Kenya’s Nature Based Tourist Industry and Sustainable Tourism

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The most common definition of sustainable development is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising. The ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987)." In essence, for sustainable development to occur, there must be some sort of trade-off between the aspirations of the present and those of the future. Successful management of resources is the cornerstone of sustainable development. Sustainable development is especially important for nature-based tourism because it is entirely dependent on an ecological resource that is typically non-renewable and irreplaceable.Once the environmental resource has developed to the point where it is no longer attractive to prospective tourists, the entire economy of the dependent host community will collapse.

The maximum amount of positive development that can occur is determined by the carrying capacity. The carrying capacity is the saturation point where any further development will result in the degeneration of future resources. All nature-based tourism locations have limited ecological, aesthetic, and social carrying capacities. When the number of visitors begins to have a negative impact on the wildlife and environment, the ecological carrying capacity is reached (Whelan, p. 11).The aesthetic carrying capacity is reached when tourists encounter so many other tourists that the intrinsic value of the beauty of the environment is marred (Whelan, p. 11). The social carrying capacity is reached when the number of tourists in relation to the host population increases to the point where there is increasing unfriendliness and hostility directed towards the tourists (Jackson, p. 90). When a tourist destination reaches the saturation point of any of the three carrying capacities, a decrease in the revenue generated by tourism will result.

The most important point in devising an optimal tourism development policy is not to let tourism grow to the extent or in the form that it brings about its own demise. It is essential to determine and monitor the carrying capacity of a tourist location. Unfortunately, very few areas in the developing world have identified the carrying capacity or determined how to avoid exceeding the carrying capacity. This is especially true for fragile ecosystems where the carrying capacity can dramatically change from season to season and year to year (Whelan, p. 31).

Obtaining sustainable development is difficult, especially for developing countries. Widespread poverty and a general lack of financial resources make it difficult for poor countries to voluntarily curb their growth. This is because often times, sacrificing economic growth results in starvation and/or rampant suffering. Also, a community's lack of financial resources can limit its ability to determine its economic direction. Also, because businesses in developing countries are often owned by outside sources, the locals have little or no input in business decisions. Furthermore, developing countries are often plagued with political instability and governmental corruption, which makes it difficult to enact laws controlling economic growth. Also, it is highly likely that by the time a developing country realizes that its economic growth is unhealthy, it is too late to turn around because of its overdependence on the tourism industry.

According to the Tourism Development Magic Pentagon-Pyramid, created by Hansruedi Müller, there are five variables that must be balanced to ensure sustainability. The five variables are: economic health, subjective wellbeing of the locals, unspoiled nature, protection of resources, healthy culture, and optimum guest satisfaction. Each of the variables is equal in value. According to Muller, for sustainable tourism to occur, there must be absolute harmony among the variables. This would mean maximizing the positive relationships among all the factors while keeping the negative repercussions to a minimum (France, p. 30).

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Kenya's Nature Based Tourist Industry and Sustainable Tourism. (2023, Mar 07). Retrieved July 20, 2024 , from
https://studydriver.com/kenyas-nature-based-tourist-industry-and-sustainable-tourism/

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