The Case for the Redistribution of Ecotourism Gains in Kenya.

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The Case for the Redistribution of Ecotourism Gains in Kenya.

Introduction

Ecotourism, also known as “responsible tourism”, is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas, which conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people” . Ecotourism has become the fastest growing sub-sector of the tourist industry: in the Third World, it is growing at a rate of 6% per year . Bordering the Indian Ocean and located in Eastern Africa, Kenya reaps substantial benefits from ecotourism activities. Kenya’s rich biodiversity and natural resources allow it to earn as much as 1/3 of its total foreign exchange revenues from ecotourism . A recent study of game farming in Kenya has shown that wildlife tourism was fifty
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The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) found that tourism was Kenya’s most successful area of diversification. More than 50% of the earnings shown in the following table were generated by wildlife.

Table 1- Foreign Exchange Earnings From Tourism in Kenya, 1977-91
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1977 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
KES (billions) 0.96 4.18 4.92 5.84 6.98 8.64 10.66 11.88
US$ (millions) 129 239 306 355 394 420 444 333
Total visitors 344 377 542 587 616 696 740 727
(thousands)
Earnings per 375 501 564 605 640 603 600 458 visitor (US$)
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Source: Statistical Abstract, Economic Survey 1992.
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Note: These figures do not include expenditures billed to credit cards or attributable to other channels of payments

This data helps to understand why there would be such a struggle over land in Kenya.

Wildlife conservation actually has a long history in Kenya. In 1898, colonial authorities

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