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Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia, Kenya Assessing the Socio-economic Impact and Conservation Attitudes

Master Thesis Submitted to the faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Bern Tobias Ramser 2007 Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Urs Wiesmann Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) Institute of Geography, University of Bern

Author contact address: Tobias Ramser Bridelstrasse 35 CH-3008 Bern Photographs: Tobias Ramser


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List of Figures List of Tables Acronyms Preface Summary

i ii iii v vi

1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5

Tourism and development Ecotourism Goals of the study Methods used to study the impact of ecotourism in Laikipia Summary: General research questions

1 2 3 4 5



Physical environment Social environment In Kenya In Laikipia District 2.1.1 2.1.2

7 9


Economics and tourism

11 13

2.2.1 2.2.2


Summary: regional conditions of action


3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5

The concept of ecotourism: literature review Assessment of ecotourisms socio-economic impact The significance of host communities and conservation in ecotourism
Human-wildlife conflict Economic impact of ecotourism in Laikipia Sustainable development Livelihoods Aspects of regional economy Stakeholder approach

15 17 18

3.3.1 3.4.1 3.5.1 3.5.2 3.5.3 3.5.4

Ecotourism in Laikipia Theoretical foundation: relevant concepts and theories


23 24 26 28

3.6 3.7

Indicators, research questions and hypotheses Summary: theoretical implications

28 32

4.1 4.2

Case study research Operationalisation
Socio-economic impacts case centred analysis Conservation attitudes stakeholder analysis Field procedure and data collection Reflection on alternative Research Designs

33 35
35 36

4.2.1 4.2.2


Description of data collection and instruments

38 40

4.3.1 4.3.2

4.4 4.5

Description of data analysis Selection and characterisation of study sites

Il Ngwesi Lodge Ol Gaboli Bandas Koija Starbeds Borana Lodge Sosian Ranch House Description of studied communities

41 41
42 43 43 44 44 45

4.5.1 4.5.2 4.5.3 4.5.4 4.5.5 4.5.6


Summary: research methodologies




Economic impact
Financial key figures Multiplier effects Profit leakage Community income and benefits Examining community benefits Livelihood impact Reasonable employment income Equality of working opportunities Stability of commodity prices Diversity of economic activities 5.1.1 5.1.2 5.1.3

49 51 52


Local community impact

54 56 59

5.2.1 5.2.2 5.2.3


Socio-economic sustainability

62 62 63 64

5.3.1 5.3.2 5.3.3 5.3.4


Summary: socio-economic impact of ecotourism



6.1 6.2 Stakeholder perspectives on ecotourism principles Stakeholder perspectives on benefits and conservation
Perceptions of benefit distribution Perceptions of decision-making in conservation Benefits from wildlife in the communities

67 69
69 71

6.2.1 6.2.2


Community benefits and conservation attitudes




Link between community benefits and conservation



Summary: stakeholder analysis of conservation attitudes



Resuming the research questions and discussion of the hypotheses
Economic impact Local livelihood impact Conservation attitudes 7.1.1 7.1.2 7.1.3

79 80 82

7.2 7.3 7.4

General conclusions and findings on tourism in Laikipia Future prospects Main findings

82 84 86



9.1 9.2 9.3

Appendix 1: Additional Tables and Figures Appendix 2: Characterisation of respondents Appendix 3: Questionnaires

93 95 98

Figure 1. Map of Kenya showing Laikipia District. 8 Figure 2. Map of Laikipia, showing the case study sites. 10 Figure 3. Comparison of Kenyan foreign exchange earnings from the leading sectors. Total value of exportation in million KES on the left, percent of total export on the right. 12 Figure 4. Ecotourism framework. Successful ecotourism relies on a harmony between tourism, community and biodiversity. 17 Figure 5. Analytical model of smallholder household strategies. 25 Figure 6. Research structure: the studys research logic shows the criteria of measurement, subdivided into socio-economic impact and conservation attitudes. 30 Figure 7. Case-centred research structure, showing direct economic impacts of a case and indirect impacts on conservation support. 31 Figure 8. Perceived change in business activity in respective communities. 51 Figure 9. Perceived benefits from tourism in the respective communities. 56 Figure 10. The most important tourism induced improvement. 56 Figure 11. Community responses on the element most urgent to improve (N=60). 57 Figure 12. Average of impacts on selected livelihoods aspects, rated by interviewed communitymembers. 58 Figure 13. Community benefits categorized. 59 Figure 14. Livelihood impact: How tourism affects crop farming, livestock keeping, land loss, security from wildlife and homestead infrastructure. 61 Figure 15. Indicators of salary satisfaction. Average of employee respondents per study site. 62 Figure 16. Perceived equality of working opportunities in the respective communities. 63 Figure 17. Perceived change in commodity prices over all communities. 63 Figure 18. Community perception of dependence on tourism. 64 Figure 19. Importance of ecotourism principles, response pattern for each stakeholder group. 68 Figure 20. The most important ecotourism principles. 69 Figure 21. Actor groups that benefit most from tourism in Laikipia. As perceived by responding community-members. 69 Figure 22. Actor groups that benefit most from tourism in Laikipia. As perceived by employee respondents. 70 Figure 23. Actor group that should decide over wildlife conservation. As perceived by community respondents. 71 Figure 24. Actor group that should decide over wildlife conservation. As perceived by employee respondents. 71 Figure 25. Community benefits from wildlife. 72 Figure 26. How the community benefits from wildlife. 74 Figure 27. Argumentations why business activity increased in the respective communities, as perceived by the community-members. 93 Figure 28. Argumentations why business activity did not increase in the respective communities, as perceived by the community-members. 94


Table 1. International tourism statistics on different scales. 11 Table 2. Laikipia tourism statistics 2002. 21 Table 3. Number of interviews conducted at the respective sites. 40 Table 4. Overview of selected cases. 45 Table 5. Financial key figures. 50 Table 6. Purchasing pattern and leakage at the study sites. 54 Table 7. Annual community income and estimated value of philantrophic activities carried out by the lodge in adjacent communities. 55 Table 8. Creating groups from answer categories. 58 Table 9. Traditional activities that are constrained by tourism and conservation. 60 Table 10. Pivot table: perceived benefits from wildlife and occupation. 73 Table 11. Pivot table: perceived benefits from wildlife and ethnic origin. 74 Table 12. Pivot table: perceived benefits from wildlife and perceived improvement of education. 75 Table 13. Pivot table: perceived community benefits and importance of wildlife protection. 75 Table 14. Pivot table: perceived improvement of education and importance of nature conservation.76 Table 15. Descriptive statistics to complement Figure 19, in Chapter 6.1. 94 Table 16. Table of respondents with key characterisation. 95



Association For Rural Advancement Arid and Semi-arid Lands African Wildlife Foundation Community-based Ecotourism Centre for Integrated Training and Research in ASAL Development Centre for Development and Environment District Development Officer Department for International Development (UK) Gross Domestic Product International Council of Cruise Lines Institute of Development Studies International Federation of Tour Operators International Hotel & Restaurant Association International Labour Organization International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (The World Conservation Union) Kenyan Shilling Kenya Wildlife Service Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Laikipia Wildlife Forum Non-Governmental Organisation National Park Pay-As-You-Earn (income tax) Rift Valley Adventures Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Sub-Saharan Africa Schweizer Tourismus-Verband The International Ecotourism Society Value Added Tax United Nations World Tourism Organization U.S. Agency for International Development World Commission on Environment and Development World Travel and Tourism Council


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Given the opportunity to study ecotourism in Laikipia, I was tempted on multiple levels. I find ecotourism very promising in its idea that environmental conservation pays for itself. The Sustainable Development theory seems to have found a practical application. Ecotourism also entails the principle that local communities benefit to a high degree through a locally anchored development. The extraordinary possibility to study ecotourism on site was equally promising. For data collection, I stayed in Nanyuki, Laikipia District, from November 2006 to February 2007 at CETRAD (Centre for Training and Research in ASAL (arid and semi-arid lands) Development). I would like to express my gratitude to a number of people and institutions. Without their contribution, the successful accomplishment of this study would not have been possible. I am especially grateful to my advisor, Prof. Dr. Urs Wiesmann at CDE, University of Bern. He gave me the opportunity to accomplish this study and provided decisive advice throughout the whole process of this study. People at CETRAD in Nanyuki made my field work possible and provided any required support and friendship. I would like to especially thank Dr. Boniface Kiteme, Director of CETRAD, and Nicholas Mwangi Githumbi for a prolific cooperation. Thinking of our adventurous trips, I thank Ben and Denis for their patience and entertainment. A special thank is due to Il Ngwesi Lodge, Ol Gaboli Bandas, Koija Starbeds, Borana Lodge and Sosian Ranch for their excellent hospitality and accommodation. Their open cooperation alone allowed the conduction of this study. I also would like to express my gratitude to everybody who kindly answered my interview question. Every single interview partner contributed to the success of the study. I would like to especially thank my uncle and godfather Christoph Funk for proofreading the study and for providing linguistic advice. I cannot forget my dear friends and my fellow students. I would like to especially thank my family. I am deeply grateful to my parents who support and inspire me since twenty five years.


Goals Tourism, one of the worlds largest industries, is a frequently cited tool of development for developing economies. Economic benefits to destination countries however often turn out to be below expectations due to structural deficiencies such as poor planning, profit leakage and foreign ownership. Ecotourism, the fastest growing sector of tourism, is a form of tourism that addresses some of the adverse outcomes of conventional tourism. Ecotourism strives to benefit the local economy and the host communities and minimizes detrimental impacts on the local culture and environment. The concept of ecotourism further assumes that support for tourism and conservation is high among communities that benefit from tourism. The goals of the present study correspond with these principles. On the one hand, the present study aims at assessing the socio-economic impact of ecotourism on the regional economy and on local communities and livelihoods. On the other hand, conservation attitudes among stakeholders are investigated to discover potential conflicts of stakes. A combination of these two areas of investigation can provide evidence on the hypothesis between benefits from tourism and conservation support. Study area The study was carried out in Laikipia District, in central Kenya. Kenya adopted tourism as development strategy shortly after independence. Kenyan tourism revenues grew steadily until the late 1980s. In recent times, the tourism sector is recovering from a decline in the 1990s and is re-establishing its high importance within the Kenyan economy. Today, Kenya is a high profile ecotourism destination. Tourism development in wildlife rich Laikipia did not systematically start before the 1990s. At present, Laikipia counts around fifty, mostly wildlifebased tourism operators and annual revenues reach US$ 11.7 million. Compared to destinations such as Maasai Mara National Reserve, Laikipia follows a strategy of tourism that offers a high quality product and low visitor numbers. Tourism in Laikipia largely takes place on semi-arid rangelands. Unlike in the case of National Parks, tourism in Laikipia takes place on privately owned land outside of formally protected areas. Laikipian ecotourism is frequently cited a model of success. It is thus worth evaluating. Methods The study adopts a multiple case study research design. Within Laikipia, five tourism operators have been selected not randomly, but in a way to maximize the inter-case diversity in respect of size (guest volume and turn-over) and ownership (from community-based to private). Between November 2006 and February 2007, a total of 114 interviews have been conducted. Besides five experts, the following stakeholders were considered for interviews: management, employees and local communities. Respondents were chosen selectively, respective to gender, age, occupation, geographical dispersion and rank, in order to identify key respondents and to cover the whole community. In all study sites, the respective communities were identified. This study notably paid attention to the fact that all measured impacts are correctly attributable to their


cause. For data analysis, different sources of information (interviews, informal conversations and observations) and different types of data (quantifiable and qualitative) are converged. I mostly employ descriptive statistics for quantifiable data and content analysis for qualitative data (data and method triangulation). The socio-economic impacts are analysed case-centred. Conservation attitudes are analysed stakeholder-centred. Results The study results suggest that ecotourism in Laikipia is benefiting the regional economy as well as the host communities. Combined, the studied ecolodges provide over 100 jobs and generate nearly US$ 900000 in expenses in Laikipia District. Profit leakage, originating in spending outside Laikipia District and in losses through travel agent commissions, is a serious problem. Local communities benefit in terms of community infrastructure, whereas education is the main improvement, and in terms of community income. In the studied communities, tourism and conservation are compatible with local livelihoods and the influence of tourism on the local economy is judged as socio-economically sustainable. Rather than constraining traditional livelihoods, tourism is improving education and medical services in local communities. The stakeholder analysis of conservation attitudes reveals that ecotourism principles are esteemed among all stakeholders. Contrary to community-members, the management tends to favour conservation issues over community benefits. Differences between stakeholders are considerable when it comes to perceptions of benefit distribution and decision-making in conservation. Results suggest a potential conflict of stakes between management and communities. Indications of this conflict however were only observed in communities adjacent Sosian Ranch. Conservation support is generally high in Laikipia and tends to be higher in communities that substantially benefit from tourism and in communities that are characterized by a Maasai pastoralist population. Agriculturalists however are more likely to resent wildlife. Conclusions Tourism in Laikipia has the potential to act as a development tool. On the local community level, the positive impacts mainly concern infrastructure. The economic impacts mainly occur on the regional District level. Community-based tourism is especially successful when the community is able to properly manage the venture or is assisted in doing so. Although private tourism operators tend to have a higher economic impact than community-based tourism operators due to their higher economic volume, positive livelihood impacts in the respective communities are potentially higher in the cases of community-based tourism. Leakage has been identified as a key impediment for the objective of maximizing local benefits. To reduce leakage, a lodge should employ and purchase as much as possible on the local community and the District level. A significant community income is achieved through the sale of souvenirs. Tourism operators should enable local communities to sell curio items. Regardless of benefits from tourism, conservation support in Laikipia is generally high among all stakeholders. Even though conservation support is higher in communities that benefit, the study results can not clearly confirm the hypothesis that benefits from tourism lead to increased conservation support among local communities. Besides economic benefits, the cause for different conservation attitudes may also be occupation (agriculture) and ethnic origin.


In the present study, the socio-economic impact of ecotourism in Laikipia, Kenya is investigated. In particular, tourism in the context of a sustainable development and the concept of ecotourism, which were the goals of the study, are introduced here on theoretical grounds.

Since independence in the 1960s, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) did not develop as expected. Some SSA countries even experienced a decline in Human Development during the 1990s. The scope of the present study is not to explain why this development did not take place. It rather considers a possible solution potentially enabling such an economic development at a specific site: ecotourism in Laikipia District, in central Kenya. Travel and tourism is often referred to as one of the largest industry and job provider in the world (Wells 1997). According to UNWTO, international tourism revenues represented approximately 6 % of worldwide exports of goods and services in the year 2003. When looking at service exports only, the share of tourism increases to nearly 30 percent. Tourism exports reach an annual volume of US$ 405 billions. Furthermore, tourism is growing more dynamically than the world economy. Between 1975 and 1990 tourism grew at an average rate of 4.6 %, while world economy grew by an average of 3.5 % in the same period (UNWTO). Within the world tourism industry, ecotourism is the fastest growing sector but still remains a niche market (WTTC et al. 2002). Tourism is named as an important driving force for development for some decades now. In the 1970s, the World Bank financed tourism development projects with the goal of promoting economic growth. Elliot and Mann (2005) note that the explicit focus on economic growth tended to ignore (adverse) social and environmental impacts. In the 1990s, in the wake of the

Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Rio Earth Summit, the discussion shifted away from solely economic gain towards a stronger emphasis on environmental protection and community involvement. Can tourism serve as an economic opportunity for developing countries? Does it induce sustainable development and transfer currency, like many governments and planners in the southern hemisphere hope? On the one hand, one is tempted to say yes. In comparison to other sectors, many developing countries have an immense potential in tourism and comparative advantages based on: sunny climate, abundant wildlife and exotic vegetation, allegedly unexplored cultures and low salaries for manpower. Indeed, tourism takes a prominent position in many African economies. When focusing on SSA, it becomes evident that tourism is eminently important for many countries in this region. Kenya for instance earned US$ 579 million from tourism in 2005. South Africa, being the African leader, even earned US$ 7327 million (UNWTO 2006). On a global level, in 2006, Africa was the top performer by growing at 8 % in terms of tourist arrivals. This growth rate is predicted to be around 9 % in 2007, with SSA being the major contributor (UNWTO 2007). At the same time, it is however evident that Sub-Saharan Africas share in world tourism is marginal. While European countries claim 51.2 % of international tourism revenues in 2005, Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 2.1 % only (UNWTO 2006). On the other hand, one is tempted to say that developing economies do not benefit maximally from tourism. Several authors note that a high amount of profit leaks out of the destination economy. Mainly because many tourism ventures are foreign-owned (Sindiga 1999: 26 et seq.) and because diverse goods and services need to be imported, profit often flows back to richer countries. In addition, many examples from unplanned tourism development with a short term perspective are known from third world countries. These are typically associated with adverse consequences for environment and society (Vorlaufer 1998). Conventional mass tourism that started in the late 1950s has also been recognized for its negative impacts. Over the following years, a rapid expansion of mass tourism took place, mainly in the development of resort infrastructure adapted to large numbers of tourists (Vorlaufer 1996: 8). Negative impacts range from water and air pollution to destination development taking place without effective planning (Doan 2000). Further, these supposable negative impacts in the destination area are interferences in the ecosystem, cultural erosion and unfavourable economic development. However, also on the consumer side the negative effects of mass tourism are manifesting. This has been stated by Eadington and Smith (1992: 6, cited in Sindiga 1999), by the 1990s, there is a sense that the public has become tired of the crowds, weary of jet lag, awakened to the evidence of pollution, and in search of something new.

The concept of ecotourism addresses some of the possible negative outcomes of tourism. It stresses the need for a sustainable tourism development that involves local interests. The most prevalent and most concise definition is the one used by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES). Thus, ecotourism is:


Responsible travel to natural areas that and improves the well-being of local people (TIES).




Ecotourism does actually attempt squaring the circle, and contains a very promising point: with successful ecotourism, the relation between nature conservation and economic development is not of conflicting but of complementary nature. The assumption is that local communities can get involved in tourism and gain an income, and thereby reducing pressure on the physical environment by abandoning resource intensive activities and developing positive conservation attitudes. Ecotourism experiences an outstanding annual growth of 20 % in tourism revenues (WTTC et al. 2002). The concepts popularity quickly rose amongst academics as well as among conservationists. In 1998, the United Nations Organisation (UN) declared 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism. However, it remains to be demonstrated that ecotourism satisfies the high expectations in practice. A very common criticism is that ecotourism is mere common nature tourism or a marketing gimmick (greenwashing). Therefore it is of great importance to evaluate the potential of ecotourism as an alternative form of tourism. Possibly, expectations in ecotourisms ability to address all problems of unsustainable development are overvalued, as Honey (1999: 4) notes: Around the world, ecotourism has been hailed as a panacea: a way to fund conservation and scientific research, protect fragile and pristine ecosystems, benefit rural communities, promote development in poor countries, enhance ecological and cultural sensitivity, instill environmental awareness and a social conscience in the travel industry, satisfy and educate the discriminating tourists, and, some claim, build world peace.



The studys main objective is to analyse if tourism can contribute to sustainable development, if tourism is rightly named an option for development. Thus, the analysis of the socio-economic impact of ecotourism is an important part of the study, for which data were collected in the Laikipia District in central Kenya. For the purpose of this study, socio-economic impact is captured from a broad perspective. It does include financial and economic impacts as well as impacts affecting the livelihoods of communities adjacent to wildlife tourism activity. Additionally, the economic sustainability of ecotourism in the study area is estimated. To complement the socio-economic impact evaluation, the study examines whether economic benefits indirectly lead to increased conservation support. Alongside this main goal, a subsidiary question can be answered, that is whether ecotourism is a good use of conservation funds or not (Kiss 2004).

Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

The study focuses on socio-economic impacts only. For reasons of capacity and coherence, the main goal is rather closely marked off and socio-cultural and environmental impacts of tourism activity in Laikipia are not considered. The close connection between economic and environmental aspects is part of the discussion on livelihoods and conservation. Further aspects, mainly impact on the environment, are not considered in the scope of this study. Nevertheless, answers on socio-economic impacts in Laikipia can still be of great value and contribute to a general understanding of tourism and development. Several subordinate aims are implied in the study; in fact, these are elements that typically unfold during the process of research. The most important secondary aim is to find if the choice of indicators and the methodological proceeding in general (as described below) are appropriate to evaluate the impact of ecotourism. Based on the evaluation of the research design and especially on the choice of indicators, the study will give some important insight in how tourism and ecotourism ventures can be evaluated. For example, this knowledge can be of interest for the construction of a rating scheme for ecotourism enterprises, or, as in the present study, to analyse the regional aspect of ecotourism activities.



On field attachment between November 2006 and February 2007, I visited five ecolodges for evaluation of ecotourism in Laikipia District. In collaboration with CETRAD, a total of 114 interviews with different stakeholders have been conducted. Data has been collected in order to evaluate the socio-economic impact on local communities and on Laikipia District as well as to study conservation attitudes. While the first analysis is case centred, the second is a stakeholder analysis.




The concept of ecotourism is a possible correction for conventional mass tourism and presents a sustainable way to development as it equally addresses all major dimensions of sustainable development. This study focuses on ecotourism in Laikipia District, Kenya. In a multiple case study, the socio-economic impact is analyzed, while the term socio-economic is understood in a broad sense. The study does include financial and economic impacts as well as broader impacts affecting the livelihoods in local communities and examines socio-economic sustainability. Further, conservation attitudes and the nature of ecotourism in Laikipia are studied with an analysis comparing the perceptions of different actor groups of people with a different involvement in tourism.

Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Case study area


In the present Chapter I introduce Laikipia, the study area. The aim is to provide a quick overview of the physical and social environment of the study area, as well as to set the frame for tourism in Kenya and in particular for Laikipia. The chapter gives access to the context in which the study is embedded. The five case study sites are described specifically below, along with the study methods applied in the Chapter Methodology on page 41.

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Laikipia is a high altitude plateau located in Central Kenya, stretching across the equator. It is located between latitudes 0 17 south and 0 45 north, and between longitudes 36 15 east and 37 20 east, covering an area of 9723 km2. To the east, Laikipia is bordering the western foot of the Mount Kenya massive (5199 meters). In the south-west, Laikipia is bordered by the Aberdare Mountain Range. Laikipias western boundary follows an escarpment leading down into the Great Rift Valley. North of Laikipia, Isiolo District and Samburu District are closest. The area has considerable relief. Altitudes range from 1500 meters to 2611 meters, whereas the larger part of the area drains northwards. Physiographically, the Laikipia Plateau can be divided into four major units: the central plains, the terraced lava plateau, the Marmanet uplands in the west and the Loldaiga-Mukodogo mountains in the north-east (Taiti 1992). The climate of Laikipia is characterized by the rain shadow effect of Mount Kenya. Being located on the lee side of Mount Kenya, the rain-bearing winds can not reach Laikipia. Thus, despite the equatorial location, Laikipia is relatively dry. In accordance with its altitude and

Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

location, the Laikipia Plateau shows a tropical highland climate (Berger (1989). Annual rainfalls reach between 450 and 750 mm, considerably higher annual total rainfalls can be observed on the slopes of Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range. Berger (1989: 23, 24) notes that rainfall in Laikipia occurs mainly during the dominance of the inner-tropical convergence zone (ITC) and is convective in origin. Thus, rainfall is unevenly distributed both in time and space. Convective rainfall is confined to small, limited perimeters and decreases substantially towards the northwest of Laikipia Plateau. Also, there are pronounced seasons. 1 According to Berger (1989), the western and north-western parts receive long rains from March to May and continental rains from June to August. Areas around Ngobit and the north-east receive a bimodal pattern of rainfall comprising the long rains and the short rains. The area of Timau, the central plains and the Loldaiga area are transitional and the two patterns tend to overlap.

Figure 1. Map of Kenya showing Laikipia District (Source of basic map: University of Texas Libraries).

The high altitude rainfall is crucial for the Ewaso Ngiro basin whose perennial streams are fed exclusively by this montane rain during the dry season. The Ewaso Ngiro River in turn is of crucial importance for the semi-arid and arid lowlands to the north-east (Wiesmann 1998). Due to these perennial streams, Laikipia is ecologically one of the more favoured districts within the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya (Taiti 1992: 2). The mean annual temperatures lie between

Berger (1989: 42) distinguishes four general seasons: the dry season (from December to February); the long rains (from March until May); the continental rains (from June to August) and the short rains from (September to November).

Case study area

16C and 20C. Whereas, the annual variation in air temperature is very low due to the equatorial location, the diurnal amplitude is considerable due to the high altitude (Berger 1989: 25). The natural vegetation is influenced by the above illustrated differentiation (or gradient) of rainfall and temperature. On the central plateau, dry savannah dominates, giving way to thorn savannah towards the north. On the slopes of the mountain ranges, the savannah changes over into dry and wet montane forest which may be interspersed by bamboo (Berger 1989: 22). Vertisols and deep soils, particularly Phaeozems, are the predominating soil types on the Laikipia Plateau. While Vertisols are not well suited for use, Phaeozems are quite erodible (Wiesmann 1998: 90).


In pre-colonial times, most of Laikipia formed part of the territory of the Maasai pastoralists, the Laikipiak Maasai. Under colonial rule, communities were forced to abandon the area on the grounds of a dubious agreement between Maasai leaders and the colonial administration in 1992. Laikipia became part of the so-called Scheduled Areas or White Highlands, an area restricted to European settlement where large scale ranching developed (Kohler 1987: 21). In colonial times, three main categories of land use could be found in Laikipia: European-owned large scale ranching accounting for 80 % of the District, forest reserves, and the area of Mukogodo, whose inhabitants are pastoralists (Kohler 1987: 27). With the independence of Kenya in 1963, the Scheduled Areas were opened to African immigration and settlement. In Laikipia, the immigrants originated from densely populated Kikuyuland south-west of the District, where population pressure had already reached critical proportions before, or from squatting communities mainly made-up by the workers from large scale farms. Small scale farming was introduced later in Laikipia (Kohler 1987). In the early 1980s, the pattern of land use differed from that in colonial times. An Africanization of land ownership took place (Kohler 1987: 28). Large-scale non-African land ownership accounted for 40.6 %, while small-scale ownership went to above 26 % (ibid.: 27). As Taiti (1992) notes, natural vegetation, especially rangeland, is the principal resource base of Laikipia District. Contributions include grazing for livestock, land cover, and habitat for wildlife. From 1900 to the 1960s, when extensive land use, mainly in the form of large-scale ranching, predominated, the natural vegetation suffered little. However, in more recent times, since high density rural settlements and small scale agriculture were increasing, the pressure on the natural resources became critical (Taiti 1992). Considering these circumstances, tourism represents a well suited alternative land use for Laikipia. Not only does tourism relieve pressure on natural resources, it is also a land use which is economically more viable compared to other activities including livestock keeping (Elliot and Mwangi 1997, 1998). Regional conditions of action (such as limited and variable rainfall, and soil quality) imply tourism as a preferred land use option for Laikipia.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Figure 2. Map of Laikipia, showing the case study sites.

Case study area



Despite being a world-renowned tourism destination, famous for its tropical beaches and spectacular National Parks, Kenya is a marginal player in global tourism. As shown in Table 1, Europe roughly accounts for half of international tourism, while Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 3 % and 2.1 % of international tourist arrivals and tourism revenues, respectively. The figures drop well below one percent in the case of Kenya. Comparable to world trade, these figures confirm a major trend towards countries of the northern hemisphere, absorbing the major share of tourism amongst them. In fact, the top twenty tourism destinations account for two thirds of the tourist arrivals. At the same time, Africa as a region has the lowest revenues per visitor rate. With US$ 590 in revenues per arrival, African countries not only lie below Europe (US$ 790) and the Americas (US$ 1080), but below the Middle East and Asia (US$ 710) and the Pacific (US$ 890) too. In Kenya the revenues earned per visitor are even lower (see Table 1). Per capita tourist receipts even decreased into the 1990s (Akama 1997). According to the author, several factors are contributing to this trend, with the most important being inflation, as prices in Kenyan Shillings did not keep pace. Another contribution is the growth of package tourism, which entails lower margins and higher leakage. Table 1. International tourism statistics on different scales.
World Europe International tourist arrivals 2006 (million)* International tourist arrivals 2006 (% share)** International tourism receipts 2005 (US$ billion) International tourism receipts 2005(% share) Receipts per arrival 2005 (US$)** Int. tourist arrivals forecast 2007 (% change) Int. tourist arrivals 2000-2005 (% change) 842 100 680 100 840 4 458 54.4 348.2 51.2 790 3 Africa 40.3 4.8 21.5 3.2 590 9 5.4 SSA 25.6 3 13.1 2.1 630 5.2 Kenya 1.2 0.16 0.579 0.085 405 9.8

Notes: *Kenyan value is for the year 2004, **Kenyan value is calculated for the year 2004. Source: UNWTO 2006, 2007; Republic of Kenya Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife 2006.

Growth rates however are higher than average in SSA as well as in Kenya. Between 2000 and 2005, tourism in SSA grew by 5.2 % and by 9.8 % in Kenya. These growth rates are expected to be similarly high in the years to come (UNWTO). Europe and the Americas on the other hand, witness the slowest growth rates, below world average. Regarding the little weight of Kenyan tourism in a global perspective, its macroeconomic value and importance is disproportionately high. International tourism is a key economic activity to


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Kenya (see Figure 3). In 2004, tourism replaced tea and horticulture as main foreign exchange earner (Figure 3) and accounted for 20 % of the total foreign exchange earnings. Over the years, tourisms contribution to total GDP averaged around 10 %.
:(((( 8(((( 7(((( 6(((( '(((( 5(((( ( '((( '((5 '((' '((6 '((7 '((8 6( '8 '( 58 5( 8 ( ; < < < ;

Figure 3. Comparison of Kenyan foreign exchange earnings from the leading sectors. Total value of exportation in million KES on the left, percent of total export on the right. Source: Republic of Kenya Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife 2006.

Taking Switzerland as a comparator, it is also a minor player in respect to global tourism, however the position of tourism is less crucial in this country. Income from tourism in Switzerland reaches US$ 11040 million annually, representing 3.4 % of GDP and is the third most important export industry (UNWTO 2006, STV et al. 2006 or 2007). Akama (1999) retraces the evolution of tourism in Kenya. Tourism to Kenya started in precolonial times, when only few pioneer adventure seekers ventured into the East African hinterland. With colonial involvement, and an infrastructural open-up of the hinterland, an increasing number of safari hunters and adventurers visited Kenya. As in many Third World societies, initial tourism development was highly dominated by resident expatriates and external interest groups. After independence in 1963, the government was confronted with falling prices for agricultural products (mainly tea and coffee) that the country almost exclusively depended on. In search of foreign exchange, the government accelerated the development of tourism, amongst others with a tourism master-plan, whose aim was to attract foreign investment. Besides a dramatic increase in the volume of international tourist arrivals, the following development was characterized by large-scale tourism projects, investments concentrated in central places and foreign ownership. By the end of the 1980s, reaching 800000 visitor arrivals annually, tourism for the first time surpassed the combined earnings of tea and coffee. In the 1990s however, arrival figures dropped steadily. In Butlers (1980) destination life cycle model, Akama (1999) locates Kenya in the final stage of (premature) decline. Akama (1999) attributes this premature decline of Kenyas tourism industry to two main factors: the presumed reduction of the quality of the countrys tourism product (rapid and unplanned development,

Case study area


and degradation), and the perception of Kenya as an insecure tourist destination (after the countrys post-colonial stability). The situation was further aggravated by increasing competition in the same region, as more tourists switched within the region to Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa. As established above, the Kenyan tourism industry recovered in this century. Tellingly, nature tourism stands at the beginning of the evolution of Kenyan tourism. Consequently, Kenya is commonly referred to as a pioneer of nature tourism (Olindo 1991). Today however, the bulk of bed-nights is spent at the coast (51 %) and in Nairobi hotels (23.5 %), leaving the smaller share of tourism activity to the East African hinterland. In modern days, Kenya has become a high profile ecotourism destination (Weaver 1999), comparable to destinations such as Costa Rica, and is receiving an important number of ecotourists.


Compared to National Parks (NP) such as Amboseli NP and Maasai Mara National Reserve, Laikipia is a rather new and less developed wildlife tourism destination. But the development is apparent: at present, over 50 tourism operators are active in Laikipia (LWF). A large number of them declare practicing ecotourism. Compared to National Parks, wildlife tourism in Laikipia does not take place in formally protected areas (NPs), as most of the land is in public ownership, either owned privately or by a community. There, tourism is usually located in private conservation areas, in so-called conservancies. Conservation outside of formally protected areas is crucial as most wildlife populations live outside protected areas. Blanc et al. (2005) estimate that up to 80 % of elephant range in Africa lie outside protected areas. In the Samburu-Laikipia Ecosystem an estimated elephant population of 5447 individuals is located. This is second after Tsavo NP (Omondi et al. 2002, cited in Blanc et al. 2003: 92). For Laikipia, several benefits are brought with tourism. Tourism mainly takes place on rangelands, with low potential for agricultural cultivation, where livestock-keeping is most prominent. In other words, these regional conditions of action allow few other options than tourism. Therefore, tourism presents a beneficial economic alternative for Laikipia, less dependent on climatic conditions. At the same time, wildlife tourism is the highest value land use on these lands with agriculturally marginal use. Earnings from wildlife tourism are at least four times higher than livestock keeping, the next most economically attractive land use (Elliot and Mwangi 1997). Further, tourism takes away pressure from natural resources, especially soils and vegetation. The economic magnitude of tourism in Laikipia is steadily increasing. Between 1996 and 2002, visitor arrivals increased tenfold, from 6000 to over 60000. Revenues increased from US$ 3.1 million to US$ 11.7 million (Elliot and Mwangi 1998, LWF 2003). The tourism potential in Laikipia is not fully exploited yet. But tourism is an increasingly important sector. In terms of tax income, the relevance of tourism is high on the District level. An estimated 40 % of Laikipia


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

District tax income is generated through tourism, it is however less than 10 % at the level of the County Council (personal communication). In Laikipia District, the population is concentrated in a U-shaped form along the tarmac, running from north-west to the south of the District and over Nanyuki north towards Meru. The Ministry of Lands Development Plan (2006-2036) intends to strengthen the centrality of this area by attracting population and agriculture through the provision of basic infrastructure in the urban centres. Following this planning strategy, there will be less pressure of human activities in central Laikipia and space for wildlife to roam will be provided. Other economic activities of importance in Laikipia are large-scale cattle ranching, agriculture/ horticulture, small-scale farming and pastoralism. Small-scale farming mainly occurs near town centres and in settlements in the more humid areas of Laikipia, while pastoralism is found in the plains of Laikipias Savannah. Laikipias export-oriented horticulture sector produces vegetables and roses. In 1992, the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) was founded by some ranchers on initiative by Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS), the governmental branch for wildlife. The idea was to engage communities and people who own land to become more active in conservation. The LWF is a private organization and an institutionalised agent for tourism and conservation in Laikipia. As conserved land in Laikipia is in private and not in public ownership (unless NP), landowners in Laikipia are in a strong position.



The Chapter presents Laikipias physical and social main features. The climate is characterised by the rain shadow effect of Mount Kenya. Annual rainfalls reach between 450 and 750 mm. While higher rainfalls are observed on the mountain slopes, rainfall drops towards the plains in the north west. The main land uses are large-scale ranching, horticulture, tourism, small-scale farming and pastoralism. Tourism takes place on For Kenya, tourism is a key economic activity and the main foreign exchange earner after tea and horticulture. The Kenyan tourism sector is recovering from a decline in the 1990s. In Laikipia, tourism has only in more recent years been developed systematically. At present, Laikipia counts around 50 tourism operators and annual revenues reach US$ 11.7 million. Laikipia follows a strategy of tourism that is characterised by high value (economically), low number (visitors) and low impact (environmentally).

Theoretical Framework


In the following Chapter the theoretical framework of the present study is discussed. Namely, I present the concept of ecotourism and discuss socio-economic impacts of ecotourism from a theoretical perspective. Further, several other related concepts and theories that the study refers to are discussed, and the Chapter is concluded with a presentation of the specified research questions.



Even though ecotourism is a rather new notion, research on ecotourism is quite extensive. Ecotourism as a defined concept first appeared in literature in the 1980s by Hector CeballosLascurain. He defined it as Travelling to relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated natural areas with the specific objective of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals as well as any existing cultural manifestation (both past and present) found in these areas (Ceballos-Lascurain 1987). As Blamey (2001) correctly notes, this definition is principally focussing on the nature-based experience sought by visitors. More recent definitions include more than one dimension, particularly through adopting aspects of sustainable development. This change is well manifested in the actual definition by The International Ecotourism Society, whereby ecotourism is defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people (TIES). More recently, at the IUCN, ecotourism has been defined by incorporating these aspects:


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socioeconomic involvement of local peoples (Ceballos-Lascurain 1996: 20). Thus, ecotourism can be distinguished from nature tourism by its emphasis on conservation, education, traveller responsibility and active community participation. Ecotourism embraces the following elements: the primary attraction is the natural environment; but socio-cultural attractions within the destination area can also play a role. Secondly, ecotourism strives towards (proactively) addressing the three dimensions of sustainable development: ecological, socio-cultural and socio-economic sustainability. It is therefore minimizing the impact on the natural and cultural environment and at the same time providing benefits to host communities. Additionally, several authors (Fennell 2001, Blamey 2001) note the importance of environmental and cultural education. 2 The merit of ecotourism is that it equally addresses all three dimensions of sustainability. It therefore reconciles economic development and nature conservation. Ross and Wall (1996a) propose a conceptual framework that consists of the relationships between tourism and local communities, between tourism and biological diversity and also between community and biodiversity (see Figure 4). The authors importantly note that a favourable institutional environment is crucial for successful ecotourism. Such institutions are above all local government, conservation policies and NGOs. In Figure 4, I additionally illustrate the basic assumption between economics and conservation in ecotourism: if communities benefit economically from tourism, they are ready to use resources sustainably and to maintain biodiversity, which in turn will attract tourism. When the relationships between the above mentioned elements are in accordance and the institutional conditions are supportive, prerequisites for successful ecotourism are given; and ecotourism can thus contribute to both, nature conservation and social and economic development.

There is an abundance of Ecotourism definitions, each stressing different aspects. The dissent about the use of a single ecotourism definition is considerable. A discussion of various definitions can be found, amongst others, in Bjrk (2000). A semantic analysis is not the aim of this study, the definitions presented and discussed are sufficient for the purpose of this study.

Theoretical Framework


Figure 4. Ecotourism framework. Successful ecotourism relies on a harmony between tourism, community and biodiversity (adapted from Ross and Wall 1999a: 126).

Ecotourism is a worldwide industrial success. The economic volume of ecotourism is already substantial and steadily growing. WTTC et al. (2002: 18) estimate that in the year 2000 ecotourism alone contributed 154 billion US$ in revenues and is growing by 20 % annually. However, economic volume and growth alone are not useful measures for evaluating the success of ecotourism. Furthermore, economic growth and development are two different aspects. Therefore, a thorough evaluation must address and measure an improvement as compared to conventional tourism. In terms of socio-economic sustainability, the focus on local economy and sustainable development is decisive, while macro-economic figures are insufficient.



The need to evaluate the impact on the local and regional scale is evident. The question arising thereby is which criteria to employ to measure socio-economic benefits. It is most reasonable to deduce criteria from the definition and, building on these criteria, one can define the respective indicators. The socio-economic aspect of ecotourism is generally translated into the criterion benefits for local communities (Weaver 2005). In literature, two approaches of criteria definition can be distinguished. The first one adopts a regional perspective and conducts a calculation of economic activity in form of an input-output analysis. It can be found for instance in Lindberg et al. (1996) and Walpole and Goodwin (2000). Benefits for local people are understood in financial terms. Following these authors, ecotourism is economically successful as long as the net financial impact on the region (or a more local level) is positive. The second approach uses a different way of measuring by adopting a broader definition of economic benefits. Above all, this approach is coined by Ashley (2000), Ashley and Hussein


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

(2000), Bhattacharya and Kumari (2004), Campbell (1999), Clifton and Benson (2006), Ross and Wall (1999b). These authors define economic benefits by incorporating the concept of livelihoods. Hence, for the evaluation of impact, financial considerations in terms of cost/benefit are not solely decisive, but non-financial benefits are also considered. After incorporating the livelihoods approach, one must consider its implication on the initial research questions. Ashley and Hussein (2000: 14) state that: Well-being is not only about increased income. Other dimensions of poverty that must be addressed include food insecurity, social inferiority, exclusion, lack of physical assets, and vulnerability. It becomes evident that by integrating livelihoods, the research interest expands beyond financial indicators. Ashley and Elliott (2003: 2) note: Measuring tourisms contribution to local economic development does not just mean taking key macro growth indicators, such as output and employment, down to a destination level. Local multiplier impacts are also important, and include both formal and informal sector employment, as well as indirect impacts such as improved infrastructure and public services, and more abstract benefits such as participation, empowerment and improved governance. Non-financial benefits include, most importantly, community infrastructure like transportation, communication, education and health. Quality of employment, and the distribution and investment of income can be considered as much as social aspects like pride and empowerment. Further, compatibility with and enrichment of local livelihoods is important, besides measuring the monetary impact. The implications that the livelihoods approach entails for the choice of indicators and the measurement is illustrated below, in Chapter 3.6.




As established above, conservation is relying on the support of host communities. Considering hunting and poaching, in the case of wildlife tourism this is particularly true. In order to gain local conservation support, communities are thought to be engaged in tourism, or rewarded for conservational engagement or land loss. 3 Additionally, economic gains through tourism are

The link between community benefits and conservation since long forms part of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) strategy too: directing greater economic benefits from parks to local people is an expressed goal of the Kenya government. The principles underlying revenue sharing are: (1) that local people bear the cost of wildlife conservation by tolerating crop and livestock losses, and foregoing potential income from alternative land uses and (2) that local communities will continue supporting parks and reserves if they are seen to assist in people's development (KWS 1990, cited in Sindiga 1995: 50).

Theoretical Framework


thought to lead to an abandonment of unsustainable use of natural resources. The suggested key factors for local conservation support are compensation and participation. Indeed a growing number of poachers and resource users across the developing world is engaging in tourism; and, for instance using their wide cultural and environmental knowledge sustainably as guides (Wunder 1999; cited in Mastny 2001). On the other hand, research shows: if tourism excludes local people from participating in the management and use of natural areas which they necessitate to grow food, raise livestock and gather fire wood, then local communities are likely to resent tourism and undermine conservation goals (Cater 1993; Mastny 2001). In developing nations, decisions about conservation and conservation areas were traditionally made without consultation of and approval by local people, and exclusively aimed at conservation goals. These circumstances often lead to a displacement and uprooting of indigenous people, who then suffer from serious ruptures and exclusion from natural areas, with consequences of impoverishment, rising incidences of poaching, vandalism, and even armed conflict (Fortin and Gagnon 1999). A typical example presents the case of Galapagos Islands, where not everybody is happy about the mass arrival of visitors. There too, the exclusion of local people jeopardizes conservation and the sustainability of tourism. A fisherman reportedly said: We are tired of being told we are responsible for everything that happens in these islands () if the government does not lift the fishing ban we are even willing to burn all the natural areas to finish this tourism craziness. We see nothing of the millions of dollars that this business leaves to others (Castilho and Herrscher 1995). Scheyvens (1999) argues that ecotourism ventures should only be considered successful if local communities have some measure of control over them and if benefits emerging from these ecotourism activities are equally shared among all involved parties. One form of ecotourism that maximises community participation in decision-making and benefit-sharing is community-based ecotourism (CBET). Scheyvens (1999) also suggests that the term CBET should be reserved for those ventures which are based on a high degree of community control (and hence where communities command a large proportion of the benefits) rather than those almost entirely controlled by outside operators. It is however rare in literature to find examples of community-based initiatives that are not managed, co-managed, or initiated from outside the community (Belsky 1999; Wearing and McDonald 2002, cited in Jones 2005). In the case of a co-management it is crucial for the community to retain control over the land. Otherwise community-members may end up being mere workers of lower level instead of being owners of the development (AFRA 2004).

This strategy applies to publicly protected parks, but can be adapted to the Laikipian context with its privately owned conservation areas.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Apart from participation, local communities can be included in benefit-sharing through the provision of community infrastructure. Maasai Leaders in Tanzanias Serengeti NP claim such community investments: we should get schools, dispensaries, and other benefits like our brothers in Kenya. They get money and jobs from game reserves, campsites, and lodges, from tourism and from wildlife (Honey 1999).




An approach to conservation that excludes local interests is also likely to fuel human-wildlife conflict. Much of these conflicts are based on crop-raiding by wild animals (Hill 1998). Conflicts between people and wildlife have become an issue with increasing importance over the last decades, as the land being put under cultivation has increased in rural African areas. Sindiga (1995) notes that land use conflicts around land use originate also in Kenya from a rising and expanding rural population in range lands and competitive demands for land resources to support wildlife and livestock resulting in conflicts, ecological degradation and poverty. From there, subsistence poaching and park intrusion for fire wood, water, grazing, and eventually farming is threatening wildlife habitat. Human-wildlife conflict is not a new phenomenon in African rural areas; it has existed for decades or even centuries, but todays context is different. Endangered species are at stake and local farmers are constrained in their coping strategies by land scarcity and hunting bans (Naughton-Treves 1998: 165). Pastoralists are known to be more tolerant of wildlife. First, agriculturalists are more likely to suffer from wildlife due to crop-raiding, whereas elephants are the most problematic animals. Although agriculturalists lose crops to several species and elephant damage is infrequent compared to other pests, damage by elephants is often the most severe or comes just before harvest when huge efforts have already been invested. So, in many rural African places, the local cost of tolerating elephants exceeds the benefits (Gadd 2005). Secondly, pastoralists are inherently conservation-minded, and live in harmony with wild animals since generations (Gadd 2005), which does not mean they never hunt any wild animal. Parkipuny (1989: 256) states that the Maasai culture enshrines the rights of wildlife to unmolested existence. The author further notes that, before European hunters and indigenous poachers disturbed the once natural balance between wildlife and pastoral use, domestic and wild animals co-existed in virtually all pastoral areas in East Africa. Under these circumstances, ecotourism still has to prove its success in practical application. Does ecotourism really foster sustainable local development and thus lead to a non-consumptive use of natural resources, to economic benefits for local communities and to a harmonious relationship between visitors and host communities? A number of authors however have questioned whether local communities benefit to a maximum from ecotourism ventures (Campbell 1999; Colvin 1996; Loon and Polakow 2001, cited in Jones 2005). The current study focuses on socio-economic sustainability; it namely evaluates socio-economic impacts on local communities. Local benefits from tourism are not only important in terms of

Theoretical Framework


economic development but they are a crucial conservation incentive for local communities. The linkage between community benefits and nature conservation as well is in need of empirical evidence/verification.

As illustrated in Chapter 2.2.2, tourism is benefiting Laikipia in several ways. Tourism mainly takes place on rangelands with low agricultural potential, where it presents a beneficial economic alternative. At the same time, wildlife tourism is the highest value land use on these lands (Elliot and Mwangi 1997). And tourism takes away pressure from natural resources, especially soils and vegetation. So far, ecotourism and conservation have a positive impact on wildlife populations too, which are actually increasing: Laikipia is the only region in Kenya where wildlife is increasing outside protected areas. Instead of fencing their property and poisoning predators, most commercial ranchers in Laikipia and some traditional pastoralists welcome wildlife (AWF 2001: 5). Conservational success outside formally protected areas is not self-evident (even though for Laikipia it seems to be a fortunate constitution). As the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) points out, in the thorn scrub of Laikipia, large populations of wildlife thrive on privately owned land a happy anomaly in Africa (AWF 2001: 3). The AWF identified eight African key landscapes that are essential for conservation, the African Heartlands. Laikipia forms part of the Samburu Heartland (formerly Laikipia-Samburu). The region is home to rare and endemic species of zebras and giraffes (foremost reticulated giraffe and the Grevys zebra).



The economic value of tourism in Laikipia is on the rise as well. For 1996, Elliot and Mwangi (1998) estimated that 6000 foreign tourists visited Laikipia, generating revenues of over US$ 3.1 million and profits of about US$ 1.1 million. The Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) has conducted a quite extensive survey on visitors spending and tourism income in Laikipia (see Table 2). Table 2. Laikipia tourism statistics 2002. Foreign visitors Tourism revenue (in million US$) Direct employment in tourism Employee wages (in million US$) Generated community funds
Source: LWF 2003.

60605 11,7 1054 1,7 166876


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

According to this survey (LWF 2003), 60605 tourists came to Laikipia in the year 2002. Tourism generated US$ 11664312 in revenues and provided direct employment to 1054 people, paying approximately US$ 1.7 million in employee wages. In total, around 5100 people are directly or indirectly dependent on tourism jobs in the region. Further, Laikipia tourism facilities generated US$ 166876 of funds for community outreach. However, there are indications for a high profit leakage in Laikipias tourism industry. Laikipia tourism facilities totally spent US$ 8.5 million in 2002. But only half of the purchases they made in Kenya (amounting to US$ 5 million) benefited the local Laikipia economy directly. Proportionally, Laikipia loses up to 80 % of its potential impact. The economic value of the Laikipia tourism industry to Kenya is a substantial US$ 10 million approximately. This sum consists of US$ 8.5 million in spending and US$ 1.5 million in VAT. Elliot and Mwangi (1998) estimate that in 1996 two thirds of tourism revenues earned remained in Kenya, but only 10 % remained within the District. So, leakage that was estimated 90 % for 1996 and less than 80 % for 2002 is likely to decrease with further tourism development. On the conservation side of tourism, Laikipia seems to be successful too. Tourism so far has a positive impact on wildlife populations, which are actually increasing: Laikipia is the only region in Kenya where wildlife is increasing outside protected areas. Instead of fencing their property and poisoning predators, most commercial ranchers in Laikipia and some traditional pastoralists welcome wildlife (AWF 2001: 5). Conservational success outside formally protected areas is not self-evident (even though for Laikipia it seems to be a fortunate constitution). As the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) points out, in the thorn scrub of Laikipia, large populations of wildlife thrive on privately owned land a happy anomaly in Africa (AWF 2001: 3). The AWF identified eight African key landscapes that are essential for conservation, the African Heartlands. Laikipia forms part of the Samburu Heartland (formerly Laikipia-Samburu). The region is home to rare and endemic species of zebras and giraffes (foremost reticulated giraffe and the Grevys zebra).



Besides the above discussed concept of ecotourism, several other concepts and theories are relevant for this study; namely sustainable development, livelihoods, commodity chains, and stakeholder. In the following, these concepts and theories that the study refers to are presented. Some implications for the present study are discussed and presented in detail in Chapter 3.6.

Theoretical Framework



Sustainable development reached popularity with the publication of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) 1987 report our common future (commonly known as Brundtland report), where it is defined as: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED, cited in Hurni et al. 2004). Sustainable development relies on three dimensions: the socio-economic, the ecological and the socio-cultural sustainability (Wiesmann 1998: 184). The close relationship between ecotourism and sustainable development has already been stressed above. Thus, the concept of ecotourism presents an option towards sustainable (economic) development as it promotes a form of tourism that is harmless for the natural and cultural environment and supports economic growth. The economic growth is sought to be enduring and locally effective while maintaining the diversity of economic activity. The integrated long-term perspective and the non-consumptive nature of ecotourism target the idea of a generation contract. Ecotourism does however not lead to a sustainable development in all studied cases (Fortin and Gagnon 1999). Often, negative impacts are of social or ecological nature. Adelmann (1996, cited in ILO 2001: 65) studied an example of socio-economically unsustainable tourism in the privately owned Taman Negara National Park, Western Malaysia. 60 % of the 270 people employed are locals and they earn US$ 120 a month, while a local salary on average is about US$ 40 a month. Despite the positive employment effects, the differences in income between the two groups have led to social tension and driven up the costs of everyday goods, while park employees spend most of their income outside the region or on imported goods. Thus local inhabitants, whose culture has been marketed to attract tourists, benefit only to a very limited extent. Indeed, many have taken to illegal hunting and fishing in the park, contrary to the protective regulations established by the park authorities. For the present study, the sustainability of ecotourism activities is one of the targets assessed. Here, socio-economic sustainability is understood as providing reasonable employment income with equality of working possibilities and as retaining stability of commodity prices and diversity of economic activities (Tsaur et al. 2006 and Wallace and Pierce 1996). In the general discussion on the link of ecotourism and sustainable development, some notes must be added. Above, I write that ecotourism strives for sustainable development, as it adopts a long-term perspective, and assumes low environmental and cultural interference, but a favourable economic impact. However, as Wall (1997) writes, ecotourism is not to be confused with the notion of sustainable tourism4, and must not necessarily be sustainable:

Sustainable tourism is an unfortunate concept. Contrarily to the theory of sustainable development, it adopts a single-sector approach (the longevity of tourism in a region) and neglects the inter-sectoral competition for resources, which may be essential for sustainable development (Butler 1993).


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

The interchangeable use of the terms ecotourism and sustainable tourism on the part of some spokespersons displays an inadequate understanding of both terms for, clearly, not all forms of ecotourism are sustainable and not all sustainable tourism need be to natural areas (Wall 1997: 487). One can argue that ecotourism is not necessarily more sustainable than mass tourism. Most ecotourism takes place in sensitive ecosystems and destinations are remote, inducing much travelling. Also, remote societies might be more vulnerable to foreign cultural influences. The economic logic, in search of economies of scale, usually entails a development towards mass tourism. At the same time, all tourism, not just ecotourism, depends on the longevity of natural (and cultural) resources. Thus it should be in the long term interest of the tourism industry to assure the resources they rely on. But, considering the common goods problem underlying the tourism industry on different scales and the time-lag between harmful behaviour and impact, it is questionable whether this self-interest leads to a more conscious behaviour. Ecotourism can contribute to sustainable development if it is economically viable, environmentally sensitive and culturally appropriate (Wall 1997).


Besides estimating financial and socio-economic impact, this study focuses on livelihoods. The idea is not to conduct an extensive livelihood analysis, but to integrate aspects of livelihood and to broaden the evaluation of socio-economic impacts by analysis of financial and local economic impacts. After all, ecotourism should aim at making local livelihoods more sustainable. In the socio-economic dimension, ecotourisms implicit goal is to provide benefits for local communities (see Chapter 3.2). To account for these community benefits, the concept of livelihoods is highly appropriate. It is important to note that livelihood usually focuses on single households, not on a community as a whole. The concept of livelihoods stresses the importance of measuring more than mere financial and economic impacts. Chambers (1995: 174) notes that: Livelihood refers to the means of gaining a living, including livelihood capabilities, tangible assets and intangible assets. Employment can provide a livelihood but most livelihoods of the poor are based on multiple activities and sources of food, income and security. For the present study, this implicates that the measurement of community benefits must take into account tangible and intangible benefits and improvements in livelihood capabilities. Thus, employment is a way to improve a livelihood, but will not fully cover the economic impact. To associate livelihoods with sustainable development, Chambers and Conway (1991) define a sustainable livelihood as follows:

Theoretical Framework


A livelihood comprises people, their capabilities and their means of living, including food, income and assets. Tangible assets are resources and stores, and intangible assets are claims and access. A livelihood is environmentally sustainable when it maintains or enhances the local and global assets in which livelihoods depend, and has net beneficial effects on other livelihoods. A livelihood is socially sustainable which can cope with and recover from stress and shocks, and provide for future generations (cited in IDS 2007). A question arising in the context of this study is whether livelihoods affected by tourism can better cope with and recover from stress and shocks. A more diversified livelihood, originating from tourism income and tourism benefits, should be in a position to do so. Concretely, tourism can contribute to sustainable livelihoods by strengthening livelihoods assets and thereby decrease vulnerability. The above discussed livelihoods comprehension corresponds to the DFID livelihoods framework. In simple terms, in this livelihoods framework, assets are used for livelihoods strategies and activities that generate outcomes, which are reinvested into assets (Ashley and Hussein 2000: 21). It is a model, which is well suited for evaluation purposes. A different approach to evaluate household strategies is provided by Wiesmann (1998).

Figure 5. Analytical model of smallholder household strategies. White circles show spheres of action which are directly related to the use of natural resources, shaded circles showing spheres of action not directly related to use of natural resources (simplified from Wiesmann 1998: 113).

According to this model, available resources are invested in one or more of the following strategies: livestock keeping and production, agriculture and agricultural production, home economics and farm development, off-farm employment, educational activities, family networking, and community networking. These strategies are either directly or not directly related to the use of natural resources. An evaluation of livelihood strategies may employ this framework, and point out the strategies that are followed. The evaluation will indicate if pressure on natural resources is actually decreasing.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia



As discussed above, when considering ecotourism it is more appropriate to judge the economic impact on a local or regional level. In terms of regional economy, three concepts are relevant, and referred to in the present study: commodity or value chains, multiplier effects and leakage. The Value chain is the set of activities through which a product or service is created and delivered to the customer. Applications of this concept in tourism research are often implicit, such as in Vorlaufer (1998) who analyses the structural integration of tourism ventures in Southeast Asia. The value chain of tourism does reveal the supplier structure that is benefiting from tourism. Thus, the model presents a basis for economic multiplier effects. Estimating only tourism income and spending at a specific site does not take multiplier effects into account. Multiplier effects are economic secondary effects in the local economy, resulting from tourism spending that generates further spending and leads to a general increase of economic activity. Multiplier effects can be employed to complete the assessment of tourisms contribution to the local economy. Typically, three types of multiplier effects are differentiated (e.g. Wells 1997: 12).

(1) (2) (3)

Direct effects. Economic impacts that directly originate from tourist expenditure for goods and services in the destination. Indirect effects. Economic impacts that are generated through purchases of supplies and materials by tourism ventures and through purchases made by the suppliers. Induced effects. Arise from re-spending wages, earned in businesses that benefit from direct or indirect effects.

The tourism industry has a complex and extensive supplier structure and is labour-intense (Neto 2003). Hence, multiplier effects are expected to be considerable. Contrary to multiplier effects, profit leakage potentially reduces the positive economic impact of tourism dramatically. Profit leakage refers to the process in which tourism revenues leave the destination economy. Revenues can leak through the import of capital and building materials, consumables (food and drinks), the employment of foreigners, outflow of profits (repatriation by foreign companies) and payment for promotion and advertisement in foreign countries by travel agencies and other companies. It is generally estimated that in the developing world over 50 % of all tourist money paid in host countries either never reaches or leaks out of the destination countries (Mowforth and Munt 1998: 193). In Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica, for instance, less than 6% of tourism income accrues to the local communities (Baez and Fernandez 1992). In Kenya, Sinclair found that the foreign exchange leakage is lower for safari or safari and beach holidays compared to only beach holidays (Sinclair 1990). Leakage ranges from 34%-45% as opposed to 62%-78% for beach only holidays (for a typical 14 night holiday). Further, it is commonly stated that high

Theoretical Framework


leakage and limited direct economic effects are expected in peripheral and underdeveloped areas, where more investments and goods must be imported (Steck 1999: 20), which is the case neither for Kenya nor for Laikipia (Vorlaufer 1996). Profit leakage, attributed by most authors to foreign ownership and First World control over the tourism industry in the Third World (Sindiga 1996, Loon and Polak 2001), is likely to be reduced through locally owned tourism activities, such as community-based ecotourism initiatives (CBET). Communities are much more embedded in local and regional economic structures and might reduce leakage inherently through availing linkages to the local economy. Some authors however doubt this fact. Butler (1992) for example argues that: Leakages of tourist expenditure from areas featuring small-scale, locally owned projects are likely to be high because less-developed local economies may be unable to satisfy the needs of tourists. In the case of vertically integrated tour operators, high leakage is inevitable (Meyer 2001: 45). If tour operators own suppliers such as carriers and accommodation in the destination economy, it can be expected that a large amount of the money paid for a holiday returns to, or remains in the provenance country. As transport and accommodation are the main cost factors in package tourism, the destination economy is likely to retain considerably more money if the tour operator uses national carriers and accommodation. As Cater (1994) notes, in this respect ecotourism is not necessarily more beneficial than conventional mass tourism: And like conventional tourists, many ecotourists make their travel, tour, and accommodation plans with companies back home, spending the bulk of their travel budget outside the destination (Cater1994, cited in Mastny 2001: 42). First, leakage rates are potentially high with booking, and, secondly, trips entirely booked in the country of provenance leave little money to be spent in the destination country. It is however controversial whether independent tourism is more beneficial than organized tourism. Lemky (1992) found that independent travellers in the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador have a more positive economic impact than those on organized tours because of smaller leakages. And, even though sums of money may be rather small, their consequences may be substantial when they are injected into economies which are also small. Other authors (Groom et al. 1991, cited in Wunder 2000) found that benefits depend heavily on the type of destination, whereas accessible backpacker areas create ten times less income than remote reserves for wealthier tourists. But, in this survey too, the local share in expenditure is higher with independent travellers (25%) than with upmarket tourists (11%). Drumm (1991) presents similar findings and concludes that simple tourism has a higher local multiplier effect and is more linked to local markets than luxurious tourism that entails exports. Hence, a trade-off between higher income and higher economic effectiveness in the local economy becomes apparent.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia


The studys holistic/or comprehensive approach asks for an integration of all stakeholders.5 A comprehensive proceeding is central because sustainability requires inter-actor consensus. Additionally, empirical findings that characterise stakeholders in tourism and conservation can be extended. Agenda 21 incorporates a key sentences, stressing the need for a stakeholder analysis in tourism: () to maximize the potential of tourism for eradicating poverty by developing appropriate strategies in cooperation with all major groups, and indigenous and local communities (Agenda 21 Declaration, cited in Elliot and Mann 2005). According to Bjrk (2000), the central actors in ecotourism are: authorities, tourism business, local people and tourists. Sindigas (1995: 48) list of stakeholders in Kenyan wildlife tourism is much more extensive. For the present study, the selected stakeholders are management, employees, visitors, local communities and local government and NGOs.


The present Chapter is drawing a conclusion from the theoretical discussion. Consequently, it will discuss the theoretical implications on the research design. Sustainable development, the integration of aspects of livelihoods and value chains influence the choice of indicators. From ecotourism definitions and theory, one can deduce criteria of measurement. Each criterion, in turn, can be translated into indicators. In the following, I briefly present how the evaluation of ecotourism has been approached before. In her study, Ashley (2000: 21 et seq.) measures the following aspects: cash income, decreased vulnerability, food security, cultural benefits, pride and empowerment, and physical security. Thereby, in her understanding cash income is crucial as it significantly impacts other criteria, such as vulnerability and food security. Cash income accrues at the community and the household level, and both are estimated. Campbell (1999) evaluates the current levels and the economic value of overnight tourism, the community perceptions of tourism industry and of opportunities for tourism-based employment, and the potential for tourism to reduce dependence on and/or conflict with current livelihoods. In the present study, I incorporate aspects of Campbells approach: community perceptions and compatibility with traditional livelihoods are both key aspects of my evaluation. Ross and Wall (1996a) build their evaluation upon the four basic ecotourism principles (see page 17). Out of the principles they deduce criteria for evaluation. The following criteria used

Stakeholder is, strictly speaking, not a theoretical concept, nor a theory. It is rather a problem-oriented approach. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), a stakeholder is an actor having a stake or interest in a physical resource, ecosystem service, institution, or social system, or someone who is or may be affected by a public policy.

Theoretical Framework


by the authors are relevant for the present study: local participation and provision of local socioeconomic benefits. In respect of socio-economic benefits, the authors note that benefits can be financial (employment, revenues) as well as infrastructural (transport, communication, and access to and provision of goods and services) and social (health care, education and others). In the present evaluation of ecotourism in Laikipia an emphasis is put on community benefits as new and improved infrastructure, and services. Wallace and Pierce (1996) evaluate a total of six criteria, among them two are of socioeconomic nature and useful for the present study. Wallace and Pierce (1996: 850) write that ecotourism must maximize the early and long-term participation of local people in the decisionmaking process that determines the kind and amount of tourism that should occur, and direct economic and other benefits to local people that complement rather than overwhelm or replace traditional practices (farming, fishing, social systems, etc.). They put emphasis on participation and local community support for tourism, on community benefits and diverse economic activities. Figure 6 illustrates the logic of measurement. It commences with the research interest whether ecotourism can serve as an agent for sustainable development. Then it lists the criteria of the two goals of the study. Namely, I measure the socio-economic impact of tourism and conservation attitudes of relevant stakeholders. In terms of socio-economic impact, I measure the local economic impact, the impact on host communities and employment, and the socio-economic sustainability of tourism. As for conservation attitudes, I conduct a stakeholder analysis to identify differences amongst relevant groups. Subjects of investigation are ecotourism, perceptions of benefit distribution and decision-making in conservation, and the link between community benefits and conservation support. In the methodological Chapter, I elaborate on how these issues will be measured, that is operationalised into indicators.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Figure 6. Research structure: the studys research logic shows the criteria of measurement, subdivided into socio-economic impact and conservation attitudes.

The present study is case-centred. The evaluation focuses on the selected cases, which are ecotourism lodges in the area of Laikipia, Kenya. This approach considers impacts that are caused by the selected cases; consequently it will attribute tourism impact to the respective cases, and not to all tourism in Laikipia. The case-centred research logic is presented in Figure 7. In the Methodology chapter I elaborate in details on this case-centred approach. Socio-economically, an ecotourism venture directly impacts the local economy, the local livelihoods and attributes benefits to local communities. Certainly, some cases may not attribute any benefits to the adjacent communities at all; and livelihood impacts are not necessarily beneficial, they can be constraining too. The assessment of these local impacts is discussed and structured in three main parts. The evaluation of each cases direct impacts is the focus for the part socio-economic impact. The part of conservation attitudes focuses on stakeholder perspectives of conservation and benefit sharing, while the third part looks at impact evaluation and indirect impacts. Further I will test the hypothesis that is indicated in Figure 7. The basic assumption is as follows: when community members benefit from tourism in any form, they will be willing to conserve wildlife and habitat, or, latently, conservation attitudes are more supportive.

Theoretical Framework


Figure 7. Case-centred research structure, showing direct economic impacts of a case and indirect impacts on conservation support.

In conclusion of this Chapter, the concretised research questions are summarized as:


Local economic and socio-economic impact. The study is interested in the local economic impact of ecotourism. Therefore, I estimate financial impact and employment, multiplier effects and leakage. Additionally, community impact and local livelihood impact must be considered to embrace socio-economic impact. Socio-economic sustainability. With appropriate indicators, this study will evaluate each study sites socio-economic sustainability. Conservation attitudes. The study further investigating conservation attitudes and different stakeholder opinions. Namely on benefit sharing and benefit distribution, and on decision-making in conservation. Further, the question whether economic benefits lead to conservation sensibility or not is examined.

(2) (3)

Associated to these research questions, I present hypotheses to be tested. These hypotheses are to be understood as temporary answers to the research questions, justified from the theoretical background presented above.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

(1) (2) (3) (4)

Local economic impact from ecotourism in Laikipia is comparatively high. Ecotourism in Laikipia is compatible with local livelihoods, while the over-all impact on local livelihoods is positive. Ecotourism in Laikipia is socio-economically sustainable. While economic benefits have a positive influence on conservation attitudes, communities who participate in tourism are also more conservation-minded than others.


In the Chapter Theoretical Framework, I laid the theoretical foundation for the studys following Chapters. I discussed the current state of research in ecotourism, current methods used to evaluate the impact of ecotourism, and presented the theories and theoretical concepts that the study refers to. The literature review reveals that ecotourism can contribute to both environmental protection and economic growth. The term ecotourism has proved to be very popular. It is used by conservationists as much as by tourism industry. As ecotourism inherently is a niche market (Mastny 2001), its widespread use contains the risk of a greenwashing and blurring with different forms of nature tourism. Thus, an evaluation is required that concentrates on the economic impact of ecotourism, including economic benefits, as one of several principles that define ecotourism. The second objective of the investigation is to assess the conservation attitudes from relevant stakeholders and the link between the afore mentioned benefits and conservation support in the local community. I have presented the theories and concepts of reference and discussed their implication for the present study. The concept of livelihoods and the theory of sustainable development establish a particularly fruitful basis for the evaluation of ecotourism. Livelihoods is a very appropriate analytical concept to define indicators in order to identify impacts on the local economy, while sustainable development can be understood as the target state. Based on the concept of value chains, multiplier effects and leakage can be defined. Both are employed to estimate the local and regional economic impact. Indicators to face the research questions are selected analytically, and derived from theory and literature respectively. The indicators are presented in the following section.



The aim of this methodological part is to define the basic design of this research; a logic that links the above formulated research questions to the data to be collected (and interpreted to draw conclusions). Therefore, in the following I will discuss the operationalisation of indicators that have been deduced from theory and analytically drawn from hypothesis. The data collection strategy and the field procedures will be illustrated as well as the data analysis. Finally, the choice of study sites is established and each site will be described. But first of all, I present the field of case study research as the methodological approach to ecotourism evaluation.

The case study approach is suited for and widely approached in evaluation, e.g. policy evaluation. Case studies are employed to explain the link between policy intervention in real-life and the respective outcome. The same applies to project implementation. This logic can be adapted to the present study: impact analysis show whether the desired ecotourism objectives correspond to the actual outcome, and whether this outcome can be attributed to ecotourism. The studys objective is to measure the impact of ecotourism at ecotourisms own objectives, which are implied in the definition. The case study is the methodological frame for the present study. In a meta-analysis, Xiao and Smith (2005) found that the case study approach is widely spread in tourism research and unjustifiably stereotyped as conceptually and analytically weak among social science methods. According to the authors, case study research is not suited for exploratory studies solely, but just as well for confirmable results. Yin (2003: 13, 14) writes that case study research investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context and relies on multiple sources of evidence. The author further notes that the case study as a research strategy comprises an allencompassing method: covering the logic of design, data collection techniques and specific


Evaluating ecotourism in Laikipia

approaches to data analysis. In this sense, the case study is neither a data collection tactic, nor merely a design feature alone. This has implications for the research design, namely for case selection, data collection and generalization. The different ecotourism ventures included in this study operate in different contexts. The institutional context of Laikipia District is the same for all of them, but physical features such as climate vary already greatly. Considerable differences, although not between all sites, can be found in the socio-cultural context. These differences in context must be taken into account. In data analysis for example, direct comparison between cases is restricted and all comparisons must be made under consideration of the respective context. Likewise, any inference of results must consider the context. Case studies can be generalized to theoretical propositions and not to populations or universes. This is because the case study does not represent a sample (Yin 2003). The generalization of the case study occurs of afore developed hypotheses that are confronted with rival theories. In Yin (2003), generalizing results this way is called analytic generalization and is opposed to statistical generalization that is based on the logic of random sampling. In the present study however, cases are not selected randomly. Each case is selected to represent a purpose. The selection is described below in Chapter 4.5. In the present study, the single ecotourism venture is the unity of analysis and, in the same time, the case (Yin 2003). Most case studies in tourism define a spatial entity as unity of analysis, mostly a location (such as a NP) with its respective tourism activity, resulting in a single case study.6 In the present study, the spatial link is established through a multiple case design: within Laikipia District (the spatial dimension for the study) five ecotourism ventures (the cases) were selected. This study therefore embraces multiple units of analysis. As another innovation, the study employs a stakeholder approach to reach an assessment that is as comprehensive as possible. Stakeholders are actor categories or actor groups who are affected by tourism activities or have an interest (a stake) in tourism. For the present study, stakeholders are identified in each case study site, as well as on the level of Laikipia District. Within the ecotourism context of Laikipia, the most important stakeholders are: management, employees, local communities, visitors, regional (and national) government and governmental departments, landowners (private, groups and communities), local NGOs and Groups. Sindiga (1995: 48) provides a comprehensive list of stakeholders in Kenyan wildlife management. For the present study, the ecotourism management, lodge employees, case-adjacent communities and visitors are considered as stakeholders in the case study sites. For Laikipia District, local government, KWS Laikipia and Laikipia Wildlife Forum have been considered as stakeholders.

There is a high proportion in publishing single case studies (around 70 %) in tourism research. A small number of researchers adopt either two/comparative or multiple case designs (Xiao and Smith 2005).





In the following I will explain the steps required to get from the theoretically founded and formulated research questions to measuring data. For this purpose, the theoretical concepts and interests are written out into measurable indicators. As the evaluation is split into two parts, I first illustrate how the socio-economic impact is measured, and then the measuring of conservation attitudes is explained.


As discussed in Chapter 3.2 the choice of socio-economic impact indicators is building upon ecotourism criteria deduced from its definition. For the purpose of this study, socio-economic criteria are defined in a broad way, not purely financial. Accordingly, several characteristics must be measured to estimate the impact. These socio-economic criteria to be assessed are the following ones:

(1) (2) (3)

Economic impact on the regional economy Local community impact: community benefits and livelihood impact Socio-economic sustainability

As for impact on the regional economy, it can be measured with data from business statistics and information from the management. Here, objects to measure are purchases, employment and tax paying for each study site on different scales (mainly national and regional). When assessing regional economic impacts, multiplier effects and leakage must be taken into account. Multiplier effects, as explained in Theoretical Background (see 3.5.3), are economic secondary effects in the local economy. Assessing multiplier effects in depth is so extensive and laborious that it would go beyond the scope of this study, also it would require a different approach. Multiplier effects into the regional economy can not be assessed with the present focus on the case study sites: the major economic impact is felt in Nanyuki town, which is not directly included in any of the cases and economic influence from Tourism on Nanyuki is manifold and not attributable to any of the cases. So, instead of quantifying direct, indirect and induced effects in this study, the community-members have been asked for changes in business activities in the respective communities to estimate multiplier effects on a local level. Additionally, with expert interviews, the multiplier effects in the regional economy are assessable. Leakage, the proportion of revenues that flows out of or does not reach the destination region, can be assessed using parameters from business statistics, similar to impact on the regional economy. The indicators employed to measure leakage are: the import of capital and building materials, the import of consumables (food and drinks), the employment of foreigners, outflow of profits (repatriation by foreign companies) and payment for promotion and advertisement in foreign countries by travel agencies and other companies. Leakage can be estimated for each study site and be compared in-between cases.


Evaluating ecotourism in Laikipia

Impact on local communities embraces community benefits as well as impact on local livelihoods. Benefits to local communities is a central issue of this study, accordingly it is evaluated from various perspectives. On the one hand, the study looks at the quantitative magnitude of community benefits. Therefore, community respondents were asked to rate perceived benefits to the community and whether tourism is good for the community or not. On the other hand, in a qualitative analysis, the nature of community benefits was explored. Respondents were asked to name benefits to the community that are engendered by the respective ecotourism venture. Community benefits could then be analysed for each study site comparatively. Livelihood implications ask for a tourism induced change in local livelihoods. Community respondents were asked in an open question whether tourism and conservation imposes constraints on other activities. In a standardized question block, community-members rated tourism and conservation impact on crop farming, livestock keeping and grazing, loss of land, security and infrastructure from positive to negative. Regarding socio-economic sustainability, I aim at appraising whether ecotourism as an economic activity is socio-economically sustainable. The study is however not assessing if ecotourism leads to sustained economic growth or if it is economically viable. The operationalisation of socio-economic sustainability already is proposed in the preceding Chapter and recapped here. It is measured with the following indicators: reasonable employment income, perceived equality of working possibilities, stability of commodity prices and diversity of economic activities (Tsaur et al. 2006 and Wallace and Pierce 1996). Equality of working opportunities implies that jobs are assigned according to qualification instead of ethnic origin or gender. Diversity of economic activities namely means that ecotourism is sustainable when not reducing traditional activities. The measurement for all of the above indicators occurs through the questionnaire for community-members except for the indicator on reasonable employment income, which is assessed through data triangulation of employees and community-members interviews.


To reach comprehensive findings in a case study, it is essential to respect all stakeholders. The stakeholder analysis examines whether substantial differences prevail among stakeholders. Differences concerning conservation and benefit-sharing potentially lead to conflicts and jeopardize sustainable development. I assess stakeholder perspectives on the following issues:

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Principles of ecotourism Benefit distribution and decision-making in conservation

As established in the preceding Chapter, ecotourism comprises the following principles: minimal impact on local environment and culture, benefits to local communities and education. Ecotourism will be most successful when these principles are supported equally by all stakeholders. These elements are operationalised with the following indicators: importance of



job creation, infrastructural benefits to the community, nature conservation, wildlife protection, avoiding negative influences on local culture, visitors learning about the environment and local traditions. Respondents are invited to rate the importance of each principle. An actor-based confrontation of results reveals potential conflicts, originating in emphasising different objectives. It must be noted that, in principle, all these elements are desirable; consequently, small differences between actor groups will constitute the evidence. Secondly, varying perceptions of benefits will be analysed, by asking respondents to name the actor group that benefits most from tourism in Laikipia. Again, congruence of answers among stakeholders is desirable, because discontent about benefit distribution potentially leads to animosity. More important is accordance in decision-making in conservation. The study aims to know opinions about the responsibility of wildlife protection of all stakeholders. Which actor group should decide over conservation and why or why not will be explained. Like this, the study tries to reveal possible dissonances and conflicts of stakes, and reveals if an actor category is being excluded from decision-making and benefit-sharing. Additionally, the study pursues the link between community benefits and community conservation support which is underlying the ecotourism paradigm. The question is whether wildlife does pay for itself, through generating tourism income to compensate for conservation. I approach this issue with two strategies. On one hand, an indication is provided through the open interview questions on wildlife benefits, answers can be analysed interpreted qualitatively. On the other hand, in a pivot table, I can compare conservation attitude and perceived tourism benefits. Calculations however, can not be conducted, as statistical tests are not feasible with the present sampling logic.



The present study employs a mix of methods. That is, quantifiable data are complemented with qualitative data to reach comprehensive results. In fact, for the purpose of this study, a purely quantitative approach is as inappropriate as a purely qualitative approach. I adopt a mixed approach for multiple reasons:


This study aims at understanding a complex social phenomenon comprehensively. As I do not focus on understanding a single relationship within the whole context of ecotourism and economic impact that would be possible to analyse in a laboratory comparable situation, I rely on multiple sources of data. Yin (2003: 97) notes that a major strength of case study data collection is the opportunity to use many different sources of evidence () furthermore, the need to use multiple sources of evidence far exceeds that in other research strategies, such as experiments, surveys, or histories.


Evaluating ecotourism in Laikipia


And simply for practical research reasons, open-ended and in-depth questions complement quantitative data in a very constructive way. Qualitative research actually offers the possibilities to ask why-questions in this study. Whyquestions reveal the motivation and reason behind actions and statistical relationships and disclose rationalities. Further, qualitative research allows for hypothesis-generation.

For data collection, questionnaires have been designed. In each case study site, the same questionnaire was used for each stakeholder group. The questionnaires for community-members and management are the two most important ones; accordingly they are more extensive than the questionnaire for employees. For lodge visitors, a self-administered questionnaire was designed and to be distributed by the lodge management. I do not aim to present all interview questions here. For specification, the questionnaires are quoted in Appendix 3: Questionnaires. I rather provide an overview of every questionnaires content in the following. For employees, the main interest is around salary. Satisfaction with salary, compared to tourism industry and different sectors respectively, saving, tips, sideline income, training, pension, medical assistance and employee participation are questioned. Management interviews mainly turn around four issues: lodge history, business statistics, local and regional economic impact and community participation and benefits. Community-member interviews comprise questions around community-benefits, tourisms impact on local livelihoods and infrastructure, as well as the respondents personal situation within and relationship towards tourism. Additionally, questions regarding ecotourism principles and conservation attitudes are included in all questionnaires in the same form. For data processing they will enable an inter-stakeholder comparison. As introduced above, quantifiable questions are combined with open and in-depth questions. For the most part, in the questionnaire quantitative questions are followed up by qualitative questions to further elaborate on the numerical values. The different sources of information quantifiable and qualitative data from interviews, observation and informal conservation are not examined apart from each other. Rather, data from multiple sources of information are converged (see below under data processing).


For data collection, I stayed in Laikipia District from November 2006 to March 2007, the tourism peak season. The first month was used to design questionnaires and to get first insights into the study area. Interviews were conducted from December 2006 to early February 2007. For performing the interviews in the field, I was supported by Nicholas Mwangi Githumbi. He provided knowledge in the local language, Kiswahili, as well as the rules of local conduct, both was essential for interview translations and establishing contacts within the communities. Prior to actual field work, we visited every study sites management for research permission and to



get first impressions into the company and the respective community or communities. Subsequently, we accomplished the interviews within about 4 days at each of the respective sites. At Il Polei and the Nanyuki River Camel Camp we conducted a rather extensive pretesting that led to a slight adjustment of the questionnaires, but foremost helped refining some of the field procedures. Namely, this experience taught us to interview a selection of community-members diverse in space and hierarchy. In all sites we first of all presented to the chief or the chairman of the respective community for an interview and to ask research permission for his community. The authoritys confidence acted as a gate opener and tremendously facilitated community contact, in such a way that the interviewees felt free and comfortable to answer honestly. Usually, a local guide or wildlife scout was assigned to show us the way around in the community. The staff interviews were accomplished at the respective lodges. Experience during field work demonstrated the importance of communication. With the lodge management as well as with the community leaders it is pertinent to attain a relationship that is characterized by mutual trust. Open communication facilitated access to tourism operators and community-members and made information available. A good relationship also made it simple to plan the field stay in such a way as to save time. Generally, lodge managements were very open for collaboration, community-members anyway. In one case however (Ol Pejeta), collaboration did not work. Most likely this is because we established contact with the head of the research department instead of the management that has the authority to allow research. Some complications also emerged during field work. The rate of return of visitor questionnaires was too low to include visitor information in the study. The data lost herewith affect diverse target fields of analysis. The main losses are visitor spending patterns outside the lodge in order to estimate economic impact regionally and in the local communities, as well as visitors conservation attitude and perception of ecotourism principles for the stakeholder analysis (see questionnaire in Appendix 9.3.4). For this study, respondents are chosen according to a selective sample and not via a random sampling of the basic population. That is, as for within the communities, key respondents were selected respective to gender, geographical dispersion, age and occupation. Further, in every study site community authorities (chief and chairman), elders, youth and a shopkeeper were interviewed. In all five communities around 12 interviews were done, totalling 60 interviews with community-members. As for the staff interviews, a mix of employees was selected such that every relevant department or occupation was represented. No special attention however was given to gender and ethnic origin. On average, six employees were interviewed in every study site, totally, 29 employees interviews were conducted. As for the management interview, in each study site the most appropriate respondent was chosen. That was either the Lodge Manager (as in Ol Gaboli, Borana and Sosian Ranch), the Accountant (Il Ngwesi), or the Managing Director (Koija Starbeds). The table below lists the number of interviews conducted. See 9.2 for an extensive table.


Evaluating ecotourism in Laikipia

Table 3. Number of interviews conducted at the respective sites.

Il Ngwesi Lodge Community members Employees 11 6

Ol Gaboli Bandas 12 4

Koija Starbeds 12 6

Borana Ranch 13 7

Sosian Ranch 12 6

Total 60 29

In addition to data collection at the case study site, a number of expert interviews was accomplished to achieve a comprehensive perspective on Laikipia. These experts complete the list of stakeholders representing the different interests prevalent in Laikipia. They embrace the District Development Officer (DDO) of Laikipia, the Clerk to the County Council of Laikipia, the Directory of KWS, Nanyuki Branch and the Director of the LWF. Not included in this selection are other NGOs and interest groups apart from LWF. Humanitarian NGOs such as World Vision, located in Nanyuki and Dol Dol, could have been considered. Public and parastatal institutions stakes are well represented with the DDO, the Clerk and the KWS.


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Impact of ecotourism can also be studied with different approaches. I can namely think of three alternative research designs that are conceivable. To better study the impact of ecotourism on conservation attitudes, a quasi-experimental research design can be adopted. This strategy is conceivable by studying communities affected by tourism and by comparing them with communities not affected by tourism. The problem hereby is the selection of study sites, as communities must have a social and economic structure as similar as possible for being comparable. A second alternative is to evaluate a selection of cases with a longitudinal study design. In doing so, conservation attitudes could be studied over time and be compared to benefits from tourism. The disadvantage of this strategy is the time span of several years needed in-between field stays. The third alternative is to sample the respondents randomly. With a more concise questionnaire, a high number of interviews could be conducted, making statistical comparison applicable. Also for practical reasons however, a random sampling is very difficult to conduct. There are no telephone books, or house numbers and a census is too time intensive. My selective sample comes closest to alternative samples such as quotas. The difficulty implied in quotas is the missing information on the population. A quantitative approach also contains the risk of loss of information, as the in-depth questions are left out. As becomes evident, all research designs have merits and demerits. Thus, the research design I chose for the present study seems to be the most applicable.





Like the data collection strategy, data analysis comprises both, qualitative as well as quantitative aspects. Combining different sources of data is the strategy of triangulation. Denzin (1989, in Flick 2002) distinguishes four types of triangulation: data-triangulation, researcher-triangulation, theory-triangulation, and methodological-triangulation. In the present study, I employ the data and methods triangulation. While data-triangulation is achieved through adapting different ways of data collection, methodological-triangulation is either done within the same questionnaire through different sub-scales or with different kinds of questionnaires. As for data-triangulation, I include evidence from different types of respondents (stakeholders) and different places (cases). Further I combine qualitative and quantitative data strategies for the same questions, which is a methodological triangulation. According to Flick (2002: 331), triangulation is not so much a strategy for the validation of findings. It rather strives to enrich and complement findings, as compared to a single method approach. For data processing, Excel and SPSS software were used. Data from interviews was entered into Excel and SPSS charts. Quantifiable interview data was coded and entered into SPSS charts. Data from open-ended questions was entered into Excel charts in note form. Similar respondent statements were merged to codes thereof. Data analysis for the most part takes the form of descriptive statistics. Charts were made with Excel and Pivot tables were made with SPSS. In general, any question from the questionnaire was transformed into an indicator. Not all questions however were analysed. Qualitative data was content analyzed and converged with results from quantifiable data.



Within the case study area Laikipia, five ecotourism ventures were chosen to be analyzed as cases. All operators referred to themselves as ecotourism ventures, or ecolodges. The selection of cases was conducted in a way to maximize the inter-case diversity in respect of size (guest volume and turn-over) and ownership (level of community participation: from communitybased to private). In a multiple case design, each case should serve a specific purpose within the overall scope of inquiry. This selection does not have to be representative in terms of a random sampling, as following the case study research strategy, the basic population is not sampled normally. The multiple case study does much more follow the logic of replication, like in multiple experiments, and not the logic of sampling (Yin 2003). As introduced above, with case studies the inference is based upon theory building. Consequently, the choice of cases must follow these theoretical assumptions. Despite the big number of 50 tourism providers in Laikipia, the choice was restricted. First, not all of them are engaged in the hotel sector, there are tour operators/safari organizers among them as well. Secondly, not all of the remaining institutions are ecotourism lodges per definition,


Evaluating ecotourism in Laikipia

but common hotels. Thirdly, not all of these lodges are clearly defined in space, such that the impact is merely measurable: in some cases, a lodge is part of a conservancy featuring several institutions (Lewa Wildlife Conservancy), in other cases no communities can be attributed to the lodge (Nanyuki River Camel Camp). And lastly, despite a great openness to research in Laikipia, one venture that perfectly suited the research design refused cooperation (Ol Pejeta Conservancy) and another suitable venture does not receive any visitors currently (Il Polei). Among the remaining ventures however, a sound selection could be made. The five selected cases are ecolodges, with a definable territory and neighbourhood and a conservation area. An ecolodge typically offers a package of accommodation and outdoor activities such as game drives. Il Ngwesi Lodge was chosen as a community-based ecotourism venture. Ol Gaboli Bandas represents a private-community joint-venture with high visitors volume and prices at the lower end. Koija Starbeds, too, is a private-community joint-venture but at the higher end in terms of prices. Borana Ranch is a family run institution on a ranch with high visitors volume and a high-end offer. Sosian Ranch House is on privately owned land too and is run by an international corporation. These five ecolodges and their respective adjacent communities are described in the following. Most information is taken out from interviews and conversations at the various sites.


# 1

Il Ngwesi is an award winning community lodge, situated on the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch land within Mukodogo Division Northern Laikipia, bordering Samburu District. The lodge is run by the local Maasai7 community with support from the neighbouring Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC). Tourism activity began on initiative by Ian Craig, the owner of LWC. In the year 1984, he lost a considerable part his livestock to a severe drought. Subsequently, he sold out the remaining cattle and established the LWC to get an income from tourism. Later, he convinced the Il Ngwesi community to engage in ecotourism and consider habitat conservation. In the year 1996, the community received a total of 10 million Kenyan Shillings initial capital by various donors through AWF for the lodge construction. Ever since, a growing area of the community land is kept apart for conservation and, with tourism income, the community is buying land to make people live outside the growing conservancy. The Group Ranch size is 16500 acres, while 6500 acres are kept apart for conservation. The lodge still receives a considerable amount of donor funds that helps running the 1380 bed nights business. Roundly 25 % of the lodge income is contributed by donors. The Il Ngwesi Group Ranch that comprises a population of 6000 is organised as follows: The Group Ranch Management Committee (GRMC) presides over the Board of Trustees (BOT) and

Maasai is a nilotic semi-nomadic ethnic group located in Kenya and Northern Tanzania.



the Board of Directors (BOD). The BOT is in charge of conservation and employs security and wildlife scouts. It is getting an income through the conservation fee (bed night levy of US$ 40 for non-residents and 1000 KES for residents). The BOD is the management body of the lodge. It is running the lodge independently, on commercial basis, on behalf of the BTO. Over the years, Il Ngwesi Lodge became more and more independent from Lewa Conservancy. Now, the Lodge is run by the community autonomously and any support (such as infrastructure) received through LWC is accounted for. The remaining service, for which Il Ngwesi is still relying on LWC, is access to donations through the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). The NRT is a Trust founded by LWC to support conservation in the communities bordering the Conservancy on its Northern side. Apart Il Ngwesi Group Ranch, five other communities benefit from it.


> 4

The Ol Gaboli Bandas lodge is owned by the Il Motiok community. The Il Motiok Woman Group owns the hard assets such as buildings and leases the land to Rift Valley Adventures (RVA). The Kenyan registered company RVA, based in Nanyuki, is managing all tourism at Ol Gaboli. RVA bore some of the costs of constructing the huts and can deduct this expense from the lease. The community and the donor-attractive women group additionally received some donations from USAid. Neighbouring Mpala Ranch is assisted the community in compiling funds proposals. The community zoned a conservation area of 3000 acres. In the near future, Il Motiok Women Group want to register as a Trust. RVA offers adventure-oriented activities, including white water rafting, mountain climbing, and social community projects. The clientele mainly consists of big groups, school classes especially. Accordingly, the price level is moderate and accommodation is rather basic and the visitor volume is higher (2000 2500 bed nights).


Koija Starbeds is a community-owned lodge that is established and managed by the neighbouring Loisaba Wilderness. The community does not participate in business decisionmaking, but does own the buildings that have been funded by USAID and provides the entire workforce. Visitors to Loisaba Wilderness have the option to spend one night or more at Koija Starbeds and, as the name indicates, sleep in tree houses under the stars. The community is getting an income through a bed night levy paid by Loisaba Wilderness. Bed nights reach an annual average of 500. The community set aside 500 acres for conservation and game walks. The heart of the Koija Group Ranch structure is the Koija Community Trust. It is a quarterly meeting body where the community and its partners are represented. The partners are Loisaba Wilderness, the lodge manager, and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), which figures as


Evaluating ecotourism in Laikipia

an honest broker between Loisaba Wilderness and the community. The Group Ranch is further organised into the management committee (around the chairman) and various stakeholder groups (women, youth, warriors, dancers and bursary).


Borana Lodge is an upper-class lodge on the private, family-owned 35000 acres Borana Ranch, situated north of Laikipia, on the eastern edge of Laikipia. Borana Ranch is a working ranch. That is, it combines cattle ranching and safari tourism, with tourism being the bigger share and contributing 80% to total turn-over. The Lodge, established in 1993, counts an average of 3000 bed nights per annum.8 Borana Ranch is surrounded by the following communities: Ethi, Sanga and Ngare Ndare. On its Western side, Borana is bordering Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The neighbourhood with Lewa is of very positive nature (the plan to remove the fence for the sake of a bigger common conservation area is to be realized soon). Borana Ranch is cooperating with all adjacent communities, especially Ngare Ndare and Ethi, as Sanga lies within the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch. Additionally, Borana Ranch does support the community-based Tassia Lodge in a very crucial way.



Sosian Ranch House is the tourism part of Sosian Ranch that combines tourism and cattle like Borana Ranch, with tourism counting for about 80% of the income as well. The place is run and owned by Samburumburu Ltd., a Kenyan registered company with ten shares. Two shares are English-held and six shares are Kenyan-owned, two others are held in the USA and in Argentina respectively. Now, the lodge is still putting resources into construction. However, apart from starting capital, no money does flow into Kenya from abroad, and so far no money left the country. The 24000 acres ranch is situated in Western Laikipia and provides accommodation for up to 14 visitors in a renovated 1940s-era ranch house. The lodge counts around 1000 bed nights per annum. Sosian offers a variety of safari products. Sosian Ranch is surrounded by private ranches (Mpala, Ol Maisor and Kisima Farm) on 80% of its boarders and by the Samburu9 community Sugutan. On the Western and North-western side, the ranch is neighboured by the villages of Kinamba and Tinga Mara. Sosian Ranch is not really integrated in its neighbourhood, interaction is highly limited. This fact may be due to Sosian operating since relatively recent times only.

The name Borana originates from the cattle breed of the same name that used to be raised on the ranch for years, not the ethnic group.

Samburu is a semi-nomadic pastoralist ethnic group in North-central Kenya, related to but distinct from the Maasai.



Table 4. Overview of selected cases.

Il Ngwesi Lodge Ownership Land and asset ownership Origin of initial capital invested Involved community/ communities Size of area/ community (km2) Conserved area (km2) Bed capacity
Community Community Donations Il Ngwesi

Ol Gaboli Bandas
PrivateCommunity Community Private/ Donations Il Motiok

Koija Starbeds
PrivateCommunity Community Private/ Donations Koija

Borana Ranch
Private (family) Private Private Ethi, Sanga, Ngare Ndare, 121 121 16

Sosian Ranch
Private (Holding) Private Private Kinamba, Tinga Mara Sugutan 97 97 14

71 15 16

37 12 80

61 2 6



The Maasai communities of Il Motiok, Koija and Il Ngwesi are very comparable. The land is owned by the community and has not been subdivided into private plots; it is managed by the various group ranches. The population is almost exclusively of Maasai origin and depending highly on pastoralist livestock keeping in a semi-arid environment as a livelihood strategy. There, income from tourism is complementary as income generating activities are scarce and Maasai people seem to be less business- and market-oriented than other tribes. Income from tourism is used for infrastructural projects and bursaries. Further, these three Maasai communities managed to preserve their culture and lifestyle. This highly traditional way of life is forming an additional tourism attraction. As the lodge is located on community land in these three places, only one community needed to be studied. For Sosian and Borana Ranch the case is different. The lodges lie on private land that is surrounded by community land and private land. Communities around Sosian Ranch and Borana Ranch are culturally less homogenous and their population is not of Maasai origin uniquely. The communities also are more diverse economically, going beyond livestock keeping and trading. Around Borana Ranch, three adjacent communities have been studied: Ethi, Ngare Ndare and Sanga. In Ethi (300 households, average 1800 residents), the land is subdivided and privately owned. The main activity is mixed farming (crop farming and livestock keeping). The community consists of Kikuyu and Maasai people. Ngare Ndare (2000 residents, Kisima Location population of 8000) is very similar to Ethi. Land is privately owned, mixed farming is the prevailing activity and people are mainly Kikuyu, Maasai and Merian.10 Part of Ngare Ndare

Kikuyu is a Bantu ethnic group. The Kikuyu form Kenyas most populous group. Merian people, from the ethnic group Meru, are related to the Kikuyu.


Evaluating ecotourism in Laikipia

community lies in Meru district. It must be added that Ngare Ndare is neighbouring Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and is receiving benefits through them as well. In interviews, respondents were asked to answer on impacts generated by Borana. Respondents were very much able to distinguish between different impacts. Sanga (population of 450) is a Maasai community that is part of the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch. Here, like described above, respondents were asked to distinguish between different impacts. The land in Sanga is owned by the community and people are pastoralists. Sosian Ranch has three neighbouring communities too: Kinamba, Tinga Mara and Sugutan. Kinamba (population 2500) is a squatter settlement that has experienced a considerable growth in its population in recent times. The land was initially given out by the former owner of Sosian Ranch to house his employees and subsequently attracted immigration of job seekers, hoping to find employment on a neighbouring ranch. The village is tribally mixed, with a Turkana majority. In Kinamba occupation is diversified, with a few businesses and employment with surrounding farms, farming and livestock-keeping. Unemployment though is very high and dependence on government aid is substantial. The population of Tinga Mara (population 400) is mostly Kikuyu. It is a quite new settlement consisting of people who fled zones of tribal clashes in Rift Valley Province. The land has been provided by a Catholic Mission. The only occupation is farming and environmental circumstances are rather unfavourable for farming. They do not keep livestock anymore as a lot of cattle rustling has occurred. Sugutan is a small Samburu community (population of around 150), actually occupying land of Sosian Ranch but shifting in place. The single economic activity is livestock keeping. Here it makes sense to briefly resume the discussion of research context. It becomes apparent that Il Ngwesi, Il Motiok and Koija, the three communities that feature lodges on their land, are similar in their social and economic structure but that the lodge setting is different. While Il Ngwesi comes close to true CBET (cp. Scheyvens 1999), the communities of Il Motiok and Koija are junior partners with questionable influence on the respective tourism venture. Borana Ranch and Sosian Ranch House on the other hand have the same organizational setting in common: a private business venture operating on privately owned land. Their adjacent communities however differ from the above illustrated. While direct statistical comparison between any of the cases is not applicable due to the theoretical sampling of the respondents, differences in tendencies can be examined, when the context is kept in mind.




In the methodological Chapter I have illustrated the application of case study research to the present study. The cases to be studied in this multiple case study are sampled theoretically: each case represents a purpose, which enables an analytical generalisation. Based on the theoretical background, I further established the operationalisation of economic impacts and conservation attitudes. As for data collection strategies, I put emphasis on the importance of diverse sources of information and on a comprehensive approach. Interview respondents were sampled selectively, paying attention to a similar selection in all studied cases. Data analysis finally was carried out using descriptive statistics, whereas different sources of evidence were converged (triangulation). Emphasis is further put on the selection and description of the cases where it becomes apparent that the studied ecolodges operate in different contexts. Whereas the communitybased lodges act in economically and socially relatively homogenous communities, the private lodges are surrounded by rather heterogeneous communities. The methodological Chapter suggests that conclusions must be drawn under consideration of the diverse contexts. The chosen research design has two limitations worth mentioning. Firstly, direct statistical comparability in-between cases is restricted to some extent, since respondents are not sampled randomly and because contexts vary. Secondly, impacts are captured on the local, rather than on the regional scale, mainly because impacts on the regional level are more difficult to attribute to a single case.


Evaluating ecotourism in Laikipia

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact



The empirical analysis of the study is classified into two thematic parts. First, I present the results from the socio-economic case analysis. In the following chapter I present empirical results from the stakeholder analysis on conservation attitudes. The socio-economic evaluation is relating to cases, that is, every cases impact is evaluated separately. Considering economic impact, several issues are of importance: I first discuss the economic impact and the impact on local communities and livelihoods. Subsequently, I judge the socio-economic sustainability of each study site.

The economic impact considers financial figures in order to compare the cases. This already provides a good first indication of the economic impact. To estimate the regional economic impact more comprehensively, in addition multiplier effects and profit leakage must be assessed.



With a selection of financial key figures, one can already approximately estimate the economic impact. The figures required are: financial turn-over, expenses, employment and tax payment. These figures, obtained from the management of the respective case study sites, are presented in Table 5. Borana Ranch clearly has the highest financial turn-over. A high guest volume and prices at the high end lead to total revenues of around US$ 1400000 annually. Thus, expenses and tax


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

payment from Borana Ranch are much higher than in the remaining comparable lodges. Consequently, the highest economic impact can be expected from Borana Ranch. The engendered demand for goods and services in Laikipia District is in fact three to twenty times higher than in other case study sites. National tax payment consists of PAYE (pay as you earn), VAT and catering levy. Even though Borana does not remit any PAYE, the difference in tax payment between Borana Ranch and the remaining lodges is similarly high. In terms of regional tax, the difference is lower. Regional tax, the County Council Levy, is measured according to capacity, not income or bed nights. The remaining lodges reach however a comparable turnover, originating from differing prices and bed nights. Koija Starbeds has very low expenses, as payment to community is not included. According to its economic success, Sosian Ranch has lower tax payments (no PAYE), while Il Ngwesi Lodge and Koija Starbeds are comparable in tax payment too. For reasons of confidentiality, the Ol Gaboli management did not share many of the financial figures with us. Some missing figures are estimated on the basis of figures such as bed nights and of informal conversations. Table 5. Financial key figures.
Il Ngwesi Lodge Turn-over (average) Total expenses Expenses District Annual bed nights Employment Tax national Tax District 130000 100000 60000 1380** 21 26000 2140 Ol Gaboli Bandas 215'000* 105'000* 21'000* 2000 9 N/A N/A Koija Starbeds 200000 30000 29400 500 8 20000 2140 Borana Ranch 1'400000 1000000 600000 3000 35 160000 2140 Sosian Ranch 290000 215000 170000 1000 55 8800 1140

Notes: Financial figures in US$, rounded. * Estimation based on personal conversation (+/- 50 %). ** Il Ngwesi has different conservation fees for residents and non-residents, bed nights were 540 and 840 respectively.

The expenses compared above are on the district level because the volume of local expenses, i.e. in communities around the respective lodge, is negligible. Communities mostly fail to provide what is demanded by the lodges and do not offer more than limited amounts of milk, eggs and meat. As for employment, the comparison is not as clear. In many lodges, park, ranch and lodge staff is engaged in different units, blurring a direct comparison. Borana Ranch for example counts 35 employees in the lodge and 180 on the whole ranch, while a total of 85 employees work for Sosian Ranch. One can however identify the rather low number of staff employed at Ol Gaboli Lodge and Koija Starbeds, where very few ranch scouts are employed. Plus, in the otherwise labour-intensive tourism industry (Neto 2003), tourism at Ol Gaboli has a low need for labour. As a lot of work is done by partnering Loisaba, for staff at Koija, their only task is to cater for guests at the lodge.

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact


An additional financial impact is generated through visitors local expenditures for souvenirs, food, transport and other goods. However such data from visitors could not be obtained and therefore this potentially important information is missing (see questionnaires in Appendix 9.3.4).



As I explained in Methodologies (4), quantifying multiplier effects is rather impossible with the present research design. Multiplier effects are most likely to occur on the District level, where this study can not assess them, and not in the community.11 Nevertheless, multiplier effects are estimated for the adjacent communities, namely from investigating community perceptions. Community-members have been asked for changes in business activities in the respective communities in this study, rather than quantifying direct, indirect and induced effects. The cumulated responses are presented in the Figure below.


8(< # '8< #

Figure 8. Perceived change in business activity in respective communities (N=59).

(< # 1 > 4 @ %

It becomes evident that the perceived economic impacts on the adjacent communities are low. Only in the Il Ngwesi community, some positive impact was perceived. For the purpose of this investigation, an analysis of community responses is done. Reasons why or why not tourism led to a change in business activity are numerous (figures are provided in 9.1, in Figure 27 and Figure 28). The most important argument seems to be around income effects. The crucial factor is whether lodge staffs have enough income to spend and whether they spend this income locally (in the community) or not. Consequently, the beneficiaries of economic impact are mostly small shops. Besides small shops and restaurants there is hardly any off-farm economic activity, and in some communities there is even no business activity at all. Other beneficiaries are livestock vendors, as many employees invest their income in additional livestock (goats and cattle). We were told that in the Il Ngwesi community the price for a goat tripled from around
In the district, mostly Nanyuki feels the impact. The LWF estimates that the Laikipia tourism sector annually spends 100000000 KES (1.4 million US$) in Nanyuki town for supplies such as food, fuel, maintenance of vehicles, hardware, plumbing supplies etc.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

KES 1000 to 3000 over the last few years since the opening of the lodge. Also, some community-members engage in livestock trading, buying livestock to resell it later. The second important impact mentioned by community-members is the curio business. Curio (foremost beadwork) that is since long produced for private purposes is now sold to tourists. Sales are increasing dramatically. Curio is one of very few direct economic links between the communities and tourism and, as informal economy, is providing a direct and immediate income for many local people. Consequently, community-members attribute a high economic potential to it. All communities - apart from communities adjacent to Sosian Ranch - felt a remarkable rise in beadwork. Nowadays, beadwork is even traded within some of the communities (for example Koija). An additional factor, observed in the Il Motiok community, is improved transport that leads to increased economic activity. Respondents state that improved transportation to the remote community leads to the emergence of small shops and higher prices for livestock. As for explanations why economic secondary effects do not occur in the respective communities, it is a reversed image. Community-members either state that staffs are too few to create an impact (Koija) or do not spend any of their income locally (Borana and Sosian), and that the lodge (Borana) or the tourists (Koija) do not spend locally. It must be mentioned that this is the community perception. In interviews, lodge managers state that they try to spend as much as possible locally and regionally. One can conclude that economic impacts in the communities are mainly attributable to direct and induced effects. Tourism does directly impact the local (informal) economy through the business for curio. Induced effects originate in the re-spending of incomes generated by the lodge. This impact however is limited as the number of staffs is low or because the income is spent elsewhere. Indirect effects can not be detected in any of the communities as none of the lodges is demanding any substantial goods and services from within the community. Not even agricultural products. Il Ngwesi lodge, for instance, monthly spends around US$ 1400 for foods alone and a negligible part is purchased in the community, despite the managements will. Because of lacking supplying capacity in the communities, the indirect economic benefits are generated in town (mostly Nanyuki). No supplying structure does emerge in the local communities. In the communities, economic secondary impacts remains more or less restricted to income effects, that is, induced effects.



Profit leakage, the process through which tourism income leaves the destination economy, reduces the local economic potential of tourism and must be considered in any impact evaluation. As discussed in the Methodology, for the purpose of this study, leakage is not assessed quantitatively, but rather estimated relative to the total expenses and the potential income in order to judge the extent of leakage at the specific sites. Leakage is assessed with the

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact


following indicators: import of building materials and financial capital, consumables (food and drinks), the employment of foreigners, outflow of profits (repatriation by foreign companies) and payment for promotion and advertisement in foreign countries by travel agencies and other companies. Imports do induce leakage that not only occurs at the regional but the national level. As for the import of building materials, the management in all cases state that Kenyan building materials were used. Imported consumables are frequently used in the lodges. As they are bought in Kenyan stores and not imported directly, quantification is nearly impossible. Imported financial capital is only present in Sosian Ranch in form of foreign investment. The import of services however leads to substantial leakage in the studied cases. LWF (personal communication) estimates that lodges on average pay as much as 30 % of their income for promotion abroad. The question was asked in all management interviews and the high figure is confirmed. In the case of Borana Lodge, this figure has been confirmed by the management. The Il Ngwesi Lodge pays a commission of 20 % to the travel agent. Visitors to Koija Starbeds largely arrive through Loisaba Wilderness, where leakage amounts to 30 % as well. In the case of Sosian Ranch, the imported service is considerably lower, as bookings are made through a Nanyuki company, owned by one of the investors, which charges 5 % commission. This way however, hidden leakage may arise. Figures for Ol Gaboli are missing. Leakage through employment of foreigners is minimal. Many employees are recruited from within Laikipia District, many from the local communities. Koija Starbeds on-site staffs are exclusively members of the Koija community, it is however low-skill employment. In the case of Il Ngwesi, only the chef and the accountant are recruited from outside the community. These rates are less favourable for the remaining lodges, which employ a small number from the adjacent communities. The repatriation of profits by foreign companies is not an issue in any of the studied cases, as only Sosian Ranch is not regionally owned. By now they did not break even in this lodge and are still investing into the infrastructure. In addition according to the lodge management future profits will be reinvested in the company. So far, from none of the studied lodges did any profit flow out of the country. In fact, the studied lodges do hardly make any profits to leak away.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Table 6. Purchasing pattern and leakage at the study sites.

Il Ngwesi Lodge National expenses (% of total) Regional expenses (% of total) Imported goods (% of total) Imported services (% of total) Estimated Leakage (in %) 100 100 0 20 20 Ol Gaboli Bandas 100 20 0 N/A 80 Koija Starbeds 100 98 0 30 31 Borana Ranch 100 60 0 30 58 Sosian Ranch 100 80 0 5 24

For a rough estimation, one can sum up leakage for imported services and for purchases outside Laikipia District. Thereby, leakage for spending outside the District is calculated on the missing inflow of profits due to travel agent commissions. Simply put, in the case of Borana Ranch, 30 % of total holiday costs paid per visitor to do not reach Laikipia, and another 40 % of the remaining income directly leaves Laikipia. Accordingly, leakage in Borana Lodge is at least 58 %. While in Sosian Ranch it amounts to 24 % or more, it is 31 % in the case of Koija Starbeds. The only leakage occurring at Il Ngwesi is for imported services and is 20 %. In the case of Ol Gaboli, leakage without travel agent commission is 80 %. Commission however may be less important, as a lot of sales are made via internet and word-of-mouth advertising.

The local community impact represents a major part of the evaluation. The impact on local communities can be called socio-economic in comparison to the above analysed economic impact, as the lodge likely affects the socio-economic structure of the local economy. The lodges influence on the community can be beneficial, i.e. improving livelihoods and community infrastructure, or disadvantageous, i.e. by constraining traditional livelihoods. In the following, I discuss the benefits and constraints on the local livelihoods, namely the magnitude of community benefits, the nature of perceived benefits, and the livelihoods impact. This analysis can only be case-centred.



Community lodges, as compared to private ventures, have a community income. In the present study, the CBET lodge Il Ngwesi generates a community income as well as Koija Starbeds and Ol Gaboli Bandas. The private Borana Lodge and Sosian Ranch do not provide a community income but can provide community infrastructure. In the case of Il Ngwesi, the Group Ranch receives a direct income through the conservation fees, which every visitor pays in form of a bed night levy. Additionally, the lodge, which is organisationally independent from the Group Ranch, annually pays a dividend to the Group

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact


Ranch. All together, the community income amounts US$ 47885 per annum. The annual general meeting decides on how the money is to be shared between the different community projects (water, education, medical services). The Il Motiok community and the Woman Group receive an income from Rift Valley Adventures in form of a land lease and through a bed night levy and a camping fee. The community income sums up to US$ 14285 17142 annually. The money is divided between the woman group and the group ranch. The former receives 70 % while the remaining 30 % are directed to the community. Loisaba Wilderness, the private partner who runs Koija Starbeds, remits a bed night levy and a conservation fee to Koija Group Ranch for each visitor. The annual community income sums up to US$ 40000 to 50000 (US$ 80 per bed night) and is to be understood as a land leasing fee and as community development. The money is mainly invested in bursaries; the aim is to send every kid to secondary school (at least). Additionally, Loisaba Wilderness is carrying out philanthropic activities (health and education) in the community, worth US$ 50000 per annum. Koija Group Ranch, formally the poorest around, is nowadays wealthier than its neighbours. The communities adjacent Borana Ranch do not get an income, but benefit through community projects funded by Borana: schools, roads, mobile clinic, radio phones and vital support of neighbouring CBET Tassia Lodge. The worth of these philanthropic investments is estimated to US$ 50000 or more annually. Sosian Ranch does not share benefits with local communities. The only philanthropic activity is executed in the Clinic of Kinamba where Sosian Ranch together with five surrounding ranches pays the nurses salaries worth US$ 285 monthly. Table 7. Annual community income and estimated value of philantrophic activities carried out by the lodge in adjacent communities.

Il Ngwesi Ol Gaboli Lodge Bandas Community income (rounded in US$) Estimated value of philanthropic activity (rounded in US$) 50000 15000*

Koija Starbeds 45000 50000

Borana Ranch

Sosian Ranch



Notes: information from interviews, * = estimated.

It becomes apparent that CBET is not automatically more beneficial than private ecotourism. Expert interviews indicate that CBET, standing at the beginning of its development, has a big potential. For the time being however, conventional tourism may have the bigger impact. A comparison of community perceptions on benefits from tourism supports the above statement. As shown in Figure 9, members from the Il Ngwesi community feel much more tourism induced benefits than members from communities around Sosian Ranch where almost no


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

benefits are felt. In the Il Motiok and Koija communities and in communities around Borana Ranch, perceived benefits are similarly high. This finding thus does not support the assumption according to which community participation leads to higher benefits or higher perceived benefits.
100% 3 1 50% ; 25% 0% # 1 > 4 @ % 3 1


Figure 9. Perceived benefits from tourism in the respective communities (N=60).



In interviews, community-members are asked to identify the most important improvement induced by tourism and to identify the element most urgent to improve. Following elements, all aspects of livelihood, were available for selection in the interviews: education, health, roads and transportation, communication, information, water supply, electricity and food security.
100% None Communication 50% Transport Health 25% Education


Figure 10. The most important tourism induced improvement, as perceived by communitymembers (N=59).

0% Il Ngw esi Ol Gaboli Koija Borana Sosian

Figure 10 illustrates quite a clear picture on the perceived improvements. Where an improvement in community infrastructure takes place, education is perceived as the major improvement and clearly outbalances health and communication, the second most important improvements. The improvement in education originates in the building of primary schools in the respective communities and in bursaries for secondary schools. As for medical services, small clinics have been built in several places with the incomes from tourism and Borana operates a mobile clinic. The improvement in communication can be attributed to the radios. In most communities radios become available with tourism and key persons (such as the local

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact


chief) receive a radio. In remote places, where transportation and mobile phone reception are minimal, radios highly facilitate communication. Respondents around Sosian Ranch perceive minimal improvement. As stated above, the lodge only provides assistance in the local clinic and a few respondents recognize an improvement. These results suggest on one hand that education is the factor that improved most and, on the other hand, is the factor most appreciated, more than medical services. This finding is supported by results on the element most urgent to improve, as shown in Figure 11. Figure 11. Community responses on the element most urgent to improve (N=60).


. !

Although the major improvement has been achieved in education, members of all communities perceive education as the element most urgent to improve. As compared to above (Figure 10), all elements are mentioned at least once to be the most urgent to be improved. In all communities, except Il Ngwesi where a pump was built, water supply is another important issue mentioned for improvement. The next most important issues are health, transportation and electricity. Transportation is notoriously weak in the studied communities. The areas are remote and public and private transport is rarely available. To reach public transport, long distances are to be covered on foot or by hitchhiking. Considerations of economic development must include means of transportation for the connection to markets and educational institutions. Figure 12 shows how the impact of tourism on different livelihoods aspects has been rated in the respective communities. According to Figure 12, education and communication improved most, followed by health, information and water supply. Food security improved little and in terms of power supply, no improvements are perceived. A comparison between cases shows that Sosian clearly falls behind, with no improvements in any of the rated livelihood aspects. While no improvements in medical services are cited in the Il Motiok community, transportation is badly rated in the Koija community. Interviewed members from the Il Ngwesi community rated livelihood improvements high. The aggregation of ratings gives an over-all impact on livelihood. It shows Sosian Ranch clearly falling behind and Il Ngwesi appearing above average. Ol Gaboli, Koija Starbeds and Borana Ranch are rated average.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

8 7 6 % ' 5 # 1 > 4 @

+ 1


Figure 12. Average of impacts on selected livelihoods aspects, rated by interview communitymembers (N=60). Ranging from very much improvement (5) to no improvement at all (1).

With a content analysis of responses, I want to further examine community benefits. Answers to the question why does the community benefit from tourism? result in a list of 23 different answers that match ten answer categories. These categories can be grouped, as shown in Table 8. The most nominations fall into the categories of community impact and financial benefits. Community impact embraces elements of non-personal benefits like a general development of community and of Kenya, as well as community income. Community development mainly is understood as community infrastructure, such as educational and sanitary institutions, roads and communication. Financial impact groups impacts on local business and personal advantages. Soft factors are additional to economic factors, they embrace environmental improvements and cultural aspects like pride, gender, cultural exchange and the demarginalisation of the Maasai culture. Table 8. Creating groups from answer categories.
Category groups Community impact Financial impact Soft factors (cultural and environmental) Answer categories Community development (education, health etc.) and security; foreign exchange and development of Kenya; community income. Employment; business boost (curio and livestock); funds and donations. Empowerment of women; interaction and cultural exchange; unlocking of Maasai; conservation incentive and improved natural resource services.

Ideally, benefits from all category groups are mentioned. That would represent a well supported development which originates in economic, social and environmental improvements. Figure 13 shows the answers. Nine respondents mentioned improvement in all three areas (4 in Il Ngwesi and Ol Gaboli respectively, 1 in Borana). The most frequently mentioned benefits fall in the

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact


category of general community impact and financial benefits. Together, they account for more than two thirds of responses; every second respondent (30) locates the improvement in a combination of financial and communal benefits. Six respondents adjacent Sosian Ranch do not name any benefits. Figure 13. Community benefits categorized (N=60).
" " " ! " " " "

Results indicate that development is broadly supported in the Il Ngwesi and the Il Motiok community and sufficiently supported in the case of Koija and around Borana. Adjacent Sosian Ranch, the benefits are rare and one-sided as the only points mentioned are financial and community benefits. In the Il Motiok and the Koija community, cultural benefits mostly originate from the improved position of women, which is achieved through womens economic success in beadwork and womens direct income from tourism (Il Motiok Woman Group). Cultural exchange is another factor mentioned (Il Ngwesi). Most frequently mentioned are community income (36), employment (29), education (15) and community development (14).12 It also becomes apparent that only 20 % do not mention any community benefits, and 25 % do not mention any financial benefits.


The study is not only interested in impacts on livelihood assets, but also in the compatibility of tourism with local livelihoods. Firstly, an open-ended question examines whether tourism and conservation do constrain other activities. The answers are listed in Table 9. In total, 18 respondents state that tourism and conservation compromise hunting. 11 respondents say that livestock grazing and the cutting of trees respectively interfere with conservation. Other factors minimally affected by tourism are living in the conservation area, bushfires, the production of charcoal, and beekeeping and fishing. Nearly half of the respondents (26) did not mention any implication of tourism and conservation. It is relevant to note however that not all

Interestingly, the perceived benefits from tourism do however not directly depend on the perceived volume of job creation.



Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

of the above statements are to be understood as constraints literally, that is, they are not necessarily perceived as being adverse. Several respondents clearly say that they can not pursue a certain activity anymore but that it is even better this way. This is especially true for hunting.

Table 9. Traditional activities that are constrained by tourism and conservation. Responses from community interviews (N=60).
Hunting Livestock grazing Tree cutting Living in conservation area 18 11 11 3 Fire Charcoal production Bee keeping and fishing None 1 1 1 26

Wildlife that was hunted (and may still be hunted) mainly includes giraffes, buffaloes, elephants and gazelles. Grazing land is lost to conservation areas, as in communities that put land aside for conservation, grazing in the protected area is prosecuted. Surprisingly, many respondents do not perceive it as a loss of land (compare Figure 14). It is rather considered as a livelihood asset, as it is less degraded and overgrazed, and still open to livestock in cases of draught. Many respondents say that it is still their land and not lost. That tourism constrains living in conservation area was only mentioned in the Il Ngwesi community. There, some homesteads were resettled to make way for the conservation area. As minor constraint, bee keeping is affected by tourism insofar as fire smoke is used to collect the honey. Since fire in the bush is prohibited, some abandoned honey collection. The same applies to the production of charcoal. In a follow-up question, respondents classify how crop farming, livestock keeping, loss of land, security from wildlife, and homestead infrastructure (fences, buildings) are affected by tourism. The results are shown in Figure 14. It is apparent that for all tested factors, positive and negative perceived impacts were equally mentioned. Secondly, a rather big number of respondents do not perceive any impact on one or more factors. In the case of crop farming, pastoralists, who make up a big number of the studys sample, are naturally not in a position to judge the impact of tourism. Agriculturalists tend to judge the impact on crop farming more negative than pastoralists. On average, the impact on livestock keeping and grazing is judged as slightly positive despite the confinement. Respondents from Il Ngwesi, Il Motiok and Koija do judge the impact on livestock significantly more positive, the same is the case with pastoralists who are more positive than agriculturalists. Like crop farming, loss of land receives many neutral answers. Clearly, tourism does not lead to the perception of land being lost to conservation. As for perceived security from wildlife and destruction of homestead infrastructure through roaming wildlife, no change due to tourism becomes apparent. As a cross tabulation shows, perceived security from wildlife and impact on infrastructure are linked closely. Interviews suggest that these perceptions are strongly influenced by personal

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact


experiences, for instance the loss of a family member to an elephant. Unsurprisingly, perceived impact on livestock and land loss are also linked statistically. 13 Summing up these findings, no adverse impact on local communities can be found. Even the conservation areas that confine grazing, which seems to be an obvious constraint, is not judged negatively.



'( " " "

Figure 14. Livelihood impact: How tourism affects crop farming, livestock keeping, land loss, security from wildlife and homestead infrastructure. The scale shows the number of mentions, while the class neutral is left out in this Figure. Rated by community-members (N=60).

Livelihood impact also implies change in strategies that are followed. Adapted to the model provided by Wiesmann (1998), resources are mainly invested into two spheres of action: livestock keeping and production, and educational activities. On the community level, education is the main sphere of action. Primary schools are built and maintained in several places (Ewaso, Koija community; Leparua, Il Ngwesi community; Ethi and Ngare Ndare; through Borana; Naserian, Il Motiok community), and bursaries are set in place to send selected students to secondary school and even university. On the household level, the main investment is into livestock, as a Maasais wealth and position is typically measured in numbers of livestock. However, on the household level, resources are also put into secondary education.

In the following, the socio-economic impact is examined on its sustainability. The study does not consider the sustainability of economic growth; it rather focuses on local socio-economic sustainability of economic activity. Hence, the following indicators are employed: reasonable


Pearson correlation coefficient for livestock and land loss is r=.459, significant at 1%-level, N=60. Pearson correlation coefficient for security and infrastructure is r=.707, significant at 1%-level, N=60.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

employment income, equality of employment, stability of commodity prices and diversity of economic activities (Tsaur et al. 2006, Wallace and Pierce 1996).



Employment income is reasonably high in all studied cases. Figure 15 shows that general life improvement due to tourism employment is very high in all cases except Sosian Ranch House and notably high in Il Ngwesi. Satisfaction with salary is similarly on average (around 3) in all studied cases and may not be an appropriate indicator. Alternatively, figures that reflect the respondents comparison of their salary to salaries in the Kenyan tourism industry and to Kenyan salaries in different sectors are more conclusive. Respondents generally judge their income as being relatively low compared to tourism industry salaries, but much higher if compared to incomes in different sectors. Incomes in the tourism industry are perceived as being rather high and higher than in other sectors.
8 7 6 % ' 5 " 1 " 1 . . "" # 1 > 4 @

Figure 15. Indicators of salary satisfaction. Average of employee respondents per study site from higher than (5) over average (3) to lower than (1), (N=29).

Evidence seems to point towards reasonable employment income. Admittedly, salaries in Sosian Ranch might be low and general satisfaction with salary rather on the lower end. But if salaries are compared to different incomes in tourism and in different sectors one must conclude that tourism income is adequate, even for respondents in Sosian Ranch.



The response pattern on equality of working opportunities suggests inequality in several cases, as shown in Figure 16. According to empirical evidence, working opportunities are assigned inequitable in Koija Starbeds and Sosian Ranch House, and not fully equitable in Borana Ranch and Ol Gaboli Bandas. Over all communities, 57 % of respondents perceive working opportunities as equitable.

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact


5((< )8< 8(< '8< (< # 1 9 > 4 @ # % 9

Figure 16. Perceived equality of working opportunities in the respective communities (N=58).

When focusing on responses closely, it becomes apparent that the communities argue with reasons originating in arguments different from gender and ethnic origin. A frequent perception of inequality is that employees are either recruited from outside community and District (Sosian Ranch and Ol Gaboli) or from other communities around the ranch (Borana). Additionally, the perceived gender inequality often ignores the work requirements. Hence, the perceived inequality of working opportunities regards factors different from those defined above. Still they must be taken seriously, above all, the perception that employees come from outside can lead to dissonance. The results show a general dissatisfaction with insufficient local employment.



In none of the studied communities did the prices for everyday goods rise over the last year. As shown in Figure 17, measured in price stability, no unsustainable influence of economic development is felt. Figure 17. Perceived change in commodity prices over all communities (N=60).

# #

The only rise in prices is found in the Il Ngwesi community, where the price for a goat tripled over the last years from KES 1000 to 3000, due to an increased demand for livestock. With a part of their income, many lodge employees buy livestock to enlarge their herd. This investment in livelihoods assets occurs in all studied communities. A rise in commodity prices would make it necessary to examine if tourism is indeed the cause for this rise.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia



Above all, the indicator diversity of economic activities means that tourism did not induce abandonment of traditional activities. For a thorough assessment the actual economic diversity must be compared with the state before tourism development. Economic diversity at the same time implies that the community is not over-dependent on tourism. Judging community dependence on tourism is difficult, as in the studied communities no comparable economic activity takes place. Apart from subsistence herding and farming with little cash income, only few economic opportunities are available. Employment can be found on neighbouring ranches and horticulture plantations. Often they are however far away. Nearby industry is inexistent and business is rather limited, confined in space and volume. Therefore, it is rather unsurprising that tourism creates a certain economic dependency (Figure 18) where there was only negligible economic activity before. Figure 18. Community perception of dependence on tourism (N=60).

Il Ngwesi community, where 6 out of 11 respondents state that the community is highly dependent on tourism, is very illustrative for this economic dependency. In communities adjacent Sosian Ranch, where benefits are lowest, 10 out of 12 respondents say there is no dependency on tourism at all. It clearly seems that in remote areas, where economic alternatives are scarce, a certain dependency on tourism is inevitable. Compared to the difficult economic situation before, such a dependency on tourism income is not a bad sign. But it indicates that until now the community did not succeed in developing substantial economic activities and income sources outside tourism. And with tourism being a vulnerable industry, a certain risk of unsustainability is inherent in overdependence on tourism. Tourism to Laikipia can break down because of several externally influenced factors such as international terrorism, world economy and pandemics on which international tourists respond sensitively. Then, a one-sided focus on tourism is obviously becoming adverse. In the case of successful Il Ngwesi, such an additional risk is inherent. Not only is the community economically dependent on tourism, to some extent the lodge is financially dependent on funds.

Results I: Assessing the socio-economic impact




Laikipia financially benefits from the studied ecolodges. Combined, they provide over 100 jobs and generate nearly US$ 900000 in expenses in Laikipia District. On the district level, considerable multiplier effects into the regional economy can be expected. Leakage is roughly estimated at between 30 and 60 %, lower than comparable figures in tourism research suggest. Economically, CBET is not automatically more advantageous. Backward linkages into the local economy may be higher with CBET, but the economic volume is comparatively low. A cost-benefit analysis for the region is positive as there is only minimal public investment in tourism infrastructure and a considerable income. Local communities benefit in terms of community infrastructure, whereas education is the main improvement. Perceived livelihood improvements are comparatively high in the Il Ngwesi community and negligible in communities adjacent Sosian Ranch. Tourism and conservation are compatible with local livelihoods and imposing minimal constraints only. Measured with reasonable employment income, equality of employment, stability of commodity prices and diversity of economic activities, tourism is judged as socioeconomically sustainable. With the restriction of job equality and rather low working quality in Sosian however.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Results II: Stakeholder analysis and conservation attitudes



The aim of the following stakeholder analysis is to investigate conservation attitudes in the study area and to identify potential conflicts between actor groups. I will focus on stakeholder perspectives on ecotourism principles, benefit-sharing and conservation. Finally, I will examine the link between community benefits and conservation support.

As illustrated in Methodologies (Chapter 4), ecotourism principles are translated into indicators in order to examine the importance of each principle and to investigate possible differences between actor groups. Empirical results are presented in Figure 19. First of all, Figure 19 shows that all ecotourism principles are judged as desirable by every stakeholder group. No ecotourism dimension is clearly falling behind, which is very promising from a conservation point of view. Secondly, empirical evidence shows that appreciation of community and employees are similar in most aspects. More substantial variations are manifest only between the management on one side and community-members and employees on the other side. The general trend confirms the assumption that stakes are reflected in the judgement of importance of ecotourism principles. Accordingly, the management is more likely to positively appraise nature conservation and wildlife protection as tourism depends on those natural resources. Management is however more indifferent when it comes to community benefits such as job creation and infrastructure. Likewise, cultural sustainability in the local communities is


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

judged as more important by communities and employees than by the management. The educational aspect of ecotourism too is felt as more important by communities and employees than the management. It must be noted however that communities strongly support conservational aspects too. 14


" +

Figure 19. Importance of ecotourism principles, response pattern for each stakeholder group. While values on the outside signify more important than values on the inside. For additional information(N and standard deviation) see Appendix 9.1.

Figure 20 shows nominations of the most important ecotourism principle for communities and employees. For both actor groups, job creation is the most important feature, closely followed by community infrastructure in community interviews. Employees second most name community infrastructure and nature conservation. In interviews with employees, nature conservation and wildlife protection are significantly more often mentioned than with community-members. This finding again supports the assumption that stakes influence opinion. However, in places where employees are recruited from within the community (Il Ngwesi and Koija), support for community benefits is not clearly higher than for conservational elements, as could be expected.


Research suggests that answer patterns from visitors are similar to those of the management. From other places we know that for this stakeholder group, the economic dimension is the least important too (Cottrell et al. 2004).

Results II: Stakeholder analysis and conservation attitudes


B " # . " +

Figure 20. The most important ecotourism principles. On the right, community answers (N=49), and employees answers on the left (N=24).



A situation where different stakes are in accordance with each other is sought to facilitate conservation efforts and to anticipate social frictions. The question on benefit-sharing and distributive justice as well as decision-making in conservation plays an important role in this context.




In the figure below, answers to the open question who/ which actor group benefits most from tourism in Laikipia? are presented. The number of respondents to manager interviews is too low (N=5) to meaningfully compare to other stakeholders in the same graphics. Further, most responses are rather general and elusive, less revealing than community and employee answers. Figure 21. Actor groups that benefit most from tourism in Laikipia. As perceived by responding community-members (=59).

4 . "" . 1 + 9

Figure 21 shows that an overwhelming majority of interviewed community-members identify white ranch and lodge owners as the actor group that benefits most from tourism. Interestingly, they are referred to as white ranch and lodge owners. The term private investor is used in the Il Motiok community for RVA, the


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

investor in Ol Gaboli Bandas. Private investor and large scale owners make up 81 % of answers. Kenyan government and KWS are also mentioned and believed to benefit through tax income. Community and lodge staff aggregate minimal mentions. Additionally, the results reveal that people in the Il Motiok community miss a sense of community ownership, since they speak of a private investor. Figure 22. Actor groups that benefit most from tourism in Laikipia. As perceived by employee respondents (N=27).

4 .

"" . 1 +

Two thirds of the interviewed employees believe that the actor groups ranch and lodge owner and private investor benefit most from tourism (Figure 22). However, it is a positive result that at least 7 % of employees believe that they represent the actor group that benefits most. In community interviews, not even 2 % state that they benefit most. Quite a number of interviewed employees identify the community or the Government as the stakeholder to benefit most. The management answers are clearly less distinctive as compared to the other stakeholders. The most common management answer is that all stakeholders benefit equally. They are also opposed to the general employee and community perception insofar as no manager says that large scale owners and investors are the main beneficiaries of tourism in Laikipia. The question is however not who is right? as it is precisely the perception that the study is interested in. From a management perspective, the Borana Lodge manager provides a reasonable explanation for these actor-based differences in perception. Community-members may underestimate the costs arising from conservation. Conservation-based wildlife tourism however is not an easy business, it requires high investments into roads, fences. Despite high incomes, a place like Borana for instance does not realize any substantial profits and can barely cover the costs with the actual conservation fees. The ranch presently subsidises the tourism business with wheat production and exportation of roses. To cover the costs, Borana would need to ask 80 US$ on top of the actual conservation fee. To Kenya, the same applies as to Laikipia. Conservation costs are not covered by tourism in Kenya. As opportunity costs of biodiversity conservation are higher than tourism revenues, the government of Kenya is subsidising the tourism sector substantially (Norton and Southey 1995).

Results II: Stakeholder analysis and conservation attitudes




The question on who/ which actor group should decide over wildlife conservation according to you? is similar to opinion polls. Responses on this issue provide a picture somewhat inverse to the perception of benefit distribution. Figure 23. Actor group that should decide over wildlife conservation. As perceived by community respondents (N=59).

4 . D & 1

Out of the 60 interviewed community-members, 42 (71%) think that the communities should decide over wildlife conservation (Figure 23). From the remaining respondents, most agree that the Kenyan Government (possibly through the KWS), or Kenyan citizens in general are supposed to decide over conservation issues. Only one respondent states that ranch owners should be in charge of conservation. The argument is that the community (Sugutan) has no land to actively conserve wildlife. Most respondents agree that the actor group being most able to conserve should decide. A statement often heard is that the community should decide over conservation because they know wildlife best as they live alongside with them, or that the KWS should decide over conservation as it has the expertise.

4 . D 1 3

Figure 24. Actor group that should decide over wildlife conservation. As perceived by employee respondents (N=29).

The answer pattern of interviewed employees (Figure 24) is similar to the one of community-members. The majority favours the community to decide over conservation. More employees than community-members however would delegate responsibility of wildlife conservation to the government and the KWS. Interestingly, two interviewed employees say that tourists should decide over wildlife protection,


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

as they come to see wildlife and pay for it. Managers name the community (2), the land owners (2) and people in areas where wildlife can be found to decide over wildlife.



In the following I will analyse wildlife benefits in the studied communities and the relation between local benefits from tourism and conservation support. While interviewed communitymembers in general strongly support conservation issues, the second question whether conservation support is influenced by tourism benefits, is more difficult to establish.





The Figure below (Figure 25) shows the perceived benefits from wildlife in the studied communities. It becomes evident that the communities of Il Ngwesi, Il Motiok and Koija think that they benefit very much from wildlife. Communities adjacent Borana and Sosian Ranch name considerably less benefits from wildlife. Respondents from the communities around the former three study sites, which are affected by CBET, rate benefits significantly higher than others. The most likely assumption for this observation is that benefits from wildlife originate in community benefits from tourism. Indeed, the interaction between benefits from wildlife and tourism is evident, and also confirmed statistically in the present studys sample.15 Gadd (2005) showed for Laikipia that in communities, which receive indirect benefits from tourism or wildlife, the connection between wildlife and employment or aid in kind was usually overlooked. Whereas pastoral people with direct benefits cited financial rewards derived from tourism but attributed aesthetic values to living with elephants. Contrary, in the present study, 72 % of respondents say they benefit or partly benefit from wildlife. Figure 25. Community benefits from wildlife. Does the community benefit from wildlife? Responses in the respective communities (N=60).

)8< # 8(< + E '8<

(< # 1 > 4 @ %


The Pearson correlation coefficient for the variables perceived community benefits from tourism and perceived benefits from wildlife is r = 0.492, and is significant at the 1 % level (2-tailed), N = 60.

Results II: Stakeholder analysis and conservation attitudes


This result must not be overvalued however: an alternative explanation is purely socioculturally and has nothing to do with economic benefits. A large majority of the respondents (41 out of 60) are pastoralist Maasai, which are known for being more tolerant with wildlife than agriculturalists from other tribes (Parkipuny 1989, Gadd 2005). Therefore, the big difference between Il Ngwesi, Ol Gaboli and Koija on one side and Borana and Sosian Ranch on the other side probably must be explained with ethnic origin, or economic activity. Compared to the first three communities, the communities adjacent to private Sosian and Borana Ranch are characterized by a mix of agricultural and pastoralist lifestyle.16 That CBET is more beneficial might not be the right answer here. Considering the social context, this first and allegedly obvious conclusion might therefore be misleading. Table 10 shows the relation between economic activity and perception of wildlife. Statistically, people engaged in agriculture or mixed-agriculture have a higher chance to resent wildlife than pure livestock keepers. 17 It is probable that in some cases the economic activity of the respondents influences the perception of benefits. Also, economic occupation may have a higher influence on perceived benefits than the ethnic origin. Thus, a direct comparison between places (community) and perception of benefits from wildlife is not permitted as causalities may be different.

Table 10. Pivot table: perceived benefits from wildlife and occupation, with data from community interviews (N=60). Perceived Benefits from Wildlife Yes Partly No 1 1 6 35 6 11 36 7 17 Total 8 52 60

Agriculture No agriculture Total

A comparison between respondents of Maasai and Kikuyu ethnic origin largely follows the line between engaged in agriculture and not engaged in agriculture. Due to the small number, other tribes were excluded from the analysis. Table 11 shows that Maasai perceive more benefits from wildlife than Kikuyu people. If Kikuyu are less supportive of wildlife because of occupation or ethnic origin remains to be confirmed.

In the communities of Il Ngwesi, Ol Gaboli and Koija, none of the respondents practice agriculture, most are pastoralists. Some respondents from the communities adjacent Borana Ranch (Ethi and Ngare Ndare) and Sosian Ranch (mainly Tinga Mara) are agriculturalists, 31 % and 33 % respectively. Roughly half of the respondents are pastoralists. That is, all agriculturalists from the sample fall in the cases of Borana Lodge and Sosian Ranch House.


Additionally, gender also has an influence on the perception of benefits from wildlife, even though it is less explicit. Women are less likely to positively judge the influence of wildlife. Similarly, Hill (1998) showed that women fear elephants more than men do.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Table 11. Pivot table: perceived benefits from wildlife and ethnic origin, with data from community interviews (N=53). Perceived Benefits from Wildlife Yes Partly No 5 5 31 2 0 10 33 5 15 Total 41 12 53

Maasai Kikuyu Total

According to Figure 26, benefits from wildlife are perceived indirectly, through tourism income. Respondents clearly identify the link between tourism and benefits from wildlife. Half of the interviewed community-members (30) say that they benefit from wildlife because it attracts tourism, and tourism in turn benefits the community. 25 % do not benefit from wildlife and some do not benefit at present. The answer not nowadays in Figure 26 mainly applies to Kinamba, adjacent Sosian Ranch. There, wildlife cropping has enjoyed some success and popularity among local communities in the 1990s. The government allowed them to harvest a certain governmentally controlled contingent of wildlife in order to sell meat and skin to markets and restaurants in Nairobi. The programme has been stopped however. Community-members who were engaged in or heard of the programme therefore do not perceive any benefits from wildlife anymore, neither through tourism. Figure 26. How the community benefits from wildlife. Extended answers to does the community benefit from wildlife?. Responses from all community interviews (N=60).

# # + E E 1

Respondents stating not to benefit from wildlife have different reasons. Some say that they suffer from crop destruction; others say that disadvantages exceed benefits. Respondents that partly benefit state that they benefit on one side but suffer on the other side. In the case of beneficiaries however, they all argue with indirect benefits through tourism. Contrary to earlier findings (Hill 1998, Gadd 2005), no respondent mentioned intrinsic values such as aesthetical factors.

Results II: Stakeholder analysis and conservation attitudes


Table 12. Pivot table: perceived benefits from wildlife and perceived improvement of education, ranging from very much (1) to very little (5).With data from community interviews (N=60). Perceived Community Benefits from Wildlife 1 2 3 4 5 3 24 2 4 1 1 2 0 2 1 0 4 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 4 31 6 13 6 4 Total
34 6 6 1 13 60

Perceived Improvement of Schools and Education Total

1 2 3 4 5

Table 12 illustrates the strong relation between perceived community benefits from wildlife and the perception of tourism induced improvement of education in the respective community. This confirms the findings from Figure 26, whereupon perceived benefits from tourism originate in benefits from tourism.



The above examination reveals that benefits from tourism are attributed to wildlife. The next step is to analyze whether the perceived benefits from tourism lead to more conservation support. Conservation support however emerged as something very difficult to measure. This is mostly because it is desirable per se. Rarely a respondent expresses not supporting wildlife protection or nature conservation. Thus, establishing causality between benefits and conservation support is difficult to assess with present data. At the level of case study site, no clear statistical relationship between tourism benefits and conservation support can be observed. Also at the individual level, the analysis does not indicate sufficient evidence for a relationship between perceived community benefits and conservation support. Table 13. Pivot table: perceived community benefits and importance of wildlife protection, ranging from very important, very much (1) to not important tat all, very little (5). Data from community interviews (N=60). Perceived Community Benefits 2 3 4 16 6 5 0 2 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 17 10 8 Total 5 3 2 0 0 5
45 8 5 2 60

Wildlife Protection Total

1 2 3 4

1 15 3 2 0 20

As Table 13 reveals, two thirds of interviewed community-members rate wildlife protection as being very important to them. Thirty one of them also identify the perceived community


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

benefits from tourism as high (very much or much). Ten of them however also claim that their community does not benefit from tourism. Table 14. Pivot table: perceived improvement of education and importance of nature conservation, ranging from very important, very much (1) to not important at all, very little (5). Data from community interviews (N=60). Perceived Improvement of Schools and Education 1 2 3 4 5 6 5 1 5 30 0 1 0 6 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 34 6 6 1 13 Total
47 10 1 1 1 60

Support for Nature Conservation Total

1 2 3 4 5

Alternatively, in Table 14 I compare answers for support for nature conservation and education, the most important livelihood improvement. In this case, a trend becomes apparent.18 Answers follow the pattern of improved education equals more support for nature conservation. Some answers however are unexpected. In Sosian Ranch, all interviewed community-members equally rate no improvement at all of schools and education, but still some of them support nature conservation. This evidence however is not strong enough. It is an aspect that has too be further followed empirically in the future.


If controlled for occupation (agriculturalist, non-agriculturalist), the correlation coefficient for education and nature conservation is r = .456, significant at the 1%-level.

Results II: Stakeholder analysis and conservation attitudes




Empirical evidence shows that all stakeholders highly esteem the ecotourism principles. Still, differences between actor groups can be made out: while the managements tend to favour conservation issues over community benefits, interviewed community-members prefer community benefits and cultural aspects. Differences between stakeholders are considerable when it comes to perceptions of benefit distribution and decision-making in conservation. The majority of community-members think they should be responsible for conservation while they perceive the management as the actor group that benefits most. Results suggest a potential conflict of stakes between management and communities. This conflict however did not seem serious in any of the conversations, it was only indicated by some respondents in communities adjacent Sosian Ranch. The analysis clearly suggests that community benefits highly depend on benefits from intact wildlife. Interviewed community-members for the most part recognize this link. The relation between community benefits and conservation attitudes is however much more difficult to establish. This study evaluates the current situation and with these data it can not clearly be established whether higher community benefits lead to an increase in conservation support. Evidence however slightly points towards the affirmation of the assumption.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia



In Conclusions I summarise the results by responding to the initial research questions and I answer the hypotheses. I further discuss a number of general conclusions and propose improvement opportunities for tourism in Laikipia. Finally, the Chapter also adopts a broader view on ecotourism in Laikipia to suggest areas for future research.





The study results show that the economic impact of ecotourism in Laikipia is considerable. The importance of tourism development is thereby fortified by three factors. First, for a peripheral region that was largely untouched by private economy in much of its area before, tourism development is significant. Secondly, economic possibilities in the semi-arid plains of Laikipia are rather limited. Thirdly, over-grazing is a real problem in some of Laikipias more arid parts. An alternative, non-farm economic development that reduces pressure on physical resources is of high relevance. On the other side, leakage is a serious problem to Laikipian tourism. It occurs on different levels. First, profit is lost through commissions paid to travel agents. Secondly, profit to Laikipia District is lost through lodge spending outside the District. Thirdly, leakage is highest on the local level, due to missing backward linkages in the local communities. Hence, economic multiplier effects are minimal on the local level. On the regional level, economic impact is higher. Especially Nanyuki town benefits from a high demand for food products and hardware supplies.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Hypothesis (1) Local economic impact from ecotourism in Laikipia is comparatively high.

Unlike expected, leakage in Laikipia is not clearly lower than in other Kenyan wildlife tourism destinations. The first hypothesis can therefore only be partly confirmed. The high economic potential of Laikipian ecotourism is considerably weakened by profit leakage. It is worthwhile to discuss the difference between private and community-based ecolodges. While the financial and economic impact is higher with private ecotourism, in terms of socioeconomic impact, this difference may be small. The difference also highly depends on the nature (and commitment) of the respective ecolodges, as the cases of Borana Lodge and Sosian Ranch illustrate. Through investing in community infrastructure such as schools and medical services, a private ecotourism venture can have an impact on the adjacent communities that is similar to the impact of community-based ecotourism (CBET). In the communities adjacent Borana Ranch, the impacts of tourism are rated similarly positive as in the Il Motiok and Koija communities. Impacts on social aspects of livelihood however are likely to be different between CBET and private ecotourism. With CBET, the communities develop a sense of ownership of and pride in local tourism development. Empowerment of communities also increases substantially. The difference comes as income from CBET is direct and self-achieved and the community can decide itself on how to spend it. Empowerment also originates in improved organisation. In the Maasai communities, an especially considerable improvement lies in gender equality. Maasai women, traditionally poorly empowered, are now able to get an independent income (mainly through beadwork) and to own a car (Il Motiok Women Group) and therefore to considerably improve their position. Private ecolodges have an interest to invest into the local community infrastructure, as they rely on the surrounding communities to some extent. If the neighbourly relationship is bad, local herders may intrude the private conservation areas for pastures in times of draught, and fire wood collection and hunting may occur. Resentments over exclusion may also arise among community-members and eventually jeopardize conservation efforts. As mentioned above, CBET and private ecotourism vary in their nature of economic impact too. Due to a higher economic volume, private tourism has a higher regional economic impact. CBET however, tends to have a higher local impact, which is due to more local employment and stronger linkages into the community.


The second hypothesis can be confirmed without restrictions. Ecotourism in Laikipia is compatible with local livelihoods, while the over-all impact on local livelihoods is positive. Tourism is benefiting local livelihoods in many cases and nowhere does tourism impose any serious constraints on traditional livelihoods.



Hypothesis (2) Ecotourism in Laikipia is compatible with local livelihoods, while the over-all impact on local livelihoods is positive.

While tourism does not constrain pastoralism on rangelands, it poses a problem to crop cultivation. Benefiting livelihood impacts mainly concern education and medical services. In many communities, schools and clinics were built with tourism income and scholarships for secondary school are assigned. Communication improved due to the use of radios made available through tourism. In the course of the field stay, no signs of any adverse economic side effects were observed. As measured with the selected indicators, tourism in Laikipia can be considered as socioeconomically sustainable. Employment income is reasonable, workforce is employed equitably and commodity prices are stable. Nor did tourism led to an abandonment of traditional economic activities. In addition, no signs of other adverse side effects such as increased inequality within the communities were observed. Thus, the third hypothesis can be confirmed by the present study: ecotourism in Laikipia is socio-economically sustainable. Hypothesis (3) Ecotourism in Laikipia is socio-economically sustainable.

Nevertheless, some restrictions must be noted. Local employment is minimal in some cases and dissonance over employment is manifest especially in the communities around Sosian Ranch. In a few interviews, respondents expressed discontent over issues of benefit-sharing. Communitymembers around Sosian Ranch feel excluded from tourism and do not cite any benefits from wildlife since the wildlife cropping project has been stopped. In the Il Motiok community, disagreement over benefit-sharing occurs on two levels. While some believe that the investor (RVA) does not sufficiently share with the community, others think that revenues are distributed inequitably within the community. The majority however is satisfied with tourism development. It must be noted also that the small diversity of economic activities and the onesided focus on tourism is a risk, as Laikipian tourism operators can take no influence on the international tourism market. Factors such as terrorism, international security and the perceived security situation in Kenya (together with travel advices) can lead to a sudden drop in tourist arrivals. Missing tourism revenues can hardly be compensated in the studied communities. The dependence on tourism income is especially high in the three communities that feature CBET: Il Ngwesi, Il Motiok and Koija.


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia


In Laikipia, support for tourism and conservation is very high among all stakeholders. Ecotourism principles are also highly esteemed, but not equally by all stakeholders. While the managements tend to favour issues of conservation over community benefits, interviewed community-members prefer community benefits and cultural aspects. Differences between stakeholders become apparent when it comes to perceptions of benefit distribution and decisionmaking in conservation. The majority of community-members think they should be responsible for conservation while they perceive the management as the actor group that benefits most. Results suggest here a potential conflict of stakes between management and communities. Indications of this conflict can be observed in the Il Motiok community, where some community-members disagree with the benefit distribution and others think the community does not get an appropriate income. In communities adjacent Sosian Ranch, people feel excluded from tourism development and do not perceive any tourism induced benefits. We also heard negative attitudes towards wildlife there. The study also aims at combining economic impact and conservation attitudes. The assumption is that benefits from tourism positively influence conservation attitudes. It could however not clearly been affirmed over the whole sample. Even though study results indicate that the assumption is tendentially justified, the fourth hypothesis can not be confirmed conclusively. Hypothesis (4) While economic benefits have a positive influence on conservation attitudes, communities who participate in tourism are also more conservation-minded than others.

The study results show a difference in conservation attitudes between individuals engaged in agriculture or mixed agriculture and pastoralist individuals. Agriculturalists are thereby more likely to resent wildlife than pastoralists. At the same time, the economic activity is largely congruent with ethnic origin. While Maasai are traditionally pastoralists, Kikuyu people are farmers by the majority. Accordingly, Kikuyu people tend to resent wildlife and Maasai people rather perceive benefits from wildlife. The question over the cause however remains. Is it ethnic origin, occupation or income from tourism that makes up the difference in conservation attitudes?



Initially, I raised the question whether ecotourism can act as a tool for economic development and whether community-based ecotourism is a good use of conservation funds. Provided that some aspects are regarded, both questions can be affirmed. Namely, ecotourism can contribute to development when it is regionally owned and or committed to development in the area, when leakage is minimal and economic success sufficient. Particularly, economic linkages must be



strengthened to maximally benefit the local economy and educational level must be raised to facilitate local employment in higher positions. The level of donations is considerable in Laikipian Tourism. In the case of funds for CBET, the success depends on the quality of the tourism project, assistance in management skills and a supportive institutional environment (that is given with the LWF). When CBET is well managed and economically successful, conservation funds are well used as the benefits accrue locally to a high degree. One should however put emphasis on a sustained use of funds. A situation, as it is found in the case of Il Ngwesi Lodge where the financial turn-over is donor funded by over 20 %, is to be avoided. A clear confirmation of the link between benefits from tourism and conservation attitudes would additional support the use of conservation funds for CBET. It must be concluded that no true CBET can be found in Laikipia. Il Ngwesi, the often cited role model, comes closest to it. One can speak of joint ventures between communities and private investors. As the cases of Koija Starbeds and Ol Gaboli show, this arrangement can also considerably benefit the communities. The communities retain control over their land and benefit from favourable leasing contracts, which entail no entrepreneurial risk. In addition, wildlife tourism is a demanding business. This is especially true for the high quality tourism in Laikipia. A community needs time to achieve skills. Il Ngwesi Lodge, at present running independently, was depending on LWC for a long time. As I was told, it may be naive to believe that you can move from pastoralism to five star lodge operator in one generation. Considering other unsuccessful CBET ventures in Laikipia (e.g. Il Polei), the study found that a competent partner is crucial for CBET development. Apart from management deficiencies, CBET has a high potential in local development. Livelihood impacts in the local economy are manifold. The major outcome is improved education. But medical services, communication, accessibility and water supply also improved. It is important to note that besides benefits, tourism does not impose any major constraints on local livelihoods and traditional activities. It is well accepted by community-members that wildlife hunting is no longer tolerated. Interestingly, areas within Group Ranches that are zoned for the exclusive use of conservation are not perceived as a loss of land. On the contrary, results indicate that livestock grazing as an activity has been positively affected by conservation. This has two reasons. One, the conserved land is perceived by the community as an asset. The land is still owned by the community and as its quality and soil cover improved, it is perceived as a gain. Secondly, respondents recognise the higher economic benefit of conservation compared to livestock keeping. The return per unit of land is incomparable. Maximizing the local economic impact is one of the present studys main concerns. The study results give some indications. Leakage is decisive for local and regional impact. Major sources of leakage are commissions paid to travel agents, the foreign ownership of tourism ventures and suppliers and purchases outside the District. In Laikipia, commissions is the main loss of profits. They might however be difficult to avoid, as lodges depend to some extent on travel agents. A potential alternative is e-business. On the other side, a major benefit of tourism in Laikipia is the investment in social infrastructure. These lessons learnt can be used as recommendations for an


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

ecotourism rating scheme. I want to note some factors below, namely local employment, local spending, community souvenir sales and community infrastructure. Local employment has a big potential as many places have been largely untouched by private economy before. Consequently, a considerable effect in households can be expected from tourism income. Ecolodges should also consider training local people instead of employing staff from outside. They bring local knowledge that may eventually benefit the lodge. Even though the volume of local employment is not influencing the perceived benefits from tourism, it is a relevant factor. Where local employment is insufficient, it is deplored by community-members. Purchases by the lodges are essential for the local and regional economy and can dramatically reduce leakage. Local spending is minimal, as required products are seldom available in the community. But most items are available on the regional level. The sale of curio and craft items by local community-members has a huge potential as it creates a direct link between tourism and the community and provides a direct income. Ecolodges should allow communities to sell their craft to tourists, or even set up a souvenir counter with local products. As for social infrastructure, it may be demanded too much from a private company to imperatively invest substantially into the community. A minimal commitment however may be expected, even if it is simply to uphold a peaceful environment. In the case of CBET, the question is about equally sharing the community income. How, on which projects the money is to be spent, should be decided by the community, e.g. on an annual meeting.


To confirm the impression of a positive overall impact of ecotourism in Laikipia, cultural and ecological impacts have to be assessed. They can be operationalised and evaluated like the study did with economic impacts. Due to lack of time and capacity as well as to the focus on economic sustainability, the study did not consider them thoroughly. Still, in the course of field research, some indications were observed, allowing for roughly appraising the cultural and ecological impacts and pointing the direction of future research. Impact on socio-cultural sustainability can be measured with negative, undesirable outcomes in the local culture, such as prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, cultural erosion and social inequality that would manifest in lacking support for tourism. With empirical evidence from the studied communities, it is evident that support for tourism is very high. Animosities towards tourists and tourism are very rare. Like for the evaluation of socio-economic impact, these answers cover the five case areas only. Phenomena that are evidence of a negative (or positive) cultural, social, economic or environmental influence however can occur all over the District. Personal communications in Nanyuki, the regional capital, suggest that prostitution in particular is a problem. The cause for prostitution however might rather lie in the presence of British Army forces on training in Laikipia than in wildlife ecotourism. While the economic impact is positive, we gained the impression that negative outcomes are mainly of socio-cultural nature. They are generally referred to as moral decay. Nevertheless, positive tourism induced influence



on local culture and tradition is also possible. Vorlaufer (1996) notes the example of Maasai who rediscover their cultural heritage due to tourism and develop a pronounced cultural pride. This finding can be confirmed empirically with the present study. We notably observed it in the Il Ngwesi community. Regarding ecological sustainability, the impact of tourism is more difficult to estimate from observations and communications. In none of the lodges we found environmentally harmful practices. Clear efforts are made for wildlife protection and some success has been achieved and, unlike in Maasai Mara, carrying capacity is not exceeded. During the study, it clearly came out that ecotourism, especially on the manager side, is very much understood as environmentally friendly tourism. Local environmental protection (resources such as soil and water, and natural habitat) and the magnitude of environmental impact of tourism activities in Laikipia remain to be assessed. At the most, one can doubt the emission balance of ecotourists who fly to Nairobi and continue from there to the various lodges in small planes. The socio-cultural and environmental impacts of ecotourism in Laikipia are aspects that have to be followed in the future. During the field stay, we were often told that privately owned land acts as a conservation incentive. The prevailing opinion is that ecotourism in Laikipia is successful because land is not public. In this case, decision-making in tourism and conservation is on private initiative, which would lead to a more sustainable use. With wildlife it is similar. Many argue that wildlife should rather be regarded as a productive asset than something causing only damage without entailing any benefits. The assumption is that one cares more for a resource that is benefiting. These issues could also be worth examined. Initially, I also raised the question whether Laikipian tourism is true ecotourism or a mere marketing gimmick. The label ecotourism is certainly used for promotional matters, to address sensitized customers in Europe and the USA. The same applies to CBET, as it sells even better. In the case of Laikipia, the whole region is promoted as a high-quality ecotourism destination. It is however not a mere gimmick. In many cases, the commitment to environment and local communities is high. Possibly, Laikipia does not match a rigorous ecotourism definition but would have to be called shallow ecotourism. At the same time, it may be a moot point to captiously concentrate on a single term. It can generally be concluded that Laikipia has favourable prospects as a tourism destination. Tourism is well anchored in the region and mostly regionally controlled. Tourism development is supported by a population that benefits from tourism in an appropriate way. Together with LWF, the whole region follows a common strategy. If infrastructure, mainly roads, is further improved, and forward and backward linkages into the local and regional economy are strengthened and people are not excluded from tourism, Laikipia will be successful in the future. It is likely that Laikipia will attract future investments, finally benefiting the regional economy. It would however be worthwhile to decide what kind of investments is desired in order to avoid


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

too much external control. On the other hand, tourism in Laikipia is not big business. Only a few operators make profits, namely the two big ventures. Laikipias approach to tourism however is high (economic) value, low (visitor) volume and low (environmental) impact. Laikipia will also have to deal with this contradiction in the future.


Ecotourism in Laikipia has the potential to act as a tool for development. Communitybased tourism is a good use of conservation funds when the community is able to properly manage the ecolodge or is assisted in doing so.

Private ecolodges tend to have a higher economic impact than community-based ecolodges due to their higher economic volume. Impacts in the respective communities however are potentially higher in the cases of community-based tourism. Leakage has been identified as a key impediment for maximizing local benefits. A lodge should employ and purchase as much as possible on the local (community) and the regional (District) level and allow the sale of souvenirs by local communities. Ecotourism and conservation are compatible with traditional activities in all studied cases. Rather than constraining traditional local livelihoods, tourism is improving education and medical services. Regardless of benefits from tourism, conservation support in Laikipia is generally high. Conservation support tends to be higher in communities that benefit from tourism and especially in communities that are characterized by a Maasai pastoralist population.



& "

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A 5*

Here I present figures that complement the argumentation in the text. These figures are additional in the sense that they illustrate the data given in the text.

100% 80% Transport and shops 60% 40% 20% 0% Il Ngw esi Ol Gaboli Koija Borana Sosian Livestock trading Beadw ork Income spent locally N/A

Figure 27. Argumentations why business activity increased in the respective communities, as perceived by the community-members (N=60).


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Il Ngw esi Ol Gaboli Koija Borana Sosian No business activity No tourists in village No local lodge purchases Staffs do not buy here Few staffs Tourism income is low N/A

Figure 28. Argumentations why business activity did not increase in the respective communities, as perceived by the community-members (N=60).

Table 15. Descriptive statistics to complement Figure 19, in Chapter 6.1. Standard deviation and number of stakeholder answers. Management Job Creation Infrastructure Nature Conservation Wildlife Protection Cultural Sustainability Cultural Education Environmental Education
0.548 (5) 1.342 (5) 0.000 (5) 0.000 (5) 1.000 (5) 0.707 (5) 0.447 (5)

0.334 (60) 0.481 (60) 0.748 (60) 0.786 (60) 0.895 (59) 0.813 (60) 0.889 (60)

0.186 (29) 0.751 (29) 0.769 (29) 0.310 (29) 1.206 (29) 1.235 (29) 0.910 (29)

Notes: Table showing standard deviation, N in brackets.




A '*


The table below lists all respondents and characterises them by means of place and community, actor group, stakeholder category, gender, ethnic origin and, where applicable, the location within the community. Table 16. Table of respondents with key characterisation. Nbr Place
1 2 3 4 Nanyuki Nanyuki Nanyuki Nanyuki

Stakeholder Category
Nanyuki District County Council KWS LWF District Development Officer Clerk to the County Council Direcory KWS, Nanyuki Director Laikipia Wildlife Forum Lodge manager Watchman Manyatta care taker Guide Common young man Restaurant operator Housewife, casually in tourism Assistant chief Kiosk operator Elder Young shopkeeper Chairman, group ranch Elder Treasurer, group ranch Common Lady, Housewife Common young man, sand loader

Male Male Male Male

Ethnic origin

Place within the community

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei Il Polei

Management Employee Employee Employee Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community

Male Male Female Male Male Female Female Male Male Male Female Male Male Female Female Male

Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Meru Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai/ Kikuyu Kikuyu Maasai Maasai Maasai Kikuyu Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi

Management Accountant, group ranch and lodge Employee Swimming pool attendant Employee Park security Employee Room attendant/laundary Employee Head cook Employee Tour guide Employee Waiter Community Chairman Group Ranch ,elder Community Chairman Group Ranch, elder Community Shopkeeper

Male Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Male Male

Leparua Leparua Leparua


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73

Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Il Ngwesi Ol Gaboli Ol Gaboli Ol Gaboli Ol Gaboli Ol Gaboli Ol Gaboli Ol Gaboli Ol Gaboli

Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Management Employee Employee Employee Employee Community Community Community

Nurse Leperua Clinic Housewife Pastoralist Chief Sanga Sublocation Elder Elder Young pastoralist

Female Female Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Female Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Male Female Female Female Female Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Female Female Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Female

Meru Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai

Young pastoralist Lodge Manager Scout Security Room Attendant Outdoor Instructor/Guide Chairman Group Ranch Chairlady Women Group Vice Chairman Women Group Ol Gaboli Community Women Group Manager Ol Gaboli Community Elder, pastoralist Ol Gaboli Community Pastoralist, traditional dancer Ol Gaboli Community Pastoralist Ol Gaboli Community Young housewife, pastoralis Ol Gaboli Community Old housewife, pastoralist Ol Gaboli Community Young housewife, pastoralis Ol Gaboli Community Young housewife, pastoralis Ol Gaboli Community Elder, pastoralist Koija Starbeds Management Management Director Oryx Ltd. Koija Starbeds Employee Guide Koija Starbeds Employee Ranger, security Koija Starbeds Employee Waiter Koija Starbeds Employee Cook Koija Starbeds Employee Room attendant Koija Starbeds Employee Security Koija Starbeds Community Chief Loibolsoit Location Koija Starbeds Community Shopkeeper Koija Starbeds Community Young housewife Koija Starbeds Community Young pastoralist Koija Starbeds Community Chairman group ranch Koija Starbeds Community Community Manager Koija Starbeds Community Elder, pastoralist Koija Starbeds Community Elder, pastoralist Koija Starbeds Community Pastoralist Koija Starbeds Community Elder Koija Starbeds Community Old housewife, pastoralist

Maasai Australian Maasai Maasai Maasai Kikuyu Maasai Naserian Maasai Loshaiki Maasai Naserian Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai EnglishKenyan Maasai Turkana Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Turkana Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai Lorubai Naserian Naserian Naserian Naserian Naserian Loshaiki Lorubai Loshaiki

Leparua Leparua Leparua Sanga Silikoi Il Ngwesi Manyatta Il Ngwesi Manyatta Isiolo Manyatta

Ewaso Ewaso Ewaso Ewaso Iti Iti Munishoi Ndonyo Ndonyo Ngimajoi Dubai Village Mutaro



74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114

Koija Starbeds Community Housewife, pastoralist Borana Lodge Management Lodge Manager Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Borana Lodge Employee Employee Employee Employee Employee Employee Employee Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Accountant Guide Waiter Steward Staff Cook Room Attendant Store Keeper Subarea, elder Shopkeeper Farmer Elder, pastoralist Housewife, mixed farming Chief Kisima Location Restaurant operator Farmer Farmer Elder, pastoralist Elder, pastoralist

Female Male Female Male Male Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Male Male Female Male Male Male Male Male Male Female Male Male Male Female Female Male Male Female Male Female Male Female

Maasai Euro-Zimbabwean Kikuyu Maasai Kikuyu Maasai Kalenjin Meru Maasai Kikuyu Kikuyu Kikuyu Maasai Maasai Maasai Kikuyu Kikuyu Turkana Maasai Maasai Maasai Maasai EnglishKenyan Kikuyu Kikuyu Samburu Kisii Maasai Maasai Maasai Turkana Kikuyu Kalenjin Kikuyu Turkana Kikuyu Kikuyu Kikuyu Kikuyu Samburu Kikuyu


Ethi Ethi Ethi Ethi Ethi (Kangaro) Ngare Ndare Ngare Ndare Ngare Ndare Ngare Ndare Sanga (Ole Tipis) Sanga (Muruana Irusha) Sanga (Lolagai) Sanga (Murua)

Borana Lodge Community Elder, pastoralist Borana Lodge Community Housewife, pastoralist Sosian Ranch Management Lodge manager Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Sosian Ranch Employee Employee Employee Employee Employee Employee Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Community Head waiter Garden attendant Guide Chef Security guard Room attendant Assistant Chief Retired Assistant Chief Elder Nurse Kinamba Hospital Shopkeeper Young man, poultry keeper Elder, farmer Young farmer Young farmer Young farmer Elder, pastoralist Young pastoralist

Kinamba Kinamba Kinamba Kinamba Kinamba Kinamba Tinga Mara Tinga Mara Tinga Mara Tinga Mara Sugutan Sugutan


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia


A 6* H

A. Interview questions Introductory questions (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) When has this lodge been established? How and why? Whose initiative was it? How has it been constructed (workforce and material Who was providing capital for investment? Who is the owner?

Ecotourism principles (1) (2) (3) How do you define ecotourism? What are the most important features of ecotourism, so it can be successful? Ask for ownership and community-participation if not mentioned. The concept of ecotourism is said to have impacts on local culture, environment and economy that may be different from conventional tourism. How do you rate the general importance of the following impacts? Which one do you give priority?


Job creation

Infrastructural benefits to community

Nature conservation

Wildlife protection

Avoid negative influence on local culture

Visitors learn about environment

Visitors learn about traditional lifestyle (5) (6) Who do you think has the right to use wildlife, who owns it? How favourable are you towards game cropping and controlled/licensed game hunting? Rate from very favourable (1) to not favourable at all (5).

game cropping/managing

game hunting



Community (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) How intense is community participation in decision-making? How does participation materialize? How is communitys participation in profit sharing? How is profit distributed in the community? Does the community have any (other) income or advantage? What sort of? Does your company provide any infrastructure to the community? Did you do any investments over the last year like education, health, water, electricity, communication or transportation in the local community? For private lodges and private investors: Why do you support the community?

Local economic impact (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) How (on which level) do you judge your local economic impact to be? Why is ecotourism said to be beneficial for local development? Which products do you buy locally? And who do you buy it from? Do you import any products from outside of Kenya? Which ones? From whom? In a year of profits, do you do any reinvestments? Locally?

Is the community depending on tourism? which other income sources do exist?


How high are your wages compared to working possibilities in other tourism

establishments? (2) How high are your wages compared to working possibilities in different sectors of

the economy? (3) (1) Do you pay health care and pension for your employees? How much tax do you pay a year? Please split for KRA, county council levies, tourism levy and NSSF? Do you feel like the area gets a benefit from taxes? When visitors book outside of Kenya, how do they do? How do you promote yourself abroad? Do you have any business partners abroad? Which charges? How do you see your relation to the world tourism market? Respectively your place in the world tourism market? (Is it more than a niche product in a global competition?) Which future development perspectives do you see for ecotourism in Laikipia?

(2) (3) (4) (5)



Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

B. Business statistics Number of employees: Kinds of employment and number of: Percentage share of local employees (estimated): Percentage share of women employed (estimated): Percentage share of wages in total expenditure: Financial turn-over: Percentage share of tourism at total income (farming etc.): Percentage share of donor funds at total income: Prices of services: Average amount of US$ or KS a guest is totally paying a day (estimated): Number of guests per year (estimated): Number of bed nights per year: Average length of stay: Capacity: Percentage of guests booking directly: Percentage share of passing by visitors (through tour operators): Percentage share and importance of domestic tourism: Total value of local purchases per year: Percentage share of local purchases (estimated: Percentage share of national purchases (estimated): Percentage share of imported goods (estimated): Percentage share of income spent on community: Origin of owner/group of owner: Origin of capital invested: Community-based or foreign-owned: Mode of landowner-ship: Size of conservation area:

C. Personal statistics Origin/Place of birth: Ethnic origin: Type of education: Interview code:




A. Interview questions Respondent and tourism (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) Do you participate in tourism?

Would you like to see more tourists here? What do you like about tourism? Does it pose any problems to what you do for a living? How is your daily life affected by tourism? Do you benefit from tourism in any form? Do you have family members with a direct employment in tourism? Benefit? If you do not participate in tourism, would you like to? What does stop you from participating in tourism?

Community benefits

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

Is tourism good for the community? Why?

How much does tourism benefit community? Does community have any income from tourism? How is it shared? Is it equitable? What are the advantages and disadvantages to community brought by tourism?

Does community depend on tourism? Which other income sources do exist?

Does tourism provide employment? How, which?

(9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14)

Is it well paid? Apart from salary, do you think employment is safe and good of good quality? Can you estimate the percentage of community members that work in tourism? Can you estimate the percentage of community members that benefit from tourism? Are job opportunities equitable? Do you feel like business activity and entrepreneurship in your area increased due

to tourism? How and why or why not?


Did commodity prices increase?


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

(1) (2)

How do you rate the importance of the following impacts?

Job creation

Infrastructural benefits to community

Nature conservation

Wildlife protection

Avoid negative influence on local culture

Visitors learn about environment

Visitors learn about traditional lifestyle Most important: (3) Did tourism bring a change to the community in any of these points? How intense?

Schools and education

Medical services and health

Transportation and roads



Water supply


Food security Argumentations: (4) (5) (6) (7) Which is the most important improvement in the last time? Which one would be most urgent to improve? Is there some training in tourism and business for the community-members? Does tourism and conservation constrain other activities? How and which ones? How intensively does it affect the following activities? Rate from very positively affected (1) to very negatively affected (5).

Crop farming

Livestock grazing/keeping

Loss of land

Security (from wildlife)

Infrastructure (fences, buildings)



(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Does community benefit from wildlife overall? Who do you think has the right to use wildlife, who owns it and should decide over it?

Does tourism benefit Laikipia Who do you think benefits most from tourism in Laikipia? Any additional statements?

B. Personal statistics Occupation: Age: Gender: Marital status: Size of family: Size of community/population in area: Place of origin/in Laikipia since: Ethnic origin: School (years): Other education: Name of area and lodge: Village or Location:

Representation within sample: Interview code:


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia


A. Interview questions (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) How come you are working here? What would you do if you were not working here? Would you have other working possibilities?

Does work in tourism improve your live?

Are you satisfied with how much you earn? How high is your wage compared to other working possibilities in tourism?


How high is your wage compared to other working possibilities in different sectors?

(7) (8) (9)

How substantial is it to get tips? Do you and/or your family have other income sources? Which ones? Do you and/or your family rely strongly on alternative income sources?


Can you save a part of your income?

(11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18)

Is there a lot of training for employees? What exactly? Does employer care for employees in terms of medical service? How? How intense is employee and community participation in decisions and profit sharing? Who (which actor groups, companies) do you think benefits most from tourism? Who should decide over wildlife, and who does have the right to use it? What are, in your eyes, advantages and disadvantages from tourism in Laikipia? The concept of ecotourism is said to have impacts on local culture, environment and economy that may be different from conventional tourism. How do you rate the importance of the following impacts? Which one do you give priority?




Job creation

Community benefits

Nature conservation

Wildlife protection

Avoid negative influence on local culture

Visitors learn about environment

Visitors learn about traditional lifestyle Most important:

B. Personal Statistics Name of company: Occupation within company: Age: Gender: Family size: Marital status: Years since working here: Working in tourism since: Occupation before here: Number of employments in tourism before: Place of origin/birth: Ethnic origin: Years of school: Other education:

Interview code:


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia


This questionnaire is part of a study conducted by a student of the University of Bern, Switzerland, in collaboration with CETRAD, Nanyuki. In this case study of ecotourisms impact on the local economy of Laikipia, all relevant stakeholder groups are being interviewed. This interview here aims to assess the attitudes of visitors and their contribution to the socio-economic impact of tourism on the district level. Note that there is no right or wrong answer, but your attitude only. Please fill in all questions you are able to answer. Lodge staff may give you additional information. Thank you very much for participating and honestly answering these questions. All questionnaires are anonymous and information is treated confidentially and used for academic purposes solely. If you would like to be informed about the results of this study, you can leave your e-mail contact on the questionnaire. Thank you for your contribution to the success of this research.

Explanation to the questionnaires scale Generally, the numbers are representing a grade from very positive (1) to very negative (5). You can as well cross neutral (3) and unable to answer (0). So, meanings are as follows:

= very important, very much, much more, very big

= important, much, more, big

= neutral, neithernor, about the same

= not important, little, less, small

= not important at all, very little, much less, very small

= dont know, no opinion For financial questions, US$ is used as currency in this questionnaire. If you are not familiar with, you can use other currencies for financial values and indicate it next to the question.



A. Interview questions (1) (2) (3) (4) Do you like the place? What do you like about it? How come you stay here? (Did you book back home?) What is the most important reason for choosing this holiday? How important are these elements for you personally, considering this vacation? Rating from very important (1) to not important at all(5)

Beautiful landscapes, being in plain nature

Viewing wildlife

Meeting and learning about local cultures

Nature conservancy

Locals instead of big corporations profiting

Outdoor activities (e.g. walks)

Tours and trips with local guides


(5) (6) (7) (8)

At the time of booking, have you been aware this is an ecotourism establishment? What is Ecotourism according to you? Do you consider yourself as being an ecotourist (Yes or No)? Does ecotourism satisfy what you expected from it? In what respect it does, in what it does not?

(9) (10)

How much does it satisfy your expectations? How much does it satisfy your expectations in terms of environmental conservation?


How much does it satisfy your expectations in terms of local development?


Ecotourism is said to have impacts on local culture, environment and economy that may be different from conventional tourism. How important are these following points for you? Please rate them from very important (1) to not important at all(5).


Job creation

Infrastructural benefits to community

Nature conservation

Wildlife protection

Avoid negative influence on local culture


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia

Visitors learn about environment

Visitors learn about traditional lifestyle (14) (15) For me, the most important of these above points is: Do you have the impression this ecotourism venture benefits the local economy/the local livelihoods? (16) (17) Who, which actors, do you feel benefit most from tourism in the region? Would you spend more if you knew it benefits local economy and livelihoods?

Rate from much more (1) to not more at all (5) (18) Would you spend more if you knew it benefits nature conservancy? Rate from

much more (1) to not more at all (5) (19) (20) Do you feel like having a big positive impact on local economy? When are benefits to local communities big?

(1) (2)

(3) (4)

How much do you pay approximately in this place for accommodation a day? What for do you spend money apart from accommodation? Could you name any? If not named already: Did you spend money for souvenirs, food in supermarkets and at kiosk shops and/or for transportation? Approximate daily cost of your holiday (US$): Outside this hotel: How much money per day do you approximately spend locally? 0 US$ 0-5 US$ 5-10 US$ 10-20 US$ 20-30 US$ 30-50 US$ 50-100 US$ above 100 US$


Do you/or will you give any tips? Approximately how much a day? 0 US$ 0-5 US$ 5-10 US$ above 10 US$

(1) (2)

Who do you think should decide over wildlife conservation? Should local communities be allowed to use wildlife economically?



B. Personal Statistics Name of place staying at: Age: Gender: Nationality: Education: Profession: Income level in home country (low-medium-high): Size of group travelling with from back home: Time spent in Kenya with this tour operator: Total time of holiday/trip: Way of travelling (independent or prearranged): Name of tour operator (if non-independent): Other places visiting in Kenya: Have you visited many ecotourism places before: Financial support for non-profit organisation at home (Yes or No): Financial support for non-profit organisation on-site (Yes or No): Date:

Interview code:


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia





In this case study of ecotourisms impact on the local economy of Laikipia, all relevant stakeholder groups are being interviewed. This interview here aims to assess the socioeconomic impact of tourism on the district level. Thank you very much for participating and for your contribution to the success of this research.

(1) (2) (3) (4)

Do you think the economic activity of ecotourism operators does benefit the local economy more than conventional tourism does? Why is ecotourism said to be more beneficial to local communities? Did tourism improve local conditions of living? In what respect has tourism development in Laikipia been successful? In what respect it has not been successful?

(5) (6) (7)

Could you name all benefits you can think of that tourism contributed to the development of Laikipia? Could you name any costs that tourism brought to Laikipia? How does tourism affect Nanyuki as a town?

(8) (9) (10) (11)

How many direct employments does tourism create? How many employments depend on tourism indirectly? Value chain: do you observe any multiplier effects from tourism in Laikipia? Did your administration do something to foster tourism development?

(12) (13) (14)

Who do you think benefits most from tourism in Laikipia? Can you estimate the proportion of profits that stays in Laikipia and does not flow away to other parts of the country or abroad? Do you consider profit leakage as an important problem?





In this case study of ecotourisms impact on the local economy of Laikipia, all relevant stakeholder groups are being interviewed. This interview here aims to assess the financial costs and financial benefits of tourism on the district level. Thank you very much for participating and for your contribution to the success of this research.

(1) (2) (3) (4)

How important is tourism for Laikipia in financial terms? Other important sectors? How big is the net financial revenue from tourism in Laikipia? Which are the councils incomes from tourism? Do they materialize in another form than taxes too? Do you have tourism related expenditures?

(5) (6)

How many direct employments does tourism create (estimated, if exact figure is missing)? How many employments depend on tourism indirectly (estimated, if exact figure is missing)?

(7) (8) (9) (10)

Who do you think benefits most from tourism in Laikipia? As how big do you estimate the proportion of profits that stays in Laikipia and does not flow away to other parts of the country or abroad? Percentage estimation? Does local and community ownership minimize profit leakage? Do you consider profit leakage as an important problem?


Evaluating Ecotourism in Laikipia



. #

In this case study of ecotourisms impact on the local economy of Laikipia, all relevant stakeholder groups are being interviewed. This interview here aims to assess the success and benefits of conservation outside protected areas in Laikipia. Thank you very much for participating and for your contribution to the success of this research.

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Can you describe the relationship between the KWS and the lodges? What is good conduct for you? What is KWS attitude towards fencing in private conservation areas? Can you describe the relationship between the KWS and the local communities? Who do you consult for decisions over wildlife? Who do you think benefits most from wildlife? Do you think tourism benefits Laikipia much? Does it benefit Laikipia differently than other areas in Kenya? How do you define ecotourism? The concept of ecotourism is said to have impacts on local culture, environment and economy that may be different from conventional tourism. How do you rate the importance of following impacts, from very important (1) to not important at all (5)?

(7) (8)


Job creation

Infrastructural benefits to community

Nature conservation

Wildlife protection

Avoid negative influence on local culture

Visitors learn about environment

Visitors learn about traditional lifestyle Which one do you give priority?




H / .!0




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In this case study of ecotourisms impact on the local economy of Laikipia, all relevant stakeholder groups are being interviewed. This interview here aims to assess the nature and volume of economic impact on Laikipia. Thank you very much for participating and for your contribution to the success of this research.


Who did found LWF? Why?

(2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

How does ecotourism contribute to Laikipias economy? What are economic advantages out of tourism? Are there any economic disadvantages? Which factors do influence the socio-economic impact of tourism? How does profit leakage occur in Laikipia? Is community-based ecotourism in Laikipia - more beneficial to the local communities, the local economy than private tourism? Is there any true community-based ecotourism in Laikipia?

(7) (8) (9)

How is cooperation between district politics, private landowners, communities and LWF in Laikipia? What makes Laikipia being successful in combining tourism and conservation? How does Laikipia differ from other comparable tourism regions?


Are communities nowadays more supportive of wildlife protection than ten years before, than before tourism? And are those benefiting from tourism more supportive?


Which actor group benefits most from tourism in Laikipia?