An Assessment of Tourism Development in Kafue National Park-North

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Mbewe, Agness
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The University of Zambia
Tourism has been among the most neglected sectors in Zambia, yet elsewhere, it is the major foreign exchange earner. Zambia has not realised the full benefits which tourism brings. Consequently, in 1996, the government developed a new policy on economic diversification to include tourism. The new policy created new market research on tourism for effective marketing to increase tourist flow to Zambia. But very little research work had addressed tourism development of the country. Hence this study focussed on the Kafue National Park- North (KNP-North) which is situated in central-western Zambia covering an area of 13 340km². The park provides sanctuary for 158 species of mammals, 515 of birds including the 9 Game Management Areas, 70 of reptiles, 36 of amphibian and 58 fish species. It is also classified as „Zambia‟s Important Bird Area (IBA). The objectives of the study were to: (i) assess the infrastructure development, (ii) establish the relationship between infrastructure development and tourism development, (iii) determine the amount of investment going in the park; and (iv) assess the perceptions and attitudes of various stakeholders on tourism development in the Kafue National Park-North. Tourist Area Cycle Evolution Theory was used to explain how tourism development is being attained in the park. Data was collected through interviews, questionnaires and observations. The target sample of 122 respondents included lodge/safari operators, tourists, local communities, and 28 Key Informants from funding agencies included Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Zambia Wildlife Authority, World Bank and Norway officials. From marketing agencies included Zambia National Tourist Board (ZNTB) currently known as Zambia Tourist Board (ZTB), KNP Promotion, Kafue Trust and Open Africa. Analysis of collected data revealed that tourism infrastructure in the Kafue National Park- North was not developed, particularly, the access roads, airstrips and viewing loops which were in poor condition. The study found that there was scarcity of supporting facilities and services such as curio shops which contributed to the low number of visitors in the park. It was also found that inadequate funding for the Park partly contributed to poor state of infrastructure. Similarly, Zambia has not done extensive marketing of tourism product abroad and locally such that there was scanty information on the Park. This together with the lack of publications on the park has led to low inflow of tourists especially the domestic tourists. Additionally, it was also found that the perceptions and attitudes of different stakeholders were to a large extent negative because of lack of sensitization on what the park provides as a tourist attraction. Overall, it is concluded that, despite its attractiveness and abundant wildlife there is limited tourism development in the Kafue National-North due to poor infrastructure and scanty information circulation about the Park.
Tourism--Environmental aspects--Kafue National Park-North--Zambia , Tourism--Kafue National Park-North--Zambia