Sustainability of Wildlife Tourism Tourist Perceptions on Threats to Wildlife Tourism in Two State Protected Areas in Zimbabwe

The study sought to determine tourist perceptions on the threats to the sustainability of wildlife tourism using a case study of two state-protected areas in Zimbabwe. Using close-ended questionnaires, we collected data from 128 tourists in December 2015. Results show respondents generally perceived all the seven tested threats as serious, i.e., illegal hunting, destruction of wildlife habitats, human-wildlife conflict, lack of involvement of local people in national park tourism, lack of benefits from the national park to local communities, negative attitudes towards tourism by local residents, and poor local community and national park relationships. Moreover, respondents generally had similar perceptions on the impacts of the threats on the sustainability of wildlife tourism regardless of their gender, age, level of education and income. We conclude tourists are more environmentally conscious and well informed of the threats to wildlife tourism in Zimbabwe, which may indicate willingness to support conservation. It is thus necessary for park management to promote local people participation in ecotourism, enhance innovative law enforcement measures as well as motivate tourists to participate in conservation. Results could help broaden policy decision-makers’ knowledge base in response to sustainable wildlife tourism development challenges.