Contribution of Gold-ecorated Lodges to Poverty Reduction among Local Residents in Maasai Mara and Amboseli Protected Areas, KenyaAriya G1* and Momanyi S2
- *Corresponding Author:
- Ariya G
Department of Tourism and Tour Operations Management
University of Eldoret, Eldoret, Kenya
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: September 04, 2015; Accepted Date: September 14, 2015; Published Date: September 22, 2015
Citation: Ariya G, Momanyi S (2015) Contribution of Gold-ecorated Lodges to Poverty Reduction among Local Residents in Maasai Mara and Amboseli Protected Areas, Kenya. J Tourism Hospit 4:172. doi:10.4172/2167-0269.1000172
Copyright: © 2015 Ariya G, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Poverty is the most pressing challenge facing humankind in the 21st century. In response, various options are being pursued to address it; key among them being ecotourism. While some scholars emphasize the potential of ecotourism in alleviating poverty, existing statistics reveal that majority of people living adjacent to wildlife protected areas continue to suffer from the absence of fundamental opportunities to lead decent lives. This study, therefore, was conducted around Basecamp Maasai Mara and Elephant Pepper Camp in Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) as well as Campi ya Kanzi in Amboseli National Park (ANP), Kenya to investigate the contribution of gold-ecorated lodges to poverty reduction. Specifically, the study assessed eco-lodges’ contribution towards local community access to financial resources, basic needs, governance, empowerment and equality as a measure of their contribution to poverty reduction. The study adopted survey design using structured questionnaires and focus group discussion in data collection. The target population included households adjacent to the three eco-lodges. Through simple random sampling, a sample size of 384 households was generated and participated in the questionnaire survey. To generate focus group, purposive sampling was used to recruit key informants who included area chiefs, managers of the eco-lodges, members of cultural manyattas and chairmen of group ranches for interviews and focus group discussions. Majority of the local community indicated that eco-lodges had greatly contributed to education and healthcare. However, majority of the respondents indicated that eco-lodges had not addressed access to financial resources like access to credit and supply of locally produced agricultural produce; inadequate and skewed financial sharing mechanisms; limited access, ownership and control of their once communal land; lack of technical and legal know-how; access to clean water and adequate shelter. Moreover, lack of partnerships with other stakeholders, inequality in sharing ecotourism benefits, discrimination against women, disunity and mistrust, and lack of government support were identified as the main constraints hindering poverty reduction efforts. The study recommends a need for an ecotourism policy that will not only establish fair and sustainable economic partnerships between private investors and local community, but also ensure community cohesion and enhanced socio-economic welfare. Kenya’s National eco-labeling regulators should also put more emphasis on socio-economic benefits of such eco-lodges to the local community besides environmental conservation efforts they foster.