Local community involvement and participation in avitourism: a case of Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Kenya
COMMUNITY BASED CONSERVATION INITIATIVES
Avitourism in the Kenyan Coast has received little research attention. This study examined issues relating to the level of local community involvement in avitourism in Arabuko Sokoke forest in Kilifi County. An adapted community involvement framework was used to assess community involvement with other stakeholders in relation to avitourism activities and programs by collecting the views of both the local community and other external avitourism stakeholders. Results indicate that although the community is willing to participate in avitourism, lack of knowledge, limited economic resources and the poor negotiation skills of local tour guides has dis-empowered them from maximally benefiting from their guiding services. Both state agencies and the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have greatly supported the community in avitourism through capacity building and funding with little contribution from the county government of Kilifi. For the success and growth of avitourism in the study area, the local community need to be assisted and capacity built in marketing, training and funding awareness, while the county government of Kilifi should play its rightful roles.