Community Perceptions of the Economic Impact of Ecotourism in Zambia Data

Published: 22 April 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/h6t6cmwffs.1


This study aimed to examine community perceptions of the economic impact of ecotourism in Sioma Ngwezi National Park in Zambia. The research utilized a quantitative approach and focused on the community within and surrounding the national park. Through surveys of 193 individuals, the study found that ecotourism has some key positive economic benefits, but these benefits are primarily realized by government and private businesses, with limited benefit sharing with the local community. This lack of benefit sharing is attributed to the limited involvement of locals in the ecotourism sector, inadequate management practices that do not prioritize inclusivity or local economic empowerment, and a lack of dedicated ecotourism policies to guide sector development and management. The study recommends the development of policies and strategies that prioritize communication between park officials, community leaders, and government.This would ensure that economic benefits are equitably distributed among local communities.


Steps to reproduce

The study utilized a survey to consider whether the ecotourism development model extends to the Zambian case in Sioma Ngwezi. In order to effectively understand the role Ecotourism plays in Sioma Ngwezi, I disseminated a survey to community members in four key communities. The four communities selected were Ngwezi, Sinjembela, Imusho and Mbala. Utilizing a systematic sampling method, heads of households were selected within the local communities for the study. However, due to the absence of reliable data indicating the number of households in each case study site, I was unable to determine the exact sample size. To address this limitation, I relied on an unknown population size, as suggested by Isaac and Micheal (1981). Using systematic intervals of every 3rd household within the case study sites, I completed a total of 193 household surveys. Each of the four communities selected resides within the Sioma Ngwezi Game Management Area, which creates a geographical perimeter around the park. Prior to each survey being conducted, the participant signed a consent form to demonstrate their understanding of the risks and benefits of participating in this research. A translator (fluent in English, SiLoz, Nyanja, Bemba and Tonga) assisted in answering any questions prior to the participant signing the consent form or completing the survey. The communities were selected based on their relative population, location within the GMA and potential impact ecotourism within the national park would have on them. It was estimated between 400-900 households exist in each village. The surveys were conducted by the lead researcher (myself), with a translator present when English was not spoken. The survey questions focused on the state of ecotourism development, the level of local participation and involvement in the sector, the extent of benefit sharing among locals, and the dissemination of local economic development facilitated by the sector. After working with local authorities and chiefs, I entered four communities and offered 30 Kwacha to each respondent for taking the time to participate in the survey. I sampled every third head of household over the age of eighteen. Surveys were offered in Nyanja, Lozi and English, with verbal translation provided by translators when necessary and for participants who were illiterate or struggled to read. Surveys were provided on paper, and were stored exclusively by me, the researcher, until I could enter data into a dataset which was stored on a secure laptop.


Northeastern University, Northeastern University Alumni


Economy, Tourism, Economics, Employment, Ecotourism, Impacts of Tourism


Fulbright Program