Tourism management and local community participation in the Nyae Nyae San Conservancy, Northern Namibia,


Mayinoti, S (2012), Tourism management and local community participation in the Nyae Nyae San Conservancy, Northern Namibia, Masters thesis in Development Studies, Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State.


The study analysed tourism activities in the Nyae Nyae San Conservancy of Northern Namibia. The focus was on local community participation in tourism management in the area. The roles of stakeholders such as government, NGOs and tour operators in helping the local community’s involvement were also assessed. The perspectives of tourists were also sought in order to have a multi-dimensional analysis of the participation of the local community.

The study reveals that the local community of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy participates in tourism mainly through making and selling crafts to visiting tourists, and cultural performances and dances. While there are non monetary benefits of tourism to the local community, such as conservation of the environment, the economic and monetary benefits are quite minimal. The majority of the community members live in relatively abject poverty despite the tourism potential and opportunities that exist in the area. The main impediment to optimal participation of the local community in tourism is lack of education, knowledge and skills that relate to complex tourism activities and business.

Another main finding of the study is that the local community remains proud of its culture and considers tourism not to be detrimental to the local culture. The community views culture as an opportunity that can be used as a source of income without conflict between cultural preservation and the need to earn income. The Majority of the community participants view tourists, who visit mainly for experiencing an exotic culture, as good for the local community. Tourists to the area are regarded positively because of the income that local people earn through selling crafts and cultural performances for the tourists.

Various government departments have projects and programmes that directly and indirectly relate to tourism and indigenous communities. However, most of the government projects and programmes have had relatively little success, especially directly on the Nyae Nyae Conservancy community. A major weakness in government efforts regarding tourism and the livelihoods of local communities like the Nyae Nyae Conservancy has been a lack of coordinated effort between the different departments and Ministries.


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