apparent rich wildlife tourism spearheaded by safari operators in the Save Valley Conservancy (SVC). The research results exposed predominantly non-economic constraints, key among them being poor social relations, human-animal conflict aggravated by collapsed perimeter game fence, and land tenure uncertainties. This paper recommends that inclusive community based organisations (CBOs) should be established to act as internal facilitators and organised power brokers in the region who can collaborate with powerful and highly resourced external facilitators such as government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in enabling the local community residents of Save Valley to participate in decision making on community development issues.