Visitor Segments and Attitudes Toward Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: A Case Study in Zambia

Authors

  • Brijesh Thapa

Keywords:

Tourists, attitudes, sustainable tourism, Zambia, national parks, domestic visitors

Abstract

Parks and protected areas in Zambia are valuable resources for conservation, tourism, and economic development for the local and national economy. The government intends to increase arrivals in National Parks as well as diversify with culture-based products to ensure locals are involved and benefit from tourism. Overall, the reliance on park-based tourism is largely due to strong intersectoral linkages and associated multiplier effects. However, given the growth policy, it is important to maintain and further enhance tourism with a sustainable long-term strategy for nature and wildlife-based destinations. Hence, it is essential to monitor and manage visitor flows and experience in parks and protected areas. This provides an opportunity to examine domestic and international visitors in Zambia. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to comparatively assess Zambia’s domestic and international visitor demographic profiles, use frequency in National Parks, and attitudes toward sustainable tourism in protected areas. Sampling was conducted on site via intercept survey in several key locations in Lusaka, Livingstone, and Kafue National Park (N=2,395). Variations in demographics between visitor segments were identified with respect to gender, age, household size and annual income. Victoria Falls was the most visited by both segments while the lesser-known parks received very limited visitation. Visitors were well traveled in the east and southern African regions, and key differences in attitudes toward sustainable tourism in protected areas were identified and discussed between visitor segments. Results will contribute to further understanding of the demand sector, and can also assist in the formulation of sustainable tourism development objectives for parks and protected areas in Zambia.