African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure (Mar 2020)

The impact of mountain gorilla tourism: A residents’ perspective

  • Gift Muresherwa,
  • Imelda Amony ,
  • Chux Gervase Iwu ,
  • Cynthia Nokubonga Dube

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 2


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The critically endangered mountain gorilla, Gorilla beringei beringei, found in only three countries, Uganda, Democratic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda is inextricably linked to tourism. Governments in these countries work tirelessly ensuring protection of these great apes so that future generations would also get a chance to benefit from their conservation. The study investigated how local residents living close to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) perceives the impact of mountain gorilla tourism in order to establish the overall value of the attraction. To achieve this, a quantitative research approach was adopted. Data was collected through a survey instrument (n=394) with mostly close-ended questions. The results show that gorilla tourism has contributed positively to their area through the creation of job opportunities as well as unlocking several entrepreneurial opportunities. The study also revealed that residents of the Butogota Town Council have gained from this niche tourism area. Meanwhile, socially, the study’s findings suggest that gorilla-related activities had negatively affected the lives of the locals around the park resulting in residents becoming resentful to the impact of this niche tourism. Some of the issues related to gorilla tourism were highlighted and included corruption, limited infrastructure, and land squabbles. The study notes the importance of improving the management of the attraction to guarantee long-term sustainability.