Assessing the Possible Local Community Benefits from Ecotourism Operations in Kenya

Valerie Marshall

The purpose of this research is to identify ways in which ecotourism operations can benefit local communities in Kenya. In recent years, sustainable development and ecotourism in developing nations have become the new focus of these nations’ attempts to preserve their resources and increase their economic stability. However, when promoting the preservation of lands in developing nations, planners must take into account the local communities who base their livelihoods and economies on natural resources. Kenya has had the longest running ecotourism operations in all of Africa, but its past is riddled with government corruption and acquisition of indigenous land, which has hurt the amount of benefits that communities can derive from wildlife protection. This paper will illustrate the range of Kenyan ecotourism operations (government, non-government, and private) and the nature of their relationship with the local people. It will also show how these local communities currently benefit from ecotourism. Considering that Kenya has several setbacks to local community benefits because it is a developing nation, a comparison with a strong ecotourism organization in a developed nation is necessary to discuss how Kenyan ecotourism can improve its local community benefits.

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