Gorilla tourism: Uganda uses tourism to recover from decades of violent conflict

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Title: Gorilla tourism: Uganda uses tourism to recover from decades of violent conflict
Author: Ringer, Gregory D., 1951-
Abstract: Only a few years after the murder of eight foreign tourists in 1999, kidnaped while on an Abercrombie & Kent tour of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwest Uganda, the country is finally, albeit slowly and rather tenuously, experiencing a rebound in international travelers. Where only recently, “adventure tourism” referred to the possibility of abduction and death for foreign tourists, the term once again suggests the possibilities offered by a country whose national parks and protected areas remain among the world’s most significant, culturally and ecologically. Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda has endured decades of ethnic violence, institutional mismanagement and international neglect, poverty, and disease. Yet, recent increases in disposable income and leisure time, improved political stability and openness, and aggressive tourism campaigns have fueled the boom in tourism both locally and intra-regionally. As a result, tourism – and more specifically, culture- and nature-based ecotourism – is now one of the most important sectors in the regional economy, and governments throughout East Africa are busy (re)positioning themselves as international destinations. Certainly, not every country or community in Africa will succeed as an attraction, and those that do may discover the economic benefits less consequential than the social costs, as governments become more intrusive and traditional practices are rendered inauthentic for tourists’ consumption. Nonetheless, ecotourism may play a critical and formative role in reuniting countries and a continent long fragmented by genocide and politics.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/2067
Date: 2002

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