Sustainable tourism offers green and inclusive growth opportunities for Southern and East Africa. Tourists increasingly come to Southern and East Africa for nature-based activities that rely on abundant wildlife and attractive terrestrial, coastal and marine environments. International and national policies recognise that sustainable tourism can generate livelihood opportunities for low-income populations while conserving nature at the same time. However, sustainability is often treated as an add-on to tourism development rather than its own priority.
This paper discusses the importance of including local communities in tourism, especially those who need to exploit fragile ecosystems to survive. It outlines how governments need to support enterprises and intermediaries that create synergies between tourism, conservation and community participation.