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University of Johannesburg (2021)

A comprehensive assessment of climate change threats and adaptation of nature based tourism in Zimbabwe

Mushawemhuka, William J.

Titre : A comprehensive assessment of climate change threats and adaptation of nature based tourism in Zimbabwe

Auteur : Mushawemhuka, William J.

Université de soutenance : University of Johannesburg

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Environmental Management 2021

Good weather and favourable climate are vital resources for tourism, particularly nature-based tourism (NBT). Weather plays a pivotal role in selecting tourist activities and the overall experience of the trip, while climate influences the timing of the trip, the range of activities offered, and the natural environment experiences which attract tourists. This influence is amplified in countries located in the global South, which have little to no adaptative capacity to ameliorate unfavourable climatic conditions and extreme weather experiences. This study presents the first comprehensive tourism and climate change analysis in Zimbabwe, and used a mixed-methods approach to : (1) assess tourists’ perceptions of climate change ; (2) explore tourism stakeholders’ perceptions of climate change and their adaptation strategies ; and (3) investigate the climatic suitability of Zimbabwe for tourism at various selected locations across the country. This comprehensive assessment is the first of its kind in Southern African tourism and climate change research which triangulates three different sets of empirical findings in evaluating Zimbabwean climate suitability and climate change perceptions, which enhanced the credibility of the research findings. For the tourists’ perceptions, closed and open-ended questionnaires were used, while semi-structured interviews were conducted with tourism stakeholders to investigate their climate change perceptions and the adaptation strategies they employ. For climate suitability, the Tourism Climate Index (TCI) was calculated. The results from the TCI highlight that the mean annual TCI scores for Zimbabwe range between 75.5-83 (100 being the maximum score), classifying the country as having “very good” to “excellent” climatic conditions for tourism, while the mean monthly TCI scores range from 53.8 “good” to 86 also “excellent” climatic conditions for tourism for the period under study 1989-2014. These results were then triangulated with questionnaire results from tourists and semi-structured interviews with various tourism stakeholders at the selected locations around Zimbabwe. These three sets of results largely complemented each other where thermal comfort is the most important climatic variable considered for tourism climate suitability by the TCI, the tourists and the tourism stakeholders, and hence addressed the knowledge gap in Southern African climate change and tourism.,


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