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Differences in Perceptions of Communication, Tourism Benefits, and Management Issues in a Protected Area of Rural Kenya

Abstract

With record-breaking tourist visits in Kenya in 2005–2006, communities near the country’s renowned protected areas must undertake or revisit planning efforts to conserve and enhance the region’s natural, social, and economic resources. This article examines the differences between two stakeholder groups in the Samburu region of central Kenya: (1) protected area leadership and staff; and (2) members of the communities adjacent to the protected areas. Based on the results and analysis of 30 in-depth interviews, the authors identify differences between protected area staff and their community members regarding perceptions about communication between the two groups, and the economic benefits of tourism. The different stakeholders agreed, however, about challenges related to equitable distribution of tourism-based employment and revenue. The results indicate a need to reach consensus about what constitutes sufficient communication between national reserves and their community, and to what extent tourism-related revenue and employment should be distributed within the region. A discussion of the potential role of indicators and standards to make such decisions is presented.

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Acknowledgments

The researchers wish to thank the following organizations and agencies for providing the staff in-kind and financial resources for this project: Samburu County County, Buffalo Springs County Council, Samburu National Reserve, Buffalo Springs National Reserve, African Wildlife Foundation, and the United States Forest Service International Programs Office.

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Correspondence to Brett L. Bruyere.

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Bruyere, B.L., Beh, A.W. & Lelengula, G. Differences in Perceptions of Communication, Tourism Benefits, and Management Issues in a Protected Area of Rural Kenya. Environmental Management 43, 49–59 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-008-9190-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-008-9190-7

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