Impacts of Ecotourism Activities on Sustainable Livelihood of the Communities Living on Wasini Island, Kwale County, Kenya
Ecotourism is a unique type of tourism that can help local people earn a living while also being environmentally conscious. Although ecotourism has the potential and capacity to improve the local community’s life, this is not always the case. The research was carried out on Wasini Island in Kwale County to analyse the effects of ecotourism on the lives of Wasini Island residents and to create a link between ecotourism initiatives and sustainable livelihood activities carried out by Wasini Island residents. living on Wasini Island, as well as to investigate the relationship between ecotourism initiatives and the rights of the Wasini Island communities. The study used a descriptive research design and a mixed method research technique, with the community on Wasini Island and stakeholders operating on the island as the units of analysis. The study had a sample size of 320 respondents who were interviewed utilising questionnaires, 15 interviews, and an eight-member focus group discussion. Respondents for interviews and focus groups were chosen using a purposeful selection technique, whereas respondents for questionnaire surveys were chosen using a systematic random sample technique. During data analysis, descriptive statistics were used to establish the link between variables, and multiple regression was utilised to establish the relationship between variables. The goodness of fit of the variables was measured using the Chi square. Ecotourism initiatives were used as the dependent variable, with financial, physical, natural, human, and social assets as the independent factors, and the results revealed a significant difference (F = 1.303, p = 0.262). The primary problems for ecotourism activities on Wasini Island are a lack of funds (23.8 percent) and cultural exploitation (23.1 percent). Training (53.1 percent) was viewed as the best option to tackle the problems of ecotourism projects, according to the findings. Finally, ecotourism has aided the building of a sustainable livelihood for the Wasini Island residents. According to the conclusions of the study, increased community participation in ecotourism, community training, and government support should be encouraged. EI contributed to knowledge (SA – 61.3 percent ), skill upgrading (A – 61.3 percent ), human resource (A – 40.3 percent ), creativity (A – 40.9 percent ), adaptive methods (A – 35.3 percent ), and health aspects (N – 29.1 percent ) according to the findings on human assets. Aside from physical assets, respondents indicated EI helped with building construction (SA – 48.4 percent), roads (A – 40 percent), machinery improvements (SD – 28.4 percent), agriculture and livestock enhancement (SD – 30.9 percent), and schools (A – 34.7 percent). In terms of natural assets, respondents stated that EI contributed to soil protection (SA – 45%), natural environment protection (A – 49.4%), water protection (A – 34.4%), air protection (A – 33.1%), and forest/vegetation protection (N – 29.4%). EI also contributed to good governance structure (SA – 37.2 percent), decision-making power (A – 48.4 percent), stronger community groups (N – 36.9%), societal structure (N – 34.1 percent), cultural preservation (A – 31.3 percent), and a robust society (N – 40 percent) when it came to social assets. Finally, in terms of financial assets, respondents noted that EI led to higher salaries and wages (SA – 45.9%), local living conditions (A – 56.6%), the economy (A – 36.3 percent, N – 36.3 percent), income (A – 39.7%), savings (N – 36.9%), and economic empowerment (N – 38.1%).
Jairus Nyongesa Koki
Tourism and Hospitality Department, School of Business and Economics, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, P.O.Box 210-60401, Bondo, Kenya.
Wildlife Species Expert, WWF, Tanzania.
Senior Lecturer, Tourism Management Department, Moi University, Kenya.