Masai Mara is known as the greatest wildlife reserve in Africa. The reserve is located in the southwest Kenya. The reserve is famous for the huge numbers of lions, the Great Wildebeest Migration and the Masai people who are well known for the culture and dress. The Masai Mara National Reserve is considered as Africa’s most famous safari destination (McBrewster et al. 2010).
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The Masai Mara has a rich resource of ecosystem that holds one of the highest densities of the lions and the reserve is the place where two million Wildebeest, Zebra and Thomson’s Gazelle migrate annually. The Masai Mara hosts over 95 species of mammals and more than 570 recorded species of birds. All the members of the Big Five (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and Black Rhino) can be founded in Masai Mara National Reserve (Gibbons 2004).
Kenya hospitality and tourism introduction
From 1998 to 2006, the total number of visitors increases from 890,000 to 1,600,000. (See Appendix 2) The Gross receipts increase from USD $ 502 million to USD $ 579 million. In 2006, visitors spend an average of USD $ 1,875 in coastal area meanwhile visitors spend USD $ 4,375 in the wildlife areas. In 2010, the hospitality and tourism industry has brought 439,000 jobs for Kenya (Honey 2008).
Sustainable tourism and development
2.1 Sustainable tourism
Sustainable tourism is an industry commitment that making a low impact on the environment and local culture meanwhile helping local people to get more employment opportunities. The aim of the sustainable tourism is to bring the sustainable development for the local people, tourism companies and tourists themselves (Weaver 2007).
2.2 Sustainable development
In the Bruntland Report, the sustainable development is defined:
…ability to make development sustainable as well as to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs (WCED 1987, p.16).
Furthermore, the Johannesburg Declaration has provided a detailed definition:
…a collective responsibility to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection at local, national, regional and global levels (WSSD 2002, p.1).
Thus, the purpose of the sustainable tourism is to provide the economic development, social development and environmental protection in the destination.
Social sustainable development and hospitality and tourism industry
The social sustainable development can be concluded that the future generation should have the same or greater social resources as the current generation. The social resources include cultures, basic human rights, and community (Galea 2004).
The Kenya has a 40% of unemployment rate country wide in 2009 and about 50% of the population is below poverty line. The population who live with HIV is about 1.2 million in 2009. Thus, the social sustainable development in Kenya, especially in Masai Mara National Reserve is to providing job opportunities meanwhile increasing the living quality (CIA 2010).
The Social Sustainable developments in Masai Mara National Reserve are implementing in following principles:
Individuals have the right to gain sufficient resources to participate fully in their community and have opportunities for their personal development and advancement. A fair distribution of the resources in communities are good for social sustainable development (Rabe 2001).
The UNDP (United Nation Development Program) is supporting Kenya in sustainable development and management in resources. The Masai Mara National Reserve is supported by the UNDP to solving the poverty in the area and implement development with the help of the business organizations in the area. The reserve is also working with the UNDP to reduce the unemployment poverty to below the national rate of 56% and 47% by cooperate with the hospitality industry in the area.
3.2 Social inclusion and interaction
Individuals in the communities have their own rights and opportunity to participate in, enjoy all aspects of the community life, and interact with other members in the community (Gui and Sugden 2005).
The Kenya government has established few regulation to the protect the Kenyans’ rights when they interact with the community and other members, especially in the hospitality industry, the regulation protects labours from low salary and poor working conditions.
Individuals will fully contribute to the community life if they have the economic security, safe living condition, supportive and healthy environment (Pieters 2006).
The KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) community enterprise development and human-wildlife conflict resolutions.
The KWS Community Enterprise Development is designed for communities and private landowners to develop their capacity establish and manage economically viable and sustainable nature-based enterprises within targeted landscapes of Kenya. The goal of the program is to build the capacity of communities to increase social benefits meanwhile reduce the dependence syndrome.
The program guarantees to employ local people, procure locally and pay fixed. It also promoted the gender equality that provides men and women same working condition and salary. The guaranteed incomes, which make local Masai landowners first time, receive direct, predictable income from wildlife resources, allowing local people to plan for the future and encourage them for wildlife conservation (Dolan and Prins 2000).
On the other hand, the Community Enterprise Development program can also motivate the communities to adopt new land use ways that are more compatible with wildlife conservation and management, which might be a good way of solving the human-wildlife conflict.
The KWS has paid many efforts to minimize the human-wildlife conflicts in Masai Mara National Reserve. Measures such as fencing off protected areas to encouraging community tourism enterprises and providing compensations for livestock killed and crops damaged by wildlife to local communities have been taken. The KWS also provides technical support and education for wildlife conservation and management issues.
The KWS also holds a series of local events to raise money for interventions, including the famous Rhino Charge four-wheel-drive challenge and the Lewa Safari Marathon.
The cooperation between KWS and local communities creates a win-win situation for both wildlife and human beings. The wildlife conservation and management has become more efficient than before. The wildlife resources being conserved may contain valuable compounds for all humankind. It also helps local communities to realize the benefits from the sustainable wildlife conservation (Rabinowitz et al. 2003).
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