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Merging traditional livelihood activities with new employment opportunities brought by ecotourism to Iona national park, Angola: rethinking social sustainability

Abstract

Ecotourism activities and investment projects have been consistently increasing worldwide over the last few decades. In this process, ecotourism has contributed to fight poverty, to create local employment opportunities and to promote nature conservation. However, there are also plenty examples of nature-base tourism destinations where ecotourism principles have been distorted and negative impacts are on the rise. Therefore, studies that provide a deep understanding of the roots and consequences of those both positive and negative impacts are needed to achieve new higher tourism quality standards, to foster a sound local development and to promote an integrated and sustainable national growth. To obtain information useful to contribute specific recommendations aimed at linking tourism employers and job seekers, we have conducted a survey addressing locals’ demographic characteristics and their engagement in traditional livelihood activities. Data gathered from 202 respondents showed that in the largest villages traditional livelihood activities, excepting pastoralism, tend to have little expression while the same activities seem to play a key role in some small communities. Striking differences were found between nomadic or semi-nomadic people and people who have been assimilated into the western civilization and also have more sedentary life styles. Using this information and taking in consideration some new employment opportunities brought nature-based tourism to the Iona National Park, we have identified specific demographic profiles more suited for part-time and full-time jobs

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