SPACES is carrying out two tourism research activities at the moment. In the first, we are mapping and analysing the ‘value chain’ around tourist day trips to the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Protected Areas on the coast of Kenya. This involves working out all of the different individuals and organisations that provide goods and services to tourists for these trips, and how much each of them gets from tourism. By looking as well at the identify and wellbeing status of the beneficiaries and the factors that limit their ability to access benefits, we hope to be able to make recommendations that can improve the positive impact of this tourism activity for local people in the future.
In our second tourism activity, we are trying to understand the impact of a recent slump in tourist numbers on the Kenyan coast. This happened during the SPACES project as a consequence of concerns about security linked to terrorism. The situation is very unfortunate, but it does give us an unusual opportunity to make a before and after comparison to reveal the impact of the dramatic reduction in tourism activities for local livelihoods in an area that seems quite dependent on tourism. We will be repeating some household surveys that were previously conducted before the slump occurred, so that we can understand the impact it has had, the coping strategies people have used, and how these might have impacted on the coastal ecosystem.