The value of avitourism for conservation and job creation - an analysis from South Africa

Biggs, Duan, Turpie, J, Fabricius, C, and Spenceley, A (2011) The value of avitourism for conservation and job creation - an analysis from South Africa. Conservation and Society, 9 (1). pp. 80-90.

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Abstract

Tourism directed at bird watching (avitourism) has become increasingly popular. In many lower and middle-income countries, including South Africa, avitourism is being applied in an effort to simultaneously achieve community development and biodiversity conservation. This paper presents the results of an exploratory investigation of 11 community-based avitourism projects in South Africa. Conservation benefits were measured with the Threat Reduction Assessment tool. We calculated the Gamma (G) correlation coefficient to explore the relationship between conservation and income benefits and project characteristics. The projects were successful at reducing threats to sites where conservation was an explicit objective (n=11, G=0.609, P=0.03). The level of income benefits did not correlate with success in reducing threats to conservation. Once involved in avitourism projects, the average monthly income earned by local bird guides increased from USD 114 to USD 362. The extent of income benefits was positively related to the extent of support to projects (n=10, G=0.714, P=0.01). Participants in the projects reported substantive capacity building and empowerment benefits. Success in delivering conservation, income and empowerment benefits was challenged by the local guide's limited previous exposure to tourism and business, the guide's lack of self assurance, cultural differences, and a requirement for sustained mentorship and support to overcome these barriers. We conclude that with adequate long-term support, avitourism projects can be a cost-effective way to create jobs and deliver conservation and human development benefits.

Item ID: 21259
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: nature-based tourism, ecotourism, avitourism, community-based conservation, poverty alleviation, job creation, skills development, bird watching, tour guides
Additional Information:

Copyright Briggs et al. 2011. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and distribution of the article, provided the original work is cited.

ISSN: 0972-4923
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2012 04:19
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140216 Tourism Economics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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