Open access peer-reviewed chapter

The Management of Ecotourism as a Way of Contributing to the Development of Protected Areas of Cuando Cubango-Angola

Written By

José Eduardo Ezaquias

Submitted: August 24th, 2021 Reviewed: September 7th, 2021 Published: March 16th, 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.100333

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Abstract

The management of ecotourism in local communities and protected areas faces the challenge of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development indicators, based on a system that integrates political institutional coordination, coherent local participation, endogenous potential, ecotourism and multidimensional interpretations. The objective of the research is to design a procedure for the management of ecotourism that contributes to the development of the protected areas of Cuando Cubango, in Angola. Thus, a procedure was designed for the management of ecotourism, with 5 stages: preparation; diagnosis; the definition of key factors; the objectives and actions and the evaluation and monitoring, which are fed back. Scientific and empirical methods were used, as well as research instruments for data collection and processing. To assess the procedure, the criteria of experts who classified it as high were used. That is, it is relevant for decision-making in Cuando Cubango.

Keywords

  • Management
  • ecotourism
  • development
  • protected areas

1. Introduction

The challenging planetary changes caused by Covid-19 exposed the sensitivity and vulnerability of today’s world, where integration through globalization can pose a threat to its continuity, but also, it can be a fundamental factor to ensure its survival based on the interdependence and connectivity of countries and their peoples.

Covid-19, in 2020 and 2021, had an essential impact on wildlife conservation levels and assuaged the chances of animals being infected by the disease [1]. Although the pandemic lowered tourism rates from 4% in 2019 to 1% in 2020, due to the decrease of nearly 700 million visits in 2020, this segment may be the best adapted to the pandemic from new forms of management, which aim to redefine the demand for these areas.

Africa postulates an attraction that will be able to receive new tourists in time of covid, based on its diversity in geographical and natural riches. But Angola, based on the softer biosecurity measures it has been adopting to curb COVID, ecotourism in protected areas will be better inserted. For this, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Environment proposed that it is necessary to define a concise, realistic and integrative management strategy of tourism, which contains micro-actions, which generate macro results. From the above, this research is derived, which assumes the need to propose a consistent, integrative management capable of boosting ecotourism. The province of Cuando Cubango, the field of our study, comprises 40% of protected areas, with abundant natural, historical and cultural resources.

In contradiction, it does not have a procedure with actions that guides the management of ecotourism in its protected areas, which conditions the existence of a theoretical-methodological tool for decision-making on the management of policies to contribute to sustainable development at the local level. In reality there is no defined management process, since it has been dismantled and does not have enough methodological body to maintain its existence, so this management system needs to be redefined and refined according to insufficient knowledge of local potential and strategies The situation exposed led to identify the following general objective: Design a procedure to improve the management of ecotourism that contributes to the development of the protected areas of Cuando Cubango.

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2. Methodology

This is a descriptive research, inductive and deductive. To achieve the proposed objectives, scientific methods were used: analysis-synthesis; historical – logical; systemic – structural, and the other categories of empirical methods: observation; survey; documentary review and statistical-mathematical methods.

At first, the instruments were designed and tested to collect the primary information. Then the survey and the present observation were applied to communities of six municipalities of the study (Dírico, Kalai, Kuangar, Cuchi, Menongue and Cuito Cuanavale), which represents 66.6% of the nine municipalities of Cuando Cubango.

The research has an intentional sample, composted by community leaders who inhabit the protected areas of the province of Cuando Cubango (Table 1).

Stratum groupsStrataPopulationSample%
n1Community leaders502754%
Total502754%

Table 1.

Sample size (n) by strata.

Source: own elaboration.

The article is divided into two parts: the first is the theoretical foundation on the management of ecotourism as a way of contributing to local development and in the second part is the design of the proposed procedure for the management of ecotourism for the development of the protected areas of Cuando Cubango. The relevance of the procedure shall be assessed through the expert judgment.

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3. Theoretical rationale

The research assumes that ecotourism, because of a historical event, arose from the need to avoid threats of varying order to natural environments. Faced with this threat, the Mexican ecologist raised the need to establish a type of tourism that would curb the growing exploitation through mass tourism in the cultural and natural environment and that would mean a potential for local development [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

One of the most notable examples was Africa. In 1960, Western began working to address the problem of natural resource conservation in the Kilimanjaro area of Tanzania, stating that it was time for a more proactive local role. Western said: “People should be the main beneficiaries and inspectors of natural resources”.

Meanwhile, since its emergence in 1960, ecotourism has been known as an activity aimed at generating new sources of work, local structuring, zoning, community performance in rural and protected areas, through legal or other types of effective means in order to achieve the long-term conservation of nature and its ecosystem services and their associated cultural values [8].

It is inferred that ecotourism is a process of local interpretations and sensible scientific, technological, economic, psychological, socio-cultural and environmental relations between the local population, their homes and guests. Under this sense, the most recent concept was born: “responsible travel to natural spaces that conserve the environment, sustain the well-being of the local population and involve interpretation and education” [9]. In this definition, the political, coordinative aspects and the local self-management associated with nature conservation are absent, with multidimensional impacts [10, 11, 12, 13].

However, we must continue to deepen the theory on the subject. For the author, the essence of ecotourism is concretized in three fundamental constructs, without one of them there is no ecotourism: leisure, nature and community: the practice of leisure, as a psychsociological implication - is the main and social function of ecotourism. That is, in the present, everyone has the right to rest, vacation and to protect the interests of present and future generations; nature conservation, culture and environmental education as an intermediate function of ecotourism, for which they must generate processes that promote environmental conservation and cultural preservation; e Impact on communities: the ultimate goal – must generate benefits to the community; be able to insert it into local and global society; raise the quality of life and control over their reality.

The links between Sustainable Development (SD) and ecotourism focus on the sensible and responsible outcomes that both demand. The term sustainability first appeared in the forest fields of Germany in 1713 [14]. Nevertheless, as a global concept, it was taken up by the Commission for Sustainable Development’s document “Our Common Future”, Brundtland Report, in 1987. In this, the concept was made known, as one that meets the needs of the present without involving those of future generations, that is, from a coherent and sensible current use of resources, well-being can be shared with others.

Conversely, it has to be approached from the local and from the vision of each individual that is part of this context. For this, Alonso [15] states that local development “are those who seek solutions with their own resources and are urged (...) local actors to become the protagonists of their own growth.” In this line, Sachs [16] and the speeches of Fidel Castro, propose a foreign aid to the local, where the most developed become donors to the less developed and through the aid investments are made in 5 major areas: agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and water management. This approach is called the “top-down” development of the World Bank, which was adopted in 1975, but its materialization towards the local level is consequent to us due to a weak distribution mechanism, which makes it easier for these supports to actually reach the most deprived people.

Meanwhile, in turn, the term management dates from 1884 and comes from the etymological root gesto, which comes from the Latin gestos, defined as attitude or movement of the body, which in turn is derived from gerere, which means to execute and carry out. Management as an influence factor of sustainability at local level of protected areas is very recent, comes from the 80s, after the Brundtland report, and is today in a stage of theoretical-methodological redesign, assuming the name of local development management.

It turns out then to link the management from what is strategy, its operational component. In this way, the research led to the following definition: Strategy for the management of ecotourism: it is a logical plan based on the context and tourism resources (natural, cultural and historical), with coherent objectives and actions, to achieve sustainable local results; increase the tourist demand and manage spaces, in an average time.

For a better local coherence, the management has different techniques to assist in the making of strategic decisions to give rise to the characterization of the context, among them: the theory of the games, decision tree, Balanced Scorecard and the critical factors of event (FCS), etc. [17, 18]. But in the authors opinion, manipulating the FCS is an outstanding way to know the premises properly and guide the management, while other techniques have a more entrepreneurial vision.

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4. Design of the procedure for the management of ecotourism

Procedures of international authors for the management of ecotourism were studied [10, 19, 20, 21, 22]. These authors agree on the need for the design of a procedure for management and reinforce its systemic, scientific, dynamic, flexible and objective-oriented character.

In general, they do not have such a procedure for the management of ecotourism. Then there is no consensus. Most do not consider the conservation of environments as an imperative; some do not assume carrying capacity; the accuracy of local FCS in making decisions is insufficient; all do not incorporate the ideas of the community and there is little clarity in the strategies of commercialization of the local tourism potential, that is, it can be observed in the policies and actions, they are designed without the direct participation of those involved in the future destination.

The previous shortcomings led to the proposal of a procedure that is essentially based on the contributions of Rodríguez et al. in his study, incorporates community and management into a methodological design, suggesting that villagers have the need to propose their own ideas; exchange with tourists and integrate the management process, as shown below (Table 2):

4.1 I. First stage: pre-preparation

Step 1. Selection of actors who will participate in the process and establish the premises, scenarios and the management system.

They constitute tasks of the present stage, the selection of actors who will participate in the process and establish the premises and scenarios.

The proposed procedure comprises the following foundations:systematization; the philosophical; the sociological; the psychological; local self-management; training; participation and partnership.

The management of ecotourism as a way to bring development to protected areas must be formed by a local hierarchical structure.In the specific case of Cuando Cubango, the Provincial Governor is in office to coordinate and mobilize efforts to achieve the expected results.

Along with the governor, the team include other members of the local management: Intermediate: directors of the local office of Tourism, Environment and Culture; Directors of the Okavango Development Pole; private companies, middle managers, university professors and private sector officials, and at the grassroots: they include academics, members of non-governmental organizations and community leaders.

The procedure, based on the previous studies and the objectives pursued, adopts the following premises,previously set to the participants: The local community; el potential that has the province of CuandoCubango; lto will and political participation, and a business sector.

For this, the following mission is proposed: to design a procedure for the management of ecotourism that contributes to the local development of Cuando Cubango and creates a theoretical-methodological basis for local policies.

In turn, the vision as the futuristic point of what is to be achieved consists of those assumed indicators: economic (one - tourist demand; two - new infrastructures); sociocultural (three - elevation of community quality of life) and ecological (four - conservation of flora and fauna).

4.1.1 Ecotourism system

For an approach of the relationships of these agents, below is a functional proposal of the structural system of ecotourism management, which evidences results and the functions of those involved. But you have to engage them and train tourism agents, to motivate them and have the sense of belonging to the need for development (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Spatial circular model of ecotourism. Source: own elaboration.

The proposed ecotourism system contains four zones, with endogenous (micro-destination) and exogenous (the source market) areas that interact creating an integrated circular system of scientific, technological, economic, psychological, sociocultural and environmental relations:

  • Zone 1: the source market, where the tourist departs for the destination. This agent travels to the destination and in return gains a new experience;

  • Zone 2: here resides the micro destination, where rests the fauna and flora, culture and historical heritage, accommodation and restoration, attractions and animation.

  • Zone 3: note that the local community works (providing its time, effort, skill, hospitality, knowledge and agricultural products and chicken coop) in the micro destination and is considered the owner of the land that in turn also rents or cedes to entrepreneurs, under state control. From employment, renting and granting land, the community has income and income. With this income, the community can meet their needs and obtain benefits allocated by public companies.

  • Zone 4: it is the transversal market that at the beginning is in an urban area where there is the coordination (local government) of everything and supports the micro eco-destination; provides assistance to tourists, creates public and private benefits to the community, tourists and their agents. In his thesis, Escribano [23] states that in this area is: the effects with transport service, activities demanded by tourists in the places visited, car rental, accommodation, restaurants, travel agencies, after-sales service. There are also support activities such as infrastructure, health, school, road, human resources, logistics and technology that are decisive for the success of the system, in order to generate desired multidimensional impacts.

4.2 II. Stage: analysis of the diagnosis

Step 2: Diagnose the starting situation.

This step fulfills the objective of identifying variables of ecotourism management from the field of action. To that end, a brief report is made on the subject in Angola, then in Cuando Cubango, and then the methodology is applied to the assumed sample.

4.2.1 Brief summary of tourism in Angola

With an area of 1,246,700 km2, tourism in Angola is also facing the current consequences of the oil crisis. Although the weight of tourism in GDP went from 0.6% in 2014 to 3.5% in 2017, demand has been slowing down for years (Table 3).

StageDesignationObjectiveStepsTools
I.Pre-preparationEstablish the systematization of a group of participants and sectors of the ecotourism segment to comply with the established premises, taking into consideration the methodology of research-action-participation that incorporates the community.
  1. Selection of actors who will participate in the process and establish the premises, scenarios and the management system

Checklist to check local conditions; constitution of the ecotourism management team (Consultation Equipment) and instrument to determine the stakeholders in the results; levels of hierarchy and functional system.
II.Analyze the general environmentPerform a strategic analysis of the local diagnosis.
  1. Diagnosis of the starting situation

Primary and secondary sources
III.Defining key factorsDefine, from the diagnosis, the SWOT matrix and the key factors to guide the objectives and actions of the strategy.
  1. Determination of internal and external factors

  2. SWOT Analysis

  3. Definition of key factors

Documentary consultation, creativity, expert opinion, SWOT and MICMAC method.
IV.Formulation of the strategyDesign the objectives and actions that can contribute to the development of ecotourism in Cuando Cubango.
  1. Determination of strategic objectives

  2. Definition of priority actions

Creativity, consultation group, expert consultation and documentary consultation.
V.Evaluation and monitoringFormulate evaluation indicators to assess the relevance and relevance of the proposed objectives and actions, responding to the dimensions of sustainability.
  1. Assessment of the proposed procedure

Survey of experts to determine the relevance and relevance of the strategy formulated.

Table 2.

The procedure for the management of ecotourism.

Source: own elaboration.

YearsTouristsEuropeAmericaAsiaAfricaAustrália
2017260.961134.45633.80251.19740.769730
2016397.485213.05161.73168.75652.6861.261
2015592.000199.127105.106111.262176.022978
2014594.998325.97083.60577.204107.269950
2013650.033231.26674.216119.657222.2302.064

Table 3.

Tourist issuers for Angola (2013 to 2017).

Fuonte: adapted from MINTUR [24].

Of this figure for 2017, only 13% came to the country on holiday, while 87% were work and business. This leads to the fact that Angola is not yet a known destination for tourism. According to MINTUR Luanda, Benguela, Huila and Huambo are the provinces that received the most tourists.

On employment, the information is modest. According to MINTUR, general tourism employed an average of 200,000 workers between 2015 and 2017 (Table 4).

  • It is estimated that only about 10% of these employees work in hotel entities linked to conservation.

  • Meanwhile, the urban and peri-urban hotel structure has been growing since 2010, the year of the African Football Championship which mobilized the national business community to invest in hotel units. In fact, Angola has renowned five-star hotels. But the weaknesses of the areas of tourist support and widespread social problems, make that the hotel quality does not have much effect on the attractiveness (Table 5).

Years201220132014201520162017
Employees157.954173.478202.766219.349221 847223 965
Men107.745112.516113.547
Women95.021109.331110.418

Table 4.

Change in employment in the national tourism sector.

Source: adapted from Institute of Foment of Tourism, INFOTUR [25].

Years201320142015201620172018
Hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and the like5.7666.2776.3786.7207.5738.092
Number of beds22.00030.27532.15835.83436.687
Room number20.78822.11521.20121.71827.14828.462

Table 5.

Information on the hotel and restaurant sector.

Source: adapted from INFOTUR [25].

While this information, the development of ecotourism management in protected areas of Angola is in a phase of redefinition, due to the absence of strategic management mechanisms that link all actors, sectors and local resources and lack of investments. However, it was considered that 13% of the national territory are conservation areas, but any effort to ensure better control of these areas was left unchanged, by the government to reduce the ministerial of tourism and environment to secretaries, who could, from above, go articulating the management processes of the protected areas.

4.2.2 Ecotourism management in Cuando Cubango

In turn, Cuando Cubango the second largest province of Angola, after Moxico, with an area of 199,335 km2 and an estimated population of 535,838 inhabitants, which translates to 2.3 inhabitants per Km2 and to the total are about 59,537 families, an average of 9 people per dwelling, has 9 municipalities: Menongue (head), Cuchi, Cuito Cuanavale, Dírico, Rivungo, Mavinga, Kuangar, Calai and Nancova.

The province has a management structure that in parallel also coordinates the local ecotourism system. It functions with the power relationship of a governor appointed by the President of the Republic, at the top of the management; at the intermediate level it is helped by the offices (local administration, tourism, environment, culture, commerce, economic, migration, tax and fiscal) and at the base: there are the traditional leaders, social organizations, universities, churches and populations. Everyone is called upon to implement policies linked to tourism.

However, it is understood that management is not adequately structured; the relationships between the levels of hierarchy are not efficient and effective, a fact that disorients the objectives; it is evident the absence of a political attitude and knowledge of the dimension and opportunity that ecotourism reaches; structural political defects aggravate the social situation by failing to extract local problems; the width of the territory also makes it difficult to manage ecotourism and there is no knowledge exactly of the local critical factors, a situation that influences decision-making contrary to local needs.

As a result of this attitude, the province was in the last ten years the deforestation of thousands and thousands of trees that weakened the local ecological system.

Likewise, we are witnessing the halting of all actions that at this time are considered essential for the implementation of ecotourism. In 2017, there were 13 hotels and similar units, including hostels, which in total had 194 rooms and 248 beds, of which two reference hotels in conservation areas. It currently had an increase of 53.8% % in the hotel offer. In this regard, the structure of prices per room and A + B (food and beverages), is characterized by high prices in the local currency (Kwanza). But with currencies, consumption will be made more accessible by the devaluation of 85.7% of the local currency in USD.

On the other hand, in the last four years, the arrival of tourists suffered a sharp reduction as an effect of the weak application of policies oriented to ecotourism (Table 6).

YearTouristsTotal
NationalForeign
20188222201.042
20172.5121462.658
20164.599
201510.557

Table 6.

Flow of tourists in Cuando Cubango.

Source: Provincial Directorate of Tourism [26].

The socio-economic situation of the protected areas where the fauna and flora rest is chaotic. There are problems related to education, with the absence of school institutions and teachers. In fact, there are children outside the system, while another part of these children, depending on the precarious situation of their families, are sent by their parents to work in the agricultural fields, while the school year is going on. As of 2019, an estimated 132,984 pupils at different levels were estimated, including 100,524 (75.5%) children and 6,127 (4.6%) adults in literacy (Annex 2.1.6). of them 159 graduates in Tourism Management for 3 years.

The management of these areas can be affected by lack of hospital structures, where the only one is located more than 600 km from the main ecotourism centers, where there are no roads, a factor that can constitute a problem in the management. That is, 63% of these areas do not have sanitary facilities. Thus, some areas were adapted inappropriate facilities, where hospital services are provided.

Electricity as a basic budget for management, until July 2021, reached about 17,378 families, meaning a coverage capacity of 29% of the territory (Only the villages of Menongue, Cuito Cuanavale, Kuangar, Calai and Dirico have access to this service).

However, all headquarters in the nine municipalities have mobile technology service that varies from 3G to 4G by zones, telephony services and mobile Internet. In the villages, there are shortages of services, so you can travel up to 200 kilometers without having a network to communicate.

4.2.3 Application of the methodology

4.2.3.1 Outcome of the instrument applied to host communities

It took into account the communities located in areas of interest for ecotourism, natural and cultural sites of Cuando Cubango, where a survey guide with 6 multidimensional points was applied in the last three years.

27 community leaders from 6 municipalities were surveyed. All appointed by paternal transition or imposition of the local administration. 100% of these leaders are men, aged between 45 and 70 years and an average level of education of 5th grade, but most cannot read and write.

These communities have identical economic, socio-cultural and environmental features. Thus, the results were exhibited based on the methodology of Lira and Escudero [27] that propose two sets to describe them, nomadly: problems and potentialities. In this way, the difficulties arise first (Table 7).

  • While these problems, these community have shown strength and persistence that has allowed them to subsist in conditions of precariousness, absence of social comfort, for several centuries, in a nomadic and resilient way, based on local capacity.

  • They also have endogenous potentialities that guarantee living conditions and minimize any problems mentioned in advance (Table 8).

EconomicCulturalEnvironmental
  • 60% of the population walks long distances (over 50 km) to access various services, including health, education and trade;

  • Community leaders mostly have developmental management problems and their problems are solved from the family decision – customary justice;

  • 100% of local communities do not have a public transport service;

  • communities live on outside supports;

  • They do not have mobile communication media.

  • Most one-room dwellings are occupied by 5.6 to 11 people;

  • The houses are (80%) of precarious construction (mud and guano, covered with grasts) and 20% of permanent construction;

  • The quality of health service in communities is 20% weak and 80% non-existent;

  • poor quality of teaching and lack of teachers;

  • Most leaders and their members cannot read and write;

  • Only 14% of local communities have access to safe drinking water.

  • 80% of the inhabitants, when they are sick, use traditional medicine, handling herbs and roots, which sometimes results in death;

  • Fauna and flora are sources of subsistence for the community

Table 7.

Problems of communities.

Source: prepared on the basis of the survey of the host communities.

EconomicCulturalEnvironmental
  • The main activity: livestock breeding in the south, family farming, hunting, fishing, comércio and gathering wild fruits;

  • Typical food of the region (hard flour of Massambala, Massango, Kizaca, Mute, Mono and Kambambi (forest goat) and bull;

  • produce and drink drinks and meals at regular events (Tchissangua, Leche, Hidromel, Mutoho, Vikundu, Kapuca, Kaporroto, katchipembe, Mundevele and Kapata);

  • Produce tubers (potato and cassava) Cereals (Corn, Massambala and Massango) Horticultural (Tomato, Onion and Cabbage) and Sugarcane;

  • A moderate number of animals were registered for sale and consumption (beef, pigs, chickens and chickens);

  • With local techniques and materials are produced machetes, knives, swords, spears, arrows and machados, as well as mud objects as panels, plates, glasses and water reservoirs.

  • Strong cultural, linguistic, folkloric, religious and customary potential;

  • Ability to manufacture traditional musical instruments (drums, bows, malunga, riquembe, marimba) and organization of dances for the local celebration (Thianda, Kamandada, Maku, Katanga, Kandoa, Kuviala, Tungandzi, Kuvamba, Mivan dye, Massakuila, Tchileya, Makapo and Mbongo);

  • Circumcision rituals for boys (Vamba) and fiko for girls (Mukula);

  • The local community communicates fluently in the mother tongues in Ngangela (54%) Cókue (14%) and Umbundo (18%), also speaks Mbwela variants; Nyemba; Kuangar; Ngonjelo; Mpengo; Ngakala; Lucazi; Cisokola; Xambiu; Mbunza; Diric; Mbukuxu and Khoisan [28]

  • In the communities there are rituals of veneration and worship of the ancestors, however, the Christian tradition is already taking hold, but obscure rituals are still frequent.

  • Beauty that develops on vegetation

  • Almost untouched ecotourism sites (not yet commercially explored);

  • High mastery of the behavior of fauna;

  • Knowledge of flora and water resources;

  • All local communities are close to tourist resources, where different ecotourism activities can be developed; − It lives on rudimentary hunting, not only for food, but for the sale of its derivatives.

Table 8.

Endogenous potentialities.

Source: prepared on the basis of the survey of the host communities.

It can also be assumed as endogenous wealth the ancestral knowledge, hospitable and the instructive values of these communities, as an intangible heritage, which guides the inhabitants and is very influential in moments of interaction with visitors.

4.2.4 Presentation of local potentialities

The studies of the last 60 years have classified the region as possessing interesting and significant mineral resources, flora and fauna. Among them the well-known Big Five(lion, elephant, hippopotamus, buffalo and rhinoceros) made known to the world in 1961 by the renowned International Magazine of the National Geographic on Angola “ um lugara descobrir”.

But when it was already believed that there was no natural heritage in the province because of the war, recent scientific studies proved otherwise. The Researches of [28, 29, 30] revealed that the end of the armed conflict and consequent Declaration of Peace and National Reconciliation, on April 4, 2002, evidenced an intact, guarded, true and genuine rest of the national flora and wildlife, with a unique biodiversity and powerful rivers.

4.2.5 The existing ecosystem in Cuando Cubango

To know the supply of ecosystems, we substantially reviewed the data of the NGOWP that since 2015 makes a scientific task to study the biomes of the Rivers Cuando and Cubango, in order to make known to the world.

Table 9 shows the results of the first stage of the research.

Species of flora and faunaQuantity recorded
Plants1.050
Fish3.000
Reptiles and amphibians99
Poultry443
Mammals43
Flora and fauna: new discoveries for science
TypicalityQuantity
Plants40
Poultry4
Fish5
Reptiles3

Table 9.

Faunal and floristic resources.

Source: NGOWP.

The amount of fauna and flora resources recorded evidences the current situation, but they are not the totality of the existing natural heritage, as will be noted below.

4.2.6 Description of major wildlife resources

For the present study, the author presented mainly the animals that have been seen and studied in the last three years of empirical research within the protected area. Among them, you can find:

Fish: clams, catfish, sardines, freshwater crab, mullet, trout and limbombo.

Reptiles: alligator (order crocodile), lizards, chameleons and snakes.

Mammals and wild: black elephants (one of the highest populations in Africa), cheetah, hyena, leopard, wild dog, zebra, hippopotamus, lion, hyena, royal lever, nguelengue, buffalo, rabbit, gazelle (bambi, local name), jaguar, badger, inhala, puku, chango, topi, impala, oribi, steenbok, lechwe, olongo and boar that need natural and ample spaces to move.

Birds: ostrich, bico-de-serra, peru-do-mato, guinea fowl, Angolan hen, red throat grace, carunculadosted guru and secretary.

Livestock and poultry: cattle, goats, pigs and horses. The populations also raise ducks, chickens and pigeons.

Flora, mineral and river resources.

In this region of Africa there is an ecosystem characterized by savannah, where small shrubs and trees are found [31]. Among the main resources of the flora in Cuando Cubango, is:

Flora: muxumba, mucussi, muvambo, mumwe, mucoxo, mucuvi, muxexe, mungolo, mussivi, muvambe, girassonde or mucula and palmeiras. The flora is made up of forests of zambezia miombo and xerophilous forests and savannas. Areas with a water table near the surface are occupied by grasslands (chanas). In the riverbed there are palustrial and aquatic communities with a preponderance of grasses existing at the northeast end of the Okavango sub-basin and most of this unit is occupied by rooted vegetation that corresponds to palustr reeds and thorny trees (Manja) and there are also several extensions. However, part of the territory is almost a desert. You can also see swamps, virgin areas and observation.

Agriculture: maize; beans, macunde beans, green beans; cassava; massango, massambala and nuts and wild fruits.

Rocks: in the municipalities of Cuchi and Menongue it is possible with techniques to findethyst, tourmaline, seawater, gunza iron, diamond, varied clays and other ornamental minerals.

Water resources: its two important rivers are Cuito and Cubango.

4.3 III. Stage: definition of key factors

It is reasoned the need to know exactly the internal and external factors that affect the normal local development. Of all the diagnostic analysis process, 58 variables were accurately identified: 28 (51.8%) economic; 19 (35.1%) sociocultural and 11 (20.3%) environmental. In this stage, the action is to identify which of these variables have the greatest influence on others. To carry out this analysis, the research was based on the opinion of experts.

13 experts were chosen, under the following characteristics:

  • Experience in topics on ecotourism management (five years minimum);

  • The high level of preparation, knowledge and expertise on ecotourism management in support of sustainable development processes at the local level;

  • Those who occupy functions in the different sectors of the tourist plant of Cuando Cubango keys to the takeoff of local tourism.

Of these, 7 (53.8%) are Doctors of Science, 5 (38.4%) Master and 1 (7.6%) Graduate. The selected experts present a Kendal Coefficient of 0.79 very close to high, which is considered valid for the present analytical stage.

An instrument was applied to qualify each variable. For this step, the methodology containing three phases was fulfilled (1 – estimation of the variables, assuming the frequencies, 2 – SWOT matrix and 3 – obtaining the key factors). All inherent mathematical-statistical process was processed by Excel 2013 and the MicMac method.

Step 3. Determination of internal and external factors.

Identifying internal and external factors is a tool that makes it possible to know and evaluate the real operating conditions of the management, in order to propose actions for its benefit [19].

In this sense, 58 variables were identified from the environment. Of these, 24 (44.4%) internal and 34 (55.5%) external. Among the 24 internal variables: 12 (50%) are economic; 9 (37.5%) are sociocultural and 3 (12.5%) are environmental and among the 34 external variables: 16 (47%) are economic; 10 (29.4%) are socio-cultural and 8 (23.5%) environmental.

To evaluate each variable, the Likert method was adapted to (1 – Low, 2 – Medium and 3 – High). In the expert consensus, no variable averaged 3 values. The closest, with 2.8 was: theprovince has a gran ecotourism potential. Factor que puede se asumido com una base fundamental para los objectivos de la investigação.

4.3.1 Internal

From a total of 24 internal factors put to the assessment of the experts (Delphi Criterion), they chose 10 factors: 5 Strengths and 5 Weaknesses (Table 10).

Strengths
Territory preserved and still little altered by the human hand;
Endogenous knowledge and hospitality;
The tourist potential of Cuando Cubango is little explored;
Rivers sailable in long extension;
The province has a great tourist potential, comprised of natural and cultural resources;
Weaknesses
Lack of accompaniment and monitoring of the When Cubango Tourism Master Plan (2012–2020);
Weak capacity of the hotel industry for visitor accommodation;
Insufficient integration of university staff;
Accessibility and infrastructure problems in the potential area of ecotourism (roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and private companies);
Weak investment in ecotourism;

Table 10.

Internal factors.

Source: based on expert assessment.

4.3.2 External

It is related to the outer part of the territory, over which you cannot have direct control. Of the 34 variables, experts selected 10 (Table 11).

Opportunities
Growing interest in wildlife destinations;
Good weather conditions;
Angola has immense natural and cultural potential;
Political commitment in the National Development Plan (2017–2022);
Free movement in the African region and proximity to the main ecotourism areas of Africa (Okavango Delta, Victoria Folls, Livingston, Ethosa and Johannesburg
Threat
Growing dynamics of hunting movements and environmental deforestation
Difficult access and long distances between tourist spots;
There is no official information on tourist resources;
Poor integration of the province of Cuando Cubango in the tourist route in the southern African region;
Lack of qualified personnel for the hotel and tourism industry;

Table 11.

External factors.

Source: drawn up fromv

Step 4. SWOT Matrix Analysis (Weaknesses, Threats, Strengths and Opportunities).

The experts evaluated the influence between the internal and external variables. This process was completed with the search for consensus for the evaluation of each relationship of the SWOT matrix (Weaknesses, Threats, Strengths and Opportunities). As a result, it was obtained that the largest number of greatest impact was located in the upper right quadrant of the matrix (2.5228).

The SWOT matrix presents the highest result of 2.5228 in the Maxi-Mini area, which translates into a defensive strategy, which must minimize threats against strengths, or take advantage of strengths to reduce those interferences that still slow down management processes.

Step 5. Determination of key factors.

Based on the 20 factors (internal and external) that most influence decision-making about the context, the MICMAC method was used to analyze the interdependence and influence of each variable, to identify the most influential among them. This method allows you to verify the dependence of each of the variables with the others in the system (Table 12).

No.VariableTotal number of rowsTotal number of columns
1Angola has immense natural and cultural potential;3935
2Absence of integration da comunidade local no Plan Maestro de Turismo De Cuando Cubango (2012–2020)3337
3Weak capacity of the hotel industry to accommodate visitors;2840
4Public and private disarticulation on ecotourism development trends;3832
5The tourist potential of Cuando Cubango is explored spontaneously and isolatedly;3839
6Tourism is a strategic axis, but there are still no priority actions;3836
7Lack of qualified personnel for the hotel and tourism industry;4137
8Weak economic dynamism in the province of Cuando Cubango;3734
9Relaxation of entry visas (political commitment);3638
10Hospitality and the endogenous knowledge of its inhabitants.3840
11Insufficient environmental education in communities;3440
12The lack of free movement in the African region.3437
13The province has a great tourist potential3740
14Poor integration of the Province of Cuando Cubango in the tourist route in the region of southern Africa;3437
15Accessibility and infrastructure problems in the potential area of ecotourism (Roads, Bridges, Schools, Hospitals and Private Companies);4339
16Proximity to the main ecotourism areas of southern Africa (Delta do Okavango, Victoria Fols, Livingston, Rundo and Johannesburg.4036
17Rios navegáveis em larga extensão;3845
18Growing interest in wildlife destinations;4439
19Road and rail access routes between provinces;4044
20Territory preserved and still little altered by the human hand;5439
Totals764764

Table 12.

Direct influence matrix.

Source: MicMac.

The use of the MICMAC method allowed to identify three variables that have a strong influence on the design of the current ecotourism management strategy. These variables or key factors are:

  1. Increased interest in wildlife destinations;

  2. Accessibility and infrastructure in the potential area of ecotourism (roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and private companies);

  3. Territory preserved and still little changed by man and industry.

From these traits derived from the internal processes of the investigation, the critical factors of success of the strategy were determined, which are: (1) interests in nature; (2) accessibility and infrastructure; and (3) preserved territory.

In this way, it can be inferred that the management of ecotourism is the dependent variable (effect) and the current independent variables (cause) are: the growing interest, accessibility and potentialities, depending on the transversality of ecotourism.

4.4 IV. Stage: formulation of the strategy

Step 6. Identification of strategic objectives.

Based on the approach pursued, the research seeks to operate the following general strategic objective: to design a procedure for the management of ecotourism that contributes to the local development of Cuando Cubango and creates a theoretical-methodological basis for local policies.

To follow up on the proposed general objective, three strategic objectives were raised, the critical factors of success of the strategy:

OE1. Take advantage of the growing interest in wildlife destinations, achieving the participation of communities to enhance the benefit of the natural and cultural potential of the province.

OE2. Promote accessibility and infrastructure in the potential area of ecotourism, motivating the competent bodies and private companies to improve roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

OE3. Promote the care of existing natural, historical and cultural resources, in order to guarantee the conservation of nature and ethnic identity of its inhabitants towards sustainable development.

Step 7. Definition of priority actions.

The actions carried out serve to use the strategic objectives set. In this regard, an action plan was developed that connects local aspirations, which had contributions from members of the hierarchical management structure, experts and the creativity of the researcher.

Methodologically, each strategic objective proposed has a set of actions in the plan, which in turn, integrate: start date (2021–2031); the resources required (local activity, programme or project); the person responsible (level of management hierarchies) and the specific place to develop (sectors or premises).

4.4.1 Priority actions by strategic objectives (APOE)

Strategic obejctivososPriority actionsDateResourcesResponsablePlace
Strategic objective 1. Take advantage of the growing interest in wildlife destinations, engaging communities to drive the use of the province’s natural and cultural potential.
  1. Develop small conservation tourism projects linked to ecotourists that raise awareness and make these agents responsible for nature and the community;

February 2021ProjectCommunity leaderCommunities of Leapeka
  1. Determine areas for natural wildlife sanctuaries such as elephants, hippos, buffaloes, lions with spaces for tourists;

January 2022ProjectGovernment, Universida and researchersLuengue-Luyana and Mavinga
  1. Establish public incentives for the private sector to create small hotel conservation units;

RegularEmployer support programmesGovernmentEcotourism promotion zones
  1. Create financing lines for community projects with favorable interest rates and medium-term repayment;

RegularFinancial productsGovernment and BanksEcotourism promotion zones
  1. Promote internal, external and main interconnected commercial production chains, supporting the sector and generating income for the inhabitants;

All year roundTax incentive projectsGovernment and businessEcotourism promotion zones
  1. Disseminate the natural and cultural potential of Cuando Cubango at the local, national and main source markets for the modality of ecotourism;

All in yearMarketing and promotion campaignsGovernment and privateLocal, National and international
Strategic objective 2. Promote accessibility and infrastructure in the potential area of ecotourism, motivating competent organizations and private companies to improve roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other support structures.
  1. Develop concrete and gradual projects to improve accessibility to the main tourist attractions of Cuando Cubango;

May 2021Public Investment ProjectCentral governmentInternational road with Nkurenkure
  1. Create priority and essential infrastructures in Dírico - Angolan headquarters of the Okavango-Zambezi conservation area;

January 2022Proyecto do Polo OkavangoOfficial Government and OrganizationMunicipality of Dirico
  1. Support projects of the micro-agriculture, livestock and river fishing communities in remote areas;

Agricultural timesAgricultural development programmeGovernment
Cooperatives
Country folk
The whole province
  1. Providing accommodation with a low environmental impact that does not deplete local resources and destroys the environment, but provides ample opportunities for a better understanding of the environment and sensible exchange with local communities;

January – 2022Conservation projectsCompanies and familiesEcotourism development areas
  1. Create an ecotourism development agency for the coordination, implementation, supervision and monitoring of programs, actions and projects, guaranteeing the impact to its community agents, in the territory and promoting ecotourism;

Sept 2022Creating a Structure ProjectGovernmentMenongue
Strategic objective 3. Promote the care of natural, historical and cultural resources, preserving nature and the ethnic identity of its inhabitants for a sustainable development of ecotourism.
  1. Create training, literacy projects; training and preparation for community agents to manage ecotourism processes, without losing their originality and ancestral charm;

Sept 2020Community training projectsUniversity and Social OrganizationsCommunities studied
  1. Carry out a detailed survey of the tourist resources of Cuando Cubango;

Sept 2017ActivityGovernment
Coordination
Researchers
University
When Cubango
  1. Develop a program to identify, describe and record the main tourist attractions of Cuando Cubango, with fixed and durable signs along the main roads, where additional information about the resource must also be placed;

Sept 2017ProgramGovernment
Researchers
University
When Cubango
  1. Create, with the support of the Government, the University and Non-Governmental Organizations, zones for the promotion of ecotourism;

January 2022ProjectGovernment
University Social organizations
Ecotourism Promotion Zones
  1. Define standards and methodologies for the control and protection of fauna, wild flora and all the natural heritage of the province of Cuando Cubango;

January 2022ProjectEnvironmental ProsecutorPotential ecological zones

Source: own elaboration.

In the practical context, the priority actions were designed to achieve the following multidimensional goals within ten years:

4.4.2 Economic

  1. Increase the number of “international” tourists by 84%.

  2. Improve infrastructure to support ecotourism by 27%.

4.4.3 Cultural

  1. Contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of 20 ecotourism communities.

4.4.4 Environmental

  1. Raise the level of natural conservation and cultural preservation from 50–80%.

All the above fact, are challenges of local management that will be articulated from the dynamism of the agents of the ecotourism market.

4.5 V. Stage: evaluation and control

Step 8. Assessment of the proposed procedure.

The purpose is to formulate evaluation indicators to assess the relevance and relevance of the proposed objectives and actions. To validate five aspects of the procedure, the expert approach was used, through a Guide to the assessment of the proposal.

It was applied to a group of experts made up of Cubans, Angolans and Ecuadorians linked to the subject and the field of action. 40 experts were consulted, where 7 did not express interest in participating. Of the 33, 12 with a lower competition coefficient of 0.60 were ruled out, leaving 21, representing 63.6% of the total. However, in the territory of Cuando Cubango few experts working on the subject of ecotourism management were identified, for this reason, the Delphi Method was manipulated, which in turn allowed to investigate assessments of experts located in different geographical latitudes.

Of the 21 experts, 11 (52%) had a high level of competence and 10 (47.6%) had a medium level. Among them 8 (38%) Doctors of Science, 8 (38%) Master and 6 (28.5%) with bachelor’s level. An average level of competence among experts of 0.80 (High) was reached. The average service time is 20 years. These requirements meet the requirements for expert judgment [32].

The first round by the Delphi Method achieved high consensus in the five aspects consulted. The ecotourism management procedure obtained a classification of 89% translated into high relevance for the province of protected areas of Cuando Cubango.

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5. Conclusions

It has been possible to design 15 priority actions that are part of the initial stage of ecotourism management in Cuando Cubango taking advantage, for this, of the interest that I have expressed for wildlife and the constant possibilities of socio-economic and environmental development of the protected areas.

However, the proposed actions were designed within the new normal created in the world by Covid-19. Together they are a way for When Cubango to respond to the challenges of the following documents:

  • The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (goals, 1, 8 and 15);

  • The African Agenda 2063 (aspirations number 7);

  • Okavango Zambezi Transboundary Conservation Area Treaty of 2011 (task 4 and objective 4); and.

  • The Government Programme of Angola 2022 (p.38) (section IV. 2.2.4. A – f).

Through the expert method, an 89% validity of the five internal aspects of the procedure was achieved, as an instrument with theoretical-methodological and practical contributions, which usually perfects the variables-keys for the management of ecotourism, in order to contribute to the development of protected areas of Cuando Cubango.

However, it is necessary to continue to deepen studies on this subject, in order to apply the actions proposed, as a way to improve the management of protected areas, with the linking of all internal actors, allowing effective conservation, based on the increase in the animal population and forest repopulation, assigning forms of sustent from the dynamism of ecotourism.

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Written By

José Eduardo Ezaquias

Submitted: August 24th, 2021 Reviewed: September 7th, 2021 Published: March 16th, 2022