Local community perceptions of environment conservation and tourism development
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The study investigated the Local community perceptions of environment conservation and tourism development, a Case study of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The study sought to address the following specific objectives that is, to investigate the level of community involvement in the conservation of environment and tourism development, to assess local community perceptions of environmental conservation and tourism development in Katunguru village, to examine the benefits of environmental conservation and tourism development to the local community. To achieve the above objectives, the researcher collected both primary and secondary data. The study design was cross-sectional based on quantitative approach focusing on descriptive and inferential statistics. A sample of 60 respondents was chosen from the population drawn from the community, who were selected using purposive sampling and simple random technique and data collection instruments were questionnaires and interviews. The study found out that, the perception of local community members and the park management staff towards environment conservation and tourism development depended on the benefit of the park towards the community members. People who benefit from Queen Elizabeth National Park are few thus this creates a negative perception from the local community members towards the Park. Furthermore the study established that there are issues, which need to be addressed to increase involvement of local people in conservation of the environment and improve their perception towards tourism development and conservation. In order to increase community benefits from conservation of the environment and tourism development, Park management should educate the local people on other ways of raising income using the existence of the park such as development of an eco-lodges, cultural centers, museums and other eco-projects that can be run by the community.