Swaziland is presently experiencing many fiscal and economic challenges. The current fiscal crisis and the economic growth slowdown has brought renewed attention to tourism as a sector that could help revive its economic growth. Trends in the performance of tourism in Swaziland show that for the last decade, tourism has grown to be an important sector in this country.Hence, there is a great consensus that tourism in Swaziland has great potential to make significant contribution to economic development.
The research work explored ways and strategies for harnessing the potential of nature-based tourism in stimulating socio-economic development in Swaziland, with specific reference to three nature reserves namely Malolotja, Mlilwane and Mantenga Nature Reserves. The study was a survey, which used self-administered questionnaires for collecting data. Two different sets of questionnaires were constructed. The first set aimed at obtaining information from the tourists visiting the reserves whether from foreign countries or local. The second set aimed at obtaining information from the employees of these reserves and the organisations responsible for managing them. Purposive sampling was employed, whereby a sample of 30 tourists found in each reserve was used as well as 15 employees of each reserve and the organisations responsible for managing them.
Findings in this study have shown the need for strengthening the awareness and marketing of the nature reserves in the local and international media. Secondly, the study also showed that the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs should reinforce co-operation and commitment from all parties concerned in the tourism sector. Lastly, the increase of government funding to effectively carry out tourism related operations in nature reserves e.g. improvement of infrastructure was seen to be of necessity.
Mini-dissertation (MSc)--University of Pretoria, 2015.