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Assessing the impacts of tourism in Musanze District, Rwanda

Kanyangira, John (2009) Assessing the impacts of tourism in Musanze District, Rwanda.

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Abstract:Tourism is one of the fastest expanding markets. It has received much attention in developing world and impoverished regions around the world. It has been observed in literature that examining tourists’ movements and revenue earnings generated by tourists tells us nothing about the economic and social impacts on destination area; as a result various techniques were applied to avoid personal and methodological biases. Musanze district is one of Rwanda’s leading tourist destination areas, mainly because of the gorillas and its scenic beauty. Tourism has stimulated the development of a variety of allied infrastructures and facilities such as hotels, roads and other socioeconomic facilities in Musanze district. Through its backward linkage, banks and retail business have been established to facilitate the development of tourism. Tourism in Musanze district also provides employment opportunities to the local communities and it has been significantly acted as a source of market to the local produce in the area. Tourism has been promoted and adopted by Rwanda Office of Tourism and national parks as a strategy for funding the conservation of protected areas, while at the same time contributing to the socioeconomic development of the host communities. As a path to diversify and develop country’s economy, Rwanda’s government has implemented the policy to develop tourism through collaboration of communities surrounding the park, hence the development of socioeconomic infrastructures in the wards neighbouring the park is a result of government’s intervention. This study sought to assess the impacts of tourism across Musanze district where it is being promoted as a national strategy. The study is intended to find out the capacity of tourism to generate benefits to both local communities and the district and thus its contribution to economic development. Given the exploratory nature of this research, qualitative and quantitative analysis was used. Interviews, observations and secondary sources were the main vehicles of inquiry employed in this study. Cross-sectional regression, spatial autocorrelation and policy impact evaluation techniques were used to limit the personal and methodological biases. Cross-sectional results indicated that, annual income of the ward in Musanze district highly depends on the number of hotels, distance to the tourism resource (park), paved roads and other tourism related activities. However, spatial autocorrelation results indicated that tourism impacts are clustered in the wards neighbouring Virunga national Park. Policy impact evaluation results indicated that what people benefit from tourism is a result of NGOs and government’s intervention. It is observed that government’s activities to develop tourism are clustered in the wards neighbouring the park. Given the success of the policy, the findings indicated that there are undesirable outcome of the policy such as community displacement of the indigenous communities from the park and conflicts between park managers and local communities. The overall findings indicated that tourism has played a significant role in community and district development, and government intervention carried out to develop tourism has been achieving its intended goals. It has been effective in improving the lives of the communities in Musanze Key words: Impacts of tourism, cross-sectional regression, spatial autocorrelation, policy impact evaluation, Musanze district
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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