International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online)

Local Communities’ Perception of Ecotourism and Attitudes towards Conservation of Lake Natron Ramsar Site, Tanzania
Shoo Rehema Abeli

Abstract
Despite the ecological and economic importance of ecotourism in supporting conservation, degradation of natural ecosystems remains a matter of concern, which emphasizes the need to understand the perception and attitudes of local communities towards ecotourism as a conservation strategy. This study was conducted at Lake Natron to examine local communities’ perception of ecotourism and the influence of ecotourism benefits on local support for conservation. Questionnaire survey and interviews were conducted on the local residents living in the adjacent villages to the lake. Data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings indicate that, local communities’ perception of ecotourism and attitudes towards conservation varied across the study villages as ecotourism investments, activities and benefits were concentrated in only one village. The study recommends the right balance to be struck over ecotourism benefits in order to ensure increased local support for conservation.

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