Factors influencing local community participation and ecotourism sustainability in Mt. Elgon National Park
This research examined the level at which the communities surrounding Mt. Elgon national park participate in ecotourism and its sustainability and how they can benefit from it. The problem examined was that most people surrounding the park still want to depend on the park for survival in ways such as farming, grazing, and hunting though it has been gazeted for tourism. The overall objective was to establish the factors influencing community participation in ecotourism and sustainability in Mt. Elgon national park. The specific objectives were (i) To examine the factors hindering community participation on eco-tourism and sustainability, (ii)To establish the effects of community participation on eco-tourism and sustainability, (iii) To identify solutions to improve on the community participation on eco-tourism and sustainability Data were collected using questionnaires and interviewing methods. The questionnaires contained both open and close ended questions and were given to the management staff of Mt. Elgon national park while the interview guide consisted the questions which were asked to the local community members. It was found that community members are not sensitized on the operations of the national park and how they benefit when they are to participate in ecotourism and its sustainability and that community members feel left out on ecotourism and its sustainability, they are not satisfied with how the national park operates and they feel left out and feel they don’t benefit from ecotourism and its sustainability forcing them to encroach on the national par resources and also they fail to involve themselves in the participation of ecotourism sustainability. Therefore, from the research findings, the researcher recommends that Community members should be sensitized on the operations, management and sustainability of ecotourism so as they can participate freely and voluntarily and that government of Uganda through ministry of tourism and inequities should formulate bye laws guarding the fauna and flora for its continuous sustainability and also guarding the environment.