Image Database Export Citations


Do Local Communities Have Capacity to Regulate the Tourism Commons? The Case of Tourism Resource in Communal Land Conservancies, Namibia

Show full item record

Type: Conference Paper
Author: Lapeyre, Renaud
Conference: Building the European Commons: From Open Fields to Open Source, European Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP)
Location: Brescia, Italy
Conf. Date: March 23-25
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/713
Sector: New Commons
Social Organization
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
tragedy of the commons
protected areas
Abstract: "Colonial power dispossessed Namibian local communities from their land and natural resources (huntable wildlife, grazing areas, water resources and fish) but had very low capacity to control those newly state resources. Thus it created a de facto open access situation that leads to the Tragedy of the Commons (Hardin, 1968) i.e. overexploitation of natural resources. Ostrom (1990), Baland and Platteau (1996), Wade (1987), proved that rural communities can sustainably manage common-pool resources if use and exclusion rights are devolved to them. Thus, the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme has been implemented in Namibia through the 1996 Act that allows local communities in communal lands (former Bantustans under South African apartheid regime in Namibia) to register as conservancies. Those are territorial defined units where inhabitants can be members and vote for a constitution and a representative committee. Thus, conservancies have use rights over wildlife and tourism resources (that were previously under State property and control) and can benefit from it. They can organize own use and trophy hunting as well as non-consumptive use through photographic tourism. Nature-Based tourism resource is a local commons. Its inputs are natural assets that attract visitors in the area. As stated by Jafari (1982), background tourism elements (BTE) determine the attraction and the product proposed. BTE are natural and cultural assets that are present in the area, as landscapes, engravings, etc., but also the broader environmental elements as the quality of air, water, the carrying capacity of lands and local infrastructure (roads, clinics, shops, et.). All these elements are used at the same time by visitors and local people. Landscapes are grazing areas for farmers and photographic features for tourists. Wildlife is an attraction for safari lovers and a way of eating meat for local hunters. Thus, users compete for different usages of different resources. For local communities, tourism activities bring opportunity costs, in terms of loosing grazing and fishing areas as well as hunting territories. As a common-pool resource (CPR), tourism commons is characterized by no possibility of exclusion and a finite stock. If we follow Hardin (1968), this resource will be overused and rent will be dissipated. Governance is needed to regulate access and use rights of different actors to the common pool resource, in order to avoid the Tragedy. The CBNRM programme in Namibia devolves use rights over tourism. As custodians of the land, local communities, via conservancies, set up tourism management plan, zonation plan and regulate access to specific tourism zones by visitors and inhabitants. They also have legal capacity to reach agreements and sign contracts with private operators. Thus, they negotiate tourism benefits-sharing by transferring a right of leasehold over an area. Different institutional arrangements are found in Namibia to regulate and manage tourism resource as a commons. Following Birner and Wittmer (2000), we can analyse hybrid forms, comanagement and community- based management forms of organization of relations between the different actors of the tourism sector (communities, State, private sector). Firstly, we analyse theory on common-pool resources, particularly on the tourism commons. We show later how CBNRM programme in Namibia is based on this theory and devolves rights to communities in order to regulate and manage common resources, as wildlife, and especially tourism. Finally, we show that devolution and tenure security are still incomplete in Namibia, leading to inefficiencies and the development of an unregulated tourism."

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
Lapeyre.pdf 436.5Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following document type(s)

Show full item record