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North-West University (2020)

A diversification framework for eco-tourism products of Botswana

Vumbunu, Tonderai

Titre : A diversification framework for eco-tourism products of Botswana

Auteur : Vumbunu, Tonderai

Université de soutenance : North-West University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Tourism Management 2020

Résumé partiel
Tourism is regarded as one of the fastest growing industries that has generated colossal positive and negative impacts. This rapid growth and reaction to negative impacts has led to the advent of ecotourism as a component of Alternative tourism paradigm. The evolution and development of the ecotourism sector has been credited to changes in tourism demand, technology, globalisation and increasing competition amongst destinations. Due to these changes, product diversification is now core to ecotourism development strategy, as means of maintaining competitive advantage and remaining abreast with contemporary trends. However, empirical research focusing on diversification of ecotourism products from a demand perspective is limited, especially in the context of Botswana. The study, therefore, focused on empirical research to determine demand for ecotourism products. The research provided the basis for developing a diversification framework for ecotourism products in Botswana. To achieve this goal five objectives were formulated. The first objective was the analysis of literature on product development (showing linkage to marketing) and diversification in the tourism industry. An overview of marketing literature revealed the linkages amongst the concepts of tourism marketing, product, tourism product, product development and diversification. The concepts were analysed and applied in relation to diversification of tourism products. The review established that there are multiple strategies of diversification, with related constrained diversification being the most suitable for tourism firms to maintain competitiveness and remain relevant in continuously dynamic market environments. However, the review of literature established that diversification research in the field of tourism is limited, especially from a demand perspective. The second objective was an evaluation of ecotourism as a concept, in view of definitional controversy, multiple principles and classifications. Given the various classification frameworks, the study developed seven ecotourism options that formed the basis of diversifying products. The third objective analysed tourism development in Botswana, with particular emphasis on ecotourism. Attainment of independence and subsequent discovery of diamonds that were prudently managed, triggered rapid economic development that greatly benefitted the tourism sector. The country promoted the strategy of High Value – Low Volume (HVLV), that focuses on attracting few affluent tourists with high spending patterns, taking into consideration the fragility and sensitivity of the major ecosystems supporting tourism, namely ; Okavango Delta and Chobe river. In line with this approach to minimise negative environmental effects, the country markets itself as a prime ecotourism destination based on wildlife related products, predominantly located in the northern parts of the country.

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