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Implications of a changing climate on the future of wildlife tourism and tourism-dependent communities in Kenya

  • 1 January, 2015
  • Wageningen University, Environmental Systems Analysis
  • prof. dr R Leemans
  • dr SB Amelung

Wildlife tourism is a major economic activity in Kenya, contributing 10.5% of GDP, accounting for 18.3% of total exports and 9.2% of total employment in 2014 (World Travel & Tourim Council 2015). Wildlife tourism is based on the possibility of encountering free ranging animals in their natural habitats. The sustained suitability of these natural habitats is thus of utmost importance. A major determinant of habitat suitability is climate, including both climate variability and climate change. Climate change can thus have major implications for wildlife tourism in Kenya. Yet, these implications have only been poorly researched to date. This study aims to address this knowledge gap by 1) analysing the climate-wildlife-tourism nexus and 2) assessing stakeholders’ responses to changes in this nexus. The study will employ a multi-level approach. Nationally, changes in the spatial and temporal patterns of wildlife tourism are explored, identifying hotspots of change. Two of these hotspots are then singled out for detailed local analyses of stakeholder perspectives on adaptation options. The study will provide up-to-date, locally applicable and empirically rooted knowledge and climate change impacts, climate change adaptation and the relevant socio-ecological systems on tourism at various geographical scales.

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Esther Gitonga

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