Sustainable wetland resource utilization of Sango Bay through Eco-tourism development
Defining and achieving sustainable development is a major issue for policy debates both in the developed and developing countries. Eco-tourism as an important niche market in the world tourism industry has been embraced by developing countries like Uganda, which are trying to use tourism as an engine of national development. It embraces environmental conservation, maintenance of biodiversity, a satisfying experience for the visitors, study and appreciation of nature and sustainable community development. Eco-tourism development is expected to achieve three major goals (3P) namely: Profits (economic), People (Social cultural benefits to communities and tourists) and Place (biodiversity conservation). Based on a research conducted in Sango Bay wetland of Rakai district in Uganda, this paper evaluates the socio-economic benefits of consumptive utilization practices of wetland resources, the recreation and Eco-tourism potential of the wetland, its sustainability and contribution to poverty reduction among the surrounding communities. Secondary data from diverse sources was used to complement primary data collected through Focus Group Discussions (FGD) questionnaires and Participatory Rural Appraisal techniques. The results indicate dominance of consumptive resource utilization practices and the failure to reduce poverty levels. The eco-system is rich in flora and fauna which are important for eco-tourism development. Potential eco-tourism projects, which can be introduced in the wetland for sustainable resource utilization and poverty reduction, are proposed.
Key words: Ecotourism, sustainable tourism development, poverty reduction.