Planning for sustainable tourism development in the Lake Victoria shore region of Uganda : a physical environment planning approach

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This study examined whether sustainable tourism development could be achieved in the Lake Victoria shore region of southern Uganda, based on the physical environment indicators of sustainable tourism. This arose out of the observation that tourism in this region was developing in an unplanned manner which was likely to be environmentally destructive. The study was conducted as a cross-sectional descriptive survey involving an analytical research design. Its objectives include: to identify the spatial and temporal characteristics of the tourism sites; to assess their performance relative to the physical environment indicators of sustainable tourism; to examine the factors explaining the performance of the sites; and to develop a planning approach that will help attain sustainable tourism development. Data were collected using survey, non-survey and geo-spatial methods. The survey methods included interviews and questionnaires, which were administered to planning and environment officials, local residents and visitors selected using various sample methods. Documentary analysis, field observation, remote sensing and experimentation were among the nonsurvey and geo-spatial methods used. Data were analysed using qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques, which included documentary analysis, statistical techniques involving, chi square, data reduction, ANOVA, and correlation and regression analysis. Results indicate that lakeshore tourism sites are increasing in both number and size, which is gradually resulting in a clustered spatial patterning, especially in urban areas. Sites are receiving an increasing number of visitors, mainly nationals and day visitors. Apart from conservation areas, the contribution of the sites to nature conservation is concluded to be minimal and their management of solid and sewage waste, water quality and use intensity generally poor. Moreover, tourism planning and development control was found to either be limited or lacking, a situation that has resulted in unregulated tourism development. This poses a significant threat, not only to the fragile physical environment of the lakeshore region, but also to the future of lakeshore tourism itself. Analysis of the results show that there are significant relationships between spatial distribution of sites, their characteristics, site performance and factors explaining the performance and planning for sustainable tourism development in the region. Further analysis indicates that each of these variables may significantly predict planning, especially at site and local government level. Accordingly, a linear regression model-based planning approach is developed. This study explains how the model, when rooted in incremental planning theory, can be applied in order to plan for sustainable tourism in the lakeshore region. It highlights the variables and the sequence in which tourism planning efforts can be applied. The study concludes that, although this planning approach may not provide a panacea to the achievement of sustainable tourism development in the lakeshore region, it represents a valuable contribution towards the understanding of sustainable tourism planning. With the identification of critical tourism planning intervention points, the Lake Victoria shore region may be able to develop into a major tourism destination that is environmentally sustainable.

Includes abstract.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 209-224).