Understanding the impact of tourism revenue distribution on communities living in Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP), Mozambique.
Matusse, Ricardina M. Guivala.
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The Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP) is one of the two marine National Parks in Mozambique. It was established to protect marine and terrestrial resources and to provide a basis for social and economic develop of the communities associated with the park. However, after four decades of successful tourist-attracting operation, the communities are still struggling. Poverty, lack of diversified livelihoods, poor soil fertility, lack of education, unemployment and lack of income generation continue. These lead to a reduction of the very natural resources the park was established to protect. They lead also to less sustainable and more vulnerable community livelihoods and a decline in community development. This study, which is the first of its kind on Bazaruto Island, evaluated tourism revenue distribution on communities through assessing its social, economic and conservation impacts on the island. The study also investigated how tourism revenue is distributed and managed and the role of the various stakeholders. The study reveals that tourism revenue distribution has not yet demonstrated substantial tangible impacts on communities. Limited improvement was found in three areas: education, micro-finance for projects and community conservation. However, on the whole, the communities remain poor and jobless; their homes are still in poor condition and subject to weather damage. The study suggests that there are two key factors that have limited progress on Bazaruto Island. Communities have spent their tourism revenue on providing public goods (infrastructure and education) which are government responsibilities. Further, is a practical tension between conservation and livelihoods which is related to the use of tourism revenue for social infrastructure instead of expanding livelihoods. The primary message of the park is about conservation, but there is no real effort to create alternative livelihoods; communities are forced to set aside conservation in favor of basic survival. There is an urgent need to investigate alternative livelihoods for the communities and to formulate policy and programs to ensure that while the goal of conservation is met, communities also see substantial improvements to their livelihoods and general quality of life.
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