Socio-economic effects of ecotourism on host communities living around Kyambura wildlife reserve in Rubirizi District
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This report is about the contribution of ecotourism to host local communities living around Kyambura wildlife reserve. The objectives were to identify the tourist attractions and facilities in and around Kyambura wildlife reserve, examine the economic contributions of ecotourism to the host communities and examine how ecotourism activities have socially contributed to the host communities living around Kyambura wildlife reserve. Data were collected using questionnaire and interviews with 120 respondents from the villages around Kyambura wildlife reserve including Katunguru, Kyambura and Kichwamba. Results show that the tourist attractions around and within Kyambura wildlife reserve include culture, the gorge, Kazinga channel, chimpanzees, forests and river Kyambura. The dominant tourism activities noticed that are conducted on the resources include nature walks, birding watching, sight-seeing at the deck of Kyambura gorge and chimpanzee tracking. The results further indicate the current economic and social contributions local communities get from existence of ecotourism around Kyambura wildlife reserve. And these are positive and negative contributions such as employment opportunities, resource use, revenue sharing, and infrastructure development, increased costs of living, increased social vices like prostitution and civic pride within the host communities. It is concluded that ecotourism activities in Kyambura wildlife reserve have led to the establishment of Hotels and Lodges such as Baboon Safari Lodge, Kyambura Game Park View, Volcanoes Safari Lodge, establishment of craft shops and also providing market for local community products. In addition, ecotourism development activities around Kyambura wildlife reserve have a great contribution on the local community livelihoods because of the benefits that come along with the ecotourism activities such as, infrastructure development, revenue sharing and resource use. It is recommended that there is a need for government intervention in conserving the resources within Kyambura wildlife reserve such chimpanzees, the gorge in a bid to increase ecotourism development that leads to improved standards of living of the local people living around the reserve.