Urban resident perceptions of the impacts of tourism development in Zimbabwe

Open access

Abstract

This study examines the perceptions of urban residents towards the socio-economic and environmental consequences of tourism development in Zimbabwe. Perceptions were tested using empirical data that were gathered from a sample of 384 adult members, representing urban households in Bulawayo. The results from a semi-structured survey revealed that such sociodemographic variables as gender, education, length of stay and income are relatively predictable of their attitude towards tourism. Further, although the urban residents tended to perceive tourism impacts positively, they reacted more strongly to the environmental impacts involved than to the economic and sociocultural impacts. The urban geographic context of this study makes this finding significant, as it indicates that urban residents have an environmental consciousness with regard to tourism. The study has implications for tourism development planners and destination managers, in terms of enhanced engagement with the urban residents regarding tourism development, irrespective of the likelihood of residents supporting future development.

1 Introduction

Studies of residents’ reactions to community tourism first emerged in the late 1980s, when tourism began to be recognised in both industry and academia (Ap, 1992; Andereck, Nyaupane, 2011), with such tourism having since then been at the centre of tourism research (Gursoy et al., 2011). The above is in recognition of the significant role that is played by local residents in successful tourism development (Andereck et al., 2005; Choi, Murrey, 2010). Several studies have argued that understanding the perceptions of tourism impacts on local stakeholders is vital for the overall success of tourism’s development and sustainability (Bakhsh et al., 2018; Canizare et al., 2016; Deng et al., 2016; Gursoy et al., 2002; 2004; Gursoy, Rutherford, 2004; Nunkoo, Gursoy, 2012; 2017). This is so because residents’ quality of life is affected by tourism development, irrespective of geographic location (Andereck et al., 2007). Therefore, the successful involvement and participation of all stakeholders in the planning and execution of such development is essential (Tosun, 2002; Gursoy, Kendall, 2006; Moyo, Tichaawa, 2017; Mudimba, Tichaawa, 2017).

Consistency amongst researchers relies upon resident perception studies focusing on tourism impacts, irrespective of the typologies involved, especially given that perceptions might change over time (Ap, 1992; Lorde et al., 2011; Tichaawa, Mhlanga, 2015a). Hence, the need to measure such perceptions regularly is imperative for destination managers and authorities (McCool, Marin, 1994; Nunkoo, Gursoy, 2012), as they inform policy, planning and leveraging tourism endeavours (Latkova, Vogt, 2012). Moreover, the need to manage perceptions and impacts can sustain and grow the tourism sector (Nunkoo, Ramkissoon, 2010c; Hay, Visser, 2014; Van der Merwe, 2016).

Tourism perception studies have largely focused on host stakeholders in a number of contexts and using multidimensional approaches and tourism typologies (see, for example, Nunkoo, Ramkissoon, 2012). The general focus has tended to measure impacts from a rather specific impact-based typology, as opposed to unpacking them from a triple-bottom-line approach (economic, socio-cultural and environmental). Additionally, the focus from a geographic perspective has been dominated by studies in rural and peri-urban contexts, with a limited focus on urban residents. This study follows calls by researchers (Nunkoo, Ramkissoon, 2010a; 2010b; 2011a; 2011b) who advocate the need to analyse the perceptions of tourism development impacts within African destinations holistically, for suitable strategically driven development to be attained that is cognisant of sustainable principles. The current study contributes by focusing on urban residents in the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.

The geographic focus on urban residents provides a fresh perspective, as urban centres are in many cases the centre for major tourism and other related economic activities, as well as for the promotion of urban tourism (Rogerson, 2002; Rogerson, Rogerson, 2011). Such activities, as expressed by Sroda-Murawska et al. (2017), have a primary impact on the quality of life of the urban resident. Tourists promote informal and formal businesses that could have significant impacts (Rogerson, Letsie, 2013; Rogerson, 2015a; 2015b; 2016; 2018; Tichaawa, 2017) on the promotion of economic growth. In the context of sub-Saharan Africa, major urban cities are at the epicentre of economic activities, including tourism. Besides most such cities being gateways to their regions and countries, it is evident that the presence of tourism-related infrastructure, including hotels (see Rogerson, 2014) and convention centres, promotes urban tourism. Tourists tend to visit such cities for purposes of business or leisure (Rogerson, 2011; 2013; Tichaawa, 2017), with the resultant impacts being evident to the local citizens. The analysis of the resultant causes and effects that from an urban citizenry perspective are linked to tourism development is important (Nunkoo, Ramkissoon, 2010a; 2010b).

2 Residents’ perceptions of tourism development

The extant literature has mostly demonstrated that the reactions of community residents and other stakeholders to tourism development are largely influenced by the perceptions of the cost versus the benefits involved (Teye et al., 2002). According to studies by Ap (1992) and Gursoy et al. (2010), local residents’ perceptions about the nature of impacts vary. Some might perceive tourism development as having mainly positive impacts, while others might perceive that tourism accrues negative impacts. For example, Nunkoo and Ramkissoon (2010a) conducted a resident perception survey of small island urban residents, in which they found that residents’ support for tourism was evident. Related works by McGee and Andereck (2004) showed the same pattern of support. Along similar lines, other studies (Tosun, 2006; Tichaawa, Mhlanga, 2015a; 2015b) have found significant differences in relation to the socio-economic benefits and costs involved in terms of development.

The available studies show that residents perceive tourism as an economic booster, introducing such highly regarded benefits as increased employment opportunities and tourism-increased shopping opportunities, recreational opportunities, and revenue for the local government, as well as serving to attract investments, promote entrepreneurship, advance local culture, and conserve and preserve national resources, among others (Long, Kayat, 2011; Jitpakdee, Thapa, 2012; Sharma, Dyer, 2012; Lee, 2013; Ramkissoon, Nunkoo, 2011). Conversely, Zamani-Farahani and Musa (2012) showed neutral perceptions by the residents whom they interviewed on the effects of tourism development. The literature underscores the concerns that were raised, including those pertaining to such social issues as crime, drug addiction, vandalism, alcohol consumption, environmental concerns, tourism increasing neither the local revenue nor the local standard of living, low pay, and short-term employment (Pham, Kayat, 2011; Sharma, Dyer, 2012; Türker, Öztürk, 2013). What is important to note is the potential change in perception as soon as tangible benefits become important. The above is evident in studies undertaken by Lepp (2007) and Mbaiwa and Stronza (2011), further highlighting the importance of frequently gauging tourism perceptions. When the touted benefits of tourism development are not evident to the residents within the destinations in which tourism takes place, they become increasingly concerned about it. Therefore, if the residents’ perceptions are not examined, the result can be a loss of support (Nunkoo, Smith, 2013; Nunkoo et al., 2013; Park et al., 2015) for tourism development, an unwillingness to work in the tourism industry, and hostility towards tourists (Prayag et al., 2013). Therefore, Ap (1992) proposes the adoption of a social exchange theory that has been widely used in analysing tourism perception studies to date. The theory underscores the importance of conducting a beneficial exchange between tourism development and the residents.

Elsewhere in the extant literature, sociodemographic variables have been found to influence the perceptions of residents with regards to the way in which they perceive and support tourism development. In a study by Huh and Vogt (2008), age was noted to contribute to the change in the attitudes of residents over time. Almeida-García et al. (2016) found that the older residents tended to have a more positive attitude towards tourism with regard to the local environment, and a more negative attitude in relation to its economic impact, with the younger residents considering tourism to have a more positive impact on the local economy. Additionally, the more educated residents had a positive attitude towards tourism with regards to the local culture and the economy than did the less educated. In terms of length of stay within a destination, and the perceptions of tourism, researchers have reported making contradictory findings in such regard. Whereas, for example, Sheldon and Abenoja (2001) note that the longer a resident lives within a community, the more positive they tend to be towards tourism being conducted in the area, Almeida-García et al. (2016) suggest the contrary. According to Lankford and Howard (1994), the residents who are born in an area, and those who have lived there for a long time, are likely to differ in their outlook on local tourism development, with the latter tending to have a negative attitude towards tourism development, and not supporting it fully. Andereck et al. (2005) state that, theoretically, as there might be no relationship between the period of stay of the residents and their accumulation of benefits or costs from tourism, the relationship in question cannot be used as a measure of the residents’ perceptions of development. Other demographic variables, such as gender (see Sinclair-Maragh, 2017), economic status and income (Tichaawa, Mhlanga, 2015a), are influencers of the way in which tourism is perceived. However, given the uneven nature of the composition of the geography of community residents in cities, and the changing migration mobilities, their profiles are likely to change over time. The above yet again highlights the significance of the current analysis in terms of resident perceptions of attitude and support for tourism development, requiring planning, monitoring and the evaluation of policies by the destination managers and authorities concerned, as was previously mentioned.

3 Study methods

The sample population of the study consisted of residents within the households of urban Bulawayo (see Fig. 1), Zimbabwe’s second largest city, which is a main hub for tourism activities. Bulawayo is also known to be the cultural hub of Zimbabwe, possessing a variety of tourism attractions, three-quarters of which are cultural in nature, including the National Art Gallery, the Museum of Natural History, the Mzilikazi Art and Craft Centre, the Amakhosi Cultural Centre, the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and Research Centre, and the Matobo National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), to mention but a few.

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Map of urban Bulawayo, showing the four stratums upon which fieldwork was based Source: Authors.

Citation: Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series 43, 43; 10.2478/bog-2019-0002

The study adopted a quantitative design, in terms of which a structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the required data from the relevant households (positive economic impacts; negative economic impacts; positive sociocultural impacts; negative sociocultural impacts; positive environmental impacts; negative environmental impacts; the evaluation of tourism impacts; and general impacts). The survey questionnaire was developed by the authors of the current article by means of drawing upon the findings in the extant literature (e.g. Pham, Kayat, 2011; Sharma, Dyer, 2012; Zamani-Farahani, Musa, 2012; Türker, Öztürk, 2013), as well as on the tourism impact attitudinal scale developed by Lankford and Howard (1994). A traditional 5-point Likert-type scale (where: 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=not sure, 4=agree and 5=strongly agree) was used in the survey instrument to gauge perceptions.

In the current study, the sample size was decided upon based on a table that was devised for determining how large a randomly chosen sample from a given finite population of n cases should be, such that the sample proportion ρ would fall within .05 of the population proportion, meaning ρ with a 95% level of confidence (Isaac, Michael, 1981). Based on the population of Bulawayo (703,000), a sample of 384 respondents was drawn. The survey was administered by trained fieldworkers on a face-to-face basis, using the stratified random sampling technique. Only one adult (18 years old or above) respondent per household was selected to take part in the study. Bulawayo was geographically divided into four different stratums (A, B, C and D), as illustrated in Fig. 1 above. The sample size n=384 was then equally split among the four stratums. Consequently, 96 respondents per stratum were randomly selected to take part in the study. The data were collected between December 2015 and January 2016 during the day and in the evening, and on all days of the week, so as to obtain a good representative sample from the households concerned. At the end of the data collection exercise, a 100 percent response rate was achieved.

The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), software version 23, was used to analyse the data obtained. By means of the software, an initial descriptive analysis was performed to obtain an overall picture of the variables of the sample. The constructs were tested for normality, because the distribution of the data determines the type of tests that should be used for the analysis. The distribution assisted in determining whether parametric or non-parametric tests were to be used. Furthermore, the independent sample t-test and the Mann–Whitney tests were used to test for differences between the two genders within each of the eight constructs. The selection of the test used was based on the sample sizes of the groups concerned, and on the distribution of the constructs. When the parametric and the non-parametric test (the independent sample t-test) were found to yield different results, the non-parametric test results (Mann–Whitney test) were reported, where the group sizes were not balanced, making the use of a non-parametric test relatively appropriate. The one-way between-group analysis of variance tests was used to test for differences in the eight constructs between the different age groups of the respondents and the duration of their time lived in the area.

4 Empirical results and discussion

Sample profile

A glance at Table 1 shows the distribution of the sample urban resident in respect to the demographic profile. The sample consisted of a total of 384 respondents, with the vast majority being female (70.4%) rather than male (29.6%). The dominant age group from the sample was the group between the ages of 45 and 54 years old (26.7%). The level of education of the respondents was: 33.6% college graduates; 20.5% with a postgraduate degree; 16.3% with an undergraduate degree; and only 0.7% with no formal education. Of the respondents, 61.9% were employed full-time. Of those who were employed, 92.3% were employed in non-tourism-related jobs, whereas 7.7% had tourism-related jobs. Interestingly, more than 70% of the respondents had lived in the area for from 10 to over 50 years. Household income was dominated by those respondents who earned between 101 USD and 500 USD per month (53.4%).

Table 1

Sample profile of the respondents (n=384)

Demographic variablePercentage
Age
18-2415.3
25-3423.5
35-4422.8
45-5426.7
55-6410.1
65-741.0
85 years or older Gender0.7
Male29.6
Female Highest level of education70.4
I completed primary school level7.2
I completed secondary school level8.8
I completed high school level8.8
I am busy with my undergraduate degree16.3
I am busy with my postgraduate degree20.5
I am a college graduate33.6
No formal education0.7
I am a degree holder2.7
I am busy with my diploma0.7
I have completed my postgraduate studies Employment status0.7
Full-time61.9
Unemployed (student)22.1
Unemployed (housewife)0.3
Retired1.0
Part-time6.2
Unemployed (I cannot find work)2.6
Labour/unskilled4.9
Business person Sector employed0.3
Tourism-related7.7
Non-tourism-related92.3
Length of residence in area
Under 10 years25.4
10-19 years25.7
20-29 years24.8
30-39 years14.0
40 years or more Monthly household income in USD9.8
Less than 10025.8
101-50053.4
501-150015.3
1501-25001.6
2501-35000.7
3501-45002.9
4501 and above0.3

Factor analysis

By means of the H1 test, the opinions of the urban residents toward the impacts associated with tourism development could be gauged. A factor analysis with the varimax rotation of the 40 items was performed individually and thereafter categorised into eight perceived tourism impact dimensions, namely: positive economic impact; negative economic impact; positive sociocultural impact; negative sociocultural impact; positive environmental impact; negative environmental impact; evaluation of tourism impact; and general impacts.

The overall mean for all 40 statement items was 2.76. The mean indicated that, from the 40 items concerned, the cohort respondents were generally in agreement with the perception-related statements made. The perceived level of agreement of the 40 items was factor analysed in order to determine the underlying dimensions, as shown in Table 2. The principal component analysis with varimax rotation was used. The factor analysis was supported by both the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin test of sphericity, and by Bartlett’s test of adequacy. The study requirements followed were as follows: eigenvalues >1 and the Cronbach’s alpha >0.70. According to Pallant (2013), a Cronbach’s alpha of less than 0.7 can be accepted if the scale has 10 items or less, and the inter-item correlation mean is between 0.2 and 0.4. The factor analysis of the study successfully identified the underlying dimensions of tourism development impacts, as perceived by the urban-based residents of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

The study derived the following eight perceived tourism impact dimensions:

Factor 1: Positive economic impact – (alpha reliability = .939)

Factor 2: Negative economic impact – (alpha reliability = .867)

Factor 3: Positive sociocultural impact – (alpha reliability = .908)

Factor 4: Negative sociocultural impact – (alpha reliability = .919)

Factor 5: Positive environmental impact – (alpha reliability = .916)

Factor 6: Negative environmental impact – (alpha reliability = .921)

Factor 7: Evaluation of tourism – (alpha reliability = .701)

Factor 8: General impacts – (alpha reliability = .517)

Eight perceived factors of tourism impact dimensions

Factor 1: The positive economic impact of tourism consists of eight items, being: tourism (1) creates employment opportunities for the local members in my area; (2) contributes to the personal income of the local residents; (3) brings in foreign exchange earnings and regional development to my community; (4) encourages investment in the infrastructural development in my community; (5) increases the amount of money made available for local development in my community; (6) increases the amount of development of local small, medium and micro-economic enterprises (SMMEs) in my community; (7) increases the extent of markets for local products and services in my community; and (8) increases the amount of funds made available to support the conservation of natural resources and the ecological environment, and the development of sustainable livelihood strategies in my community. Inspection of the correlation matrix revealed the presence of many coefficients of 0.3 and above. With the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value being 0.887, exceeding the recommended value of 0.6, and the Bartlett’s test being significant, the undertaking of factor analysis was found to be appropriate. The principal axis factoring analysis revealed the presence of 1 component with an eigenvalue exceeding 1, explaining 62.439% of the variance obtained. The item with the highest factor loading was found to be: tourism encourages investment in infrastructural development in my community (0.815).

Factor 2: The negative economic impact of tourism consists of the following four items: (1) tourism income generated within the community goes to outside organisations and individuals; (2) tourism increases the cost of living, such as the price of local products and imported necessities, in my community; (3) tourism causes the seasonality of income or employment, causing instability in the local economy of my community; and (4) real estate prices in the community have increased due to the amount of tourism undertaken in my community. Inspection of the correlation matrix revealed the presence of many coefficients of 0.3 and above. With the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value being 0.791, exceeding the recommended value of 0.6, and the Bartlett’s test being significant, the undertaking of factor analysis was found to be appropriate. The principal axis factoring analysis revealed the presence of 1 component with an eigenvalue exceeding 1, explaining 66.780% of the variance. The item with the highest factor loading was found to be: tourism increases the cost of living, such as the price of local products and imported necessities, in my community (0.843).

Factor 3: The positive sociocultural impact of tourism consists of five items, namely: tourism (1) promotes the renewal of cultural pride in my community; (2) leads to improved standards of living in my community; (3) stimulates training and skills development for the members within my community; (4) encourages a wide variety of cultural activities in my community; and (5) helps keep the local culture alive, and maintain the ethnic identity of the local residents in my community. Inspection of the correlation matrix revealed the presence of many coefficients of 0.3 and above. With the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value being 0.867, exceeding the recommended value of 0.6, and the Bartlett’s test being significant, the undertaking of factor analysis was found to be appropriate. The principal axis factoring analysis revealed the presence of 1 component with an eigenvalue exceeding 1, explaining 70.154% of the variance. Inspection of the screen plot revealed a clear break after the first component. The item with the highest factor loading was found to be: tourism encourages a wide variety of cultural activities in my community (0.862).

Factor 4: The negative sociocultural impact of tourism consists of eight items, namely: tourism (1) interferes with the local value systems and religions in my community; (2) promotes the commodification (making commercial) of the local culture in my community; (3) encourages the staged authenticity (falsifying) of the local culture in my community; (4) promotes the standardisation of goods and services in my community; (5) encourages the imitation of tourist behaviour and lifestyle in my community; (6) causes traffic congestion in my community; (7) causes an increase in crime levels in my community; and (8) contributes to the decline in morality in my community. Inspection of the correlation matrix revealed the presence of many coefficients of 0.3 and above. With the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value being 0.855, exceeding the recommended value of 0.6, and the Bartlett’s test being significant, the undertaking of factor analysis was found to be appropriate. The principal axis factoring analysis revealed the presence of 1 component with an eigenvalue exceeding 1, explaining 57.186% of the variance. Inspection of the screen plot revealed a clear break after the first component. The item with the highest factor loading was found to be: tourism interferes with the local value systems and religions in my community (0.760).

Factor 5: The positive environmental impact of tourism consists of five items, namely: tourism (1) provides an incentive for the restoration of heritage within the community; (2) practised in my community results in the keeping of public places at a better standard (of hygiene) than they might otherwise have been; (3) contributes to the preservation of the natural environment, and to the protection of wildlife, within my community; (4) contributes to the management of protected areas; and (5) ensures environmental and ecosystem protection. Inspection of the correlation matrix revealed the presence of many coefficients of 0.3 and above. With the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value being 0.860, exceeding the recommended value of 0.6, and the Bartlett’s test being significant, the undertaking of factor analysis was found to be appropriate. The principal axis factoring analysis revealed the presence of 1 component with an eigenvalue exceeding 1, explaining 74.057% of the variance. Inspection of the screen plot revealed a clear break after the first component. The item with the highest factor loading was found to be: tourism contributes to the preservation of the natural environment and to the protection of wildlife within my community (0.924).

Factor 6: The negative environmental impact of tourism consists of five items, namely: tourism (1) contributes to the damaging of important sites in my community; (2) contributes to overcrowding and congestion in my community; (3) increases the levels of pollution in my community; (4) adds to the pressure of limited water and energy supply in my community; and (5) destroys the natural environment in my community. Inspection of the correlation matrix revealed the presence of many coefficients of 0.3 and above. With the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value being 0.814, exceeding the recommended value of 0.6, and the Bartlett’s test being significant, the undertaking of factor analysis was found to be appropriate. The principal axis factoring analysis revealed the presence of 1 component with an eigenvalue exceeding 1, explaining 75.423% of the variance. Inspection of the screen plot revealed a clear break after the first component. The item with the highest factor loading was found to be: tourism increases the levels of pollution in my community (0.878).

Factor 7: The evaluation of tourism impact consists of three items, namely: (1) I believe that the benefits of tourism exceed its costs for the people living in my community; (2) I think tourism development in the area produces more negative than positive impacts in my community; and (3) I believe tourism impacts on my community to be overrated. With the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value being 0.522, below the recommended value of 0.6, and the Bartlett’s test being significant, the undertaking of factor analysis was found to be inappropriate. The item with the highest factor loading was found to be: I believe tourism impacts on my community to be overrated (0.887).

Factor 8: The general impact of tourism consists of two items, namely: I think tourism development in the area produces more negative than positive impacts in my community; and I believe tourism impacts on my community to be overrated. With the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin value being 0.5, below the recommended value of 0.6, and the Bartlett’s test being significant, the undertaking of factor analysis was found to be inappropriate. Both items were found to have an equal factor loading of 0.734.

The eight factors derived correspond with the perceptions of the urban residents in relation to the impact of tourism development previously mentioned in the extant literature. Within such a context, the 40 items have been empirically validated with the 8 factors in Bulawayo and the Zimbabwean context.

The results in Table 2 suggest that the respondents felt more strongly about the environmental impacts of tourism development as compared to the economic and sociocultural impacts. The above is evidenced by the highest overall factor mean (3.15) and the individual factor mean (3.24) being associated with PENI, as well as the lowest overall factor mean (2.27) and the individual factor mean (2.16) with NENI. The high positive and low negative mean values suggest that the respondents consistently viewed the impact of tourism development on the environment as positive. The urban context of the current study makes the above-mentioned finding significant, as it indicates the presence of an environmental consciousness among the urban residents, with the perception of environmental impacts being of more importance/significance as compared to the economic and sociocultural impacts. In the context of the existing literature, where environmental concerns have typically taken a secondary position among the resident perceptions of tourism impacts, the finding indicates a shift in the positioning of the residents’ focus, with environmental impacts becoming increasingly important, especially for urban residents. The findings made in the above regard corroborate those of Makindi (2016), who observed that the introduction of conservation initiatives within communities for tourism developmental purposes had positively changed the views of the local residents, mainly due to the encouragement of biodiversity and created opportunities.

Table 2

Factor analysis findings for the perceptions of urban residents regarding tourism development impact items

MeanFactor loadingFactor overall mean% of variance
Positive economic impact (PECI)3.0062.44
Tourism creates employment opportunities for the local members in my area2.950.815
Tourism contributes to the personal income of the local residents2.840.814
Tourism brings in foreign exchange earnings and regional development to my community3.200.782
Tourism encourages investment in the infrastructural development in my community3.110.782
Tourism increases the amount of money made available for local development in my community2.830.726
Tourism increases the amount of development of local small, medium and micro- economic
enterprises (SMMEs) in my community2.990.725
Tourism increases the extent of markets for local products and services in my community3.050.711
Tourism increases the amount of funds made available to support the conservation of natural resources and the ecological environment, and the development of sustainable livelihood strategies in my community3.020.684

Negative economic impact (NECI)2.74266.78
Tourism income generated within the community goes to outside organisations and individuals2.740.843
Tourism increases the cost of living, such as the price of local products and imported necesities, in my community2.860.787
Tourism causes the seasonality of income or employment, causing instability in the local economy of my community2.780.690
Real estate prices in the community have increased due to the amount of tourism undertaken in my community.2.590.665

Positive sociocultural impact (PSCI)2.9770.15
Tourism promotes the renewal of cultural pride in my community2.900.862
Tourism leads to improved standards of living in my community2.860.795
Tourism stimulates training and skills development for the members within my community3.040.793
Tourism encourages a wide variety of cultural activities in my community3.090.775
Tourism helps keep the local culture alive, and maintain the ethnic identity of the local residents in my community2.970.732

Negative sociocultural impact (NSCI)2.6257.19
Tourism interferes with the local value systems and religions in my community2.610.760
Tourism promotes the commodification (making commercial) of the local culture in my community2.790.760
Tourism encourages the staged authenticity (falsifying) of the local culture in my community2.690.746
Tourism promotes the standardisation of goods and services in my community2.720.728
Tourism encourages the imitation of tourist behaviour and lifestyle in my community2.890.724
Tourism causes traffic congestion in my community2.290.708
Tourism causes an increase in crime levels in my community2.470.694
Tourism contributes to the decline in morality in my community2.520.590

Positive environmental impact (PENI)3.1574.06
Tourism provides an incentive for the restoration of heritage within the community3.050.924
Tourism practised in my community results in the keeping of public places at a better standard (of hygiene) than they might otherwise have been3.050.905
Tourism contributes to the preservation of the natural environment, and to the protection of wildlife, within my community3.180.773
Tourism contributes to the management of protected areas.3.240.761
Tourism ensures environmental and ecosystem protection3.220.743

Negative environmental impact (NENI)2.2775.42
Tourism contributes to the damaging of important sites in my community2.160.878
Tourism contributes to overcrowding and congestion in my community2.220.841
Tourism increases the levels of pollution in my community2.330.838
Tourism adds to the pressure of limited water and energy supply in my community2.490.835
Tourism destroys the natural environment in my community2.170.770

Evaluation of tourism impact (ETI)2.5453.93
I believe that the benefits of tourism exceed its costs for the people living in my community2.840.887
I think tourism development in the area produces more negative than positive impacts in my community I believe tourism impacts on my community to be overrated2.18 2.610.604 -

General impact (GI)2.3976.99
I think tourism development in the area produces more negative than positive impacts in my community2.180.734
I believe tourism impacts on my community to be overrated2.610.734

Furthermore, the result also indicates that, with regard to the negative impacts of tourism development, the urban residents were more displeased with the sociocultural and environmental impacts involved. The individual factors with the top four highest means for the negative constructs were: “tourism encourages the imitation of tourist behaviour and lifestyle in my community” (2.89); “tourism increases the cost of living, such as the price of local products and imported necessities, in my community” (2.86); “tourism promotes the commodification (making commercial) of the local culture in my community” (2.79); and “tourism causes the seasonality of income or employment, causing instability in the local economy of my community” (2.78). The above-mentioned findings indicate a consciousness among the urban residents of the negative impact of tourism development on their economic living standards, irrespective of its numerous positive impacts, as well as their disenchantment with the changes made in the local culture as a result of tourism development in the area.

Overall, the results in Table 2 indicate that, for all three constructs (economic, sociocultural, and environmental), the urban residents mostly had positive perceptions of the impact of tourism, with the positive constructs consistently having a higher mean than do their negative counterparts (as was to have been expected). The above is further supported by the ETI and GI constructs, which served to capture the local residents’ overall perception of tourism development impacts, contrasting the positive and the negative. The individual factors under each construct indicate that the idea that “tourism benefits exceed the costs” was more positively accepted by the residents (with a mean of 2.84), compared to the idea that “tourism has more negative than positive impacts” (with a mean of 2.18). The urban residents of Bulawayo were, hence, found to feel more positively, overall, than they did negatively about the impacts of tourism development on their community.

Comparisons of demographic profile and the eight identified factors linked to the impact of tourism development

To further understand the significance of the eight identified factors of urban resident perceptions regarding the impact of tourism development on different sociodemographic variables (see Table 1), group comparisons were conducted to investigate whether there were any differences in the perceived opinions of the eight scales in terms of the demographic information given by the respondents. The selection of statistical tests used is based on preliminary tests for the distribution of the sample and group sizes.

Table 3 shows that the male respondents had higher mean ratings than did the female respondents for all factors except NECI, in which case the scores were almost equal. The difference detected was found to be significant at a 5% level for both PSCI and PENI. The finding indicates a gender effect for the positive sociocultural and environmental impacts of tourism development in the area, with men scoring the positive impacts significantly higher than did the women, on average. The above might indicate that the men involved were more supportive of their sociocultural and environmental heritage, and, hence, more appreciative of contributions made to it, as compared to the women concerned.

Table 3

Summary of gender, employment, and age versus eight different factors

DemographicFactor 1: (PECI)Factor 2: (NECI)Factor 3: (PSCI)Factor 4: (NSCI)
GenderMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value
Male3.1110.1032.7300.9433,1670.0022,5550.212
Female2.9672.7372,8872,664

Factor 5: (PENI)Factor 6: (NENI)Factor 7: (ETI)Factor 8: (GI)

MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value

Male3.2610.0403.0990.9272.4030.7983.4 3.2680.107
Female3.0992.3202.374

EmploymentFactor 1: (PECI)Factor 2: (NECI)Factor 3 : (PSCI)Factor 4: (NSCI)

MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value
Tourism-related3.1490.3252.9010.5923.3700.0652.9490.042
Non-tourism-related3.0292.7652.9932.588

Factor 5:(PENI)Factor6: (NENI)Factor7: (ETI)Factor8: (GI)

Tourism-relatedMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value

Non-tourism-related3.4700.0372.4230.7902.4370.9193.1470.349
3.1472.3472.4113.292

AgeFactor 1: (PECI)Factor 2: (NECI)Factor 3: (PSCI)Factor 4: (NSCI)

MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value

18–242.77740.1112.56670.4422.73980.164.684370.487
25–342.97312.72792.9964.64117
35–443.02782.84932.9517.64618
45–543.09682.76283.0471.73444
55 and over3.13662.65403.0866.74078

Factor 5: (PENI)Factor 6: (NENI)Factor 7: (ETI)Factor 8: (GI)

MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value
18–242.95450.0922.11140.2152.30770.7443.26140.198
25–343.07292.43022.41273.4000
35–443.16302.21142.46093.2000
45–543.22482.39942.29453.3938
55 and over3.33712.37552.46673.1912

Table 3 also suggests an impact awareness asymmetry in relation to the tourism development impacts, as the urban residents who worked in the tourism sector generally had stronger perceptions than those who did not. The significant difference found between the respondents in the two industry types for NSCI (at 5% significance level) and PSICI (at the 7% significant level) indicates that the tourism-affiliated employees had significantly stronger perceptions of both the benefits and the costs of tourism development, when compared to the perceptions of non-tourism-affiliated employees. The result agrees with the anecdotal expectations involved, as those who work in the tourism industry are expected to know more about the workings in the industry, and, hence, about its impacts, when compared to those outside the industry. The results do not indicate any age effect in relation to perception, as the five age groups concerned (Group 1: 18–24 years; Group 2: 25–34 years; Group 3: 35–44 years; Group 4: 45–54 years; Group 5: 55 and older) showed no significant difference in the average rating of the factors between the age groups. The finding is consistent with some other studies (see Tosun, 2002; Türker & Öztürk, 2013), which also found no relationship between age and attitude towards tourism development.

Table 4 presents the results of the test of educational effect on the perceptions prevailing among urban residents. The respondents were divided into four education level groups (Group 1: None, or completed primary school; Group 2: Completed secondary, or high, school; Group 3: College graduate, or busy with undergraduate degree; Group 4: Busy with postgraduate studies). The results indicate significant differences in the averages of the perceptions associated with both the positive and the negative economic impacts (PECI and NECI) at the 5% level.

Table 4

ANOVA of education level and eight factors

Education levelFactor 1: (PECI)Factor 2: (NECI)Factor 3: (PSCI)Factor 4: (NSCI)

MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value
Group 1: None, or completed primary school3.12140.0433.10230.0003.23700.1642.88340.142
Group 2: Completed sec- ondary, or high, school2.82042.65102.87802.6927
Group 3: College graduate, or busy with undergraduate degree2.99352.56982.92242.5600
Group 4: Busy with postgraduate studies3.17893.02123.03502.6979
Factor 5: (PENI)Factor 6: (NENI)Factor 7: (ETI)Factor 8: (GI)
MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value
Group 1: None, or completed primary school3.27950.7122.53190.2032.31580.9043.40480.599
Group 2: Completed sec- ondary, or high, school3.19042.33772.41113.3585
Group 3: College graduate, or busy with undergraduate degree3.12382.21132.34893.2891
Group 4: Busy with postgraduate studies3.10512.41422.43643.2203

The post hoc test for PECI revealed that the difference in perceptions was driven by groups 1 and 4, indicating that those who were busy with their postgraduate studies had stronger positive perceptions of the economic impacts of tourism, as compared to those with a minimal amount of education. The post hoc test for factor NECI revealed that the difference in perception was driven by groups 3, 1 and 4, indicating that those with college degrees, or who were busy with an undergraduate degree, had the least negative perception of the economic impact of tourism, followed by those who were busy with postgraduate degrees. The respondents with a minimal amount of education had the strongest negative perceptions of the economic impacts of tourism development. The results show no consistency in relation to the impact of increasing educational attainment on the level of positivity or negativity associated with tourism impact perceptions. They, however, do suggest the effect of education on the perceptions of the economic impact of tourism development among the urban residents, which should be further investigated in future studies.

Table 5 presents the results that were obtained in testing for the “length of stay” impact on perceptions. The existing literature suggests a “duration effect”, in that, the longer that individuals live in a particular community, the stronger is the sense of attachment that they are likely to feel to that community, which would be prone to cause them to feel more strongly about issues affecting it. The respondents in the current study were divided into five groups, based on a 10-year-interval duration between 0 years and over 40 years.

The results show significantly increasing positive perceptions for the economic (PECI), sociocultural (PSCI), and environmental (PENI) impacts associated with an increase in the length of stay in the community. The post hoc tests indicate that for the PECI, the differences are driven by groups 1, 4 and 5; for the PSCI, by groups 5, 1 and 2; and for the PENI, by groups 3, 4 and 5. The above indicates the strong duration effect experienced among the urban residents in the current study, as those who had stayed longer in the area tended to be more positive in their perception of the tourism development impacts. The finding is consistent with those of Sheldon and Abenoja (2001), but it contradicts the findings of Türker and Öztürk (2013) and Almeida-García et al. (2016), who concluded that length of stay did not influence the perception of residents, albeit in a national park context.

Table 6 reveals the impact of income on perception. At a glance, the results show no significant differences in the opinion levels for the different factors across the four income brackets, except for factor eight (GI), which is significant only at the 6% level. The post hoc comparisons indicated the difference as being Group 1 (M=3.486) and Group 2 (M=3.258). The above suggests a difference in perception among those in the lower income bracket, characterised by households with the lowest income (less than 100 USD per month) being more positive about the overall impact of tourism development than were those with a higher income (101–500 USD per month). The effect dissipates for those in the higher income bracket (more than 500 USD per month). This finding disputes those made by Chand (2013), who observed the income received not to influence the perceptions of residents in regard to tourism development, as well as that tourism development has a stronger effect on those in the lower income brackets than in the higher. The above could, potentially, be attributed to the fact that tourism mostly contributes to the unskilled and semi-skilled job market, in terms of the formal and informal sectors, in comparison to the skilled job market (Rogerson, 2015a; 2015b).

Table 5

ANOVA of length of stay in community and eight factors

How long resident in the areaFactor 1: (PECI)Factor 2: (NECI)Factor 3: (PSCI)Factor 4: (NSCI)
MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMean-value
Group 1: Under 10 years2.7890.0012.7040.7802.8860.0192.5530.157
Group 2: 10–19 years3.0742.7352.8852.568
Group 3: 20–29 years2.9062.6612.9202.600
Group 4: 30–39 years3.2452.8213.1122.827
Group 5: 40 years or more3.2712.8453.3312.783
Factor 5: (PENI)Factor 6: (NENI)Factor 7: (ETI)Factor 8: (GI)
MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value
Group 1: Under 10 years2.9300.0002.3140.3492.2920.0693.2290.516
Group 2: 10–19 years3.1142.2452.2893.321
Group 3: 20–29 years3.0732.2272.3033.317
Group 4: 30–39 years3.4502.4192.6753.297
Group 5: 40 years or more3.4932.5652.6073.482
Table 6

ANOVA of household income per month and eight factors

Household income per monthFactor 1: (PECI)Factor 2: (NECI)Factor 3: (PSCI)Factor 4: (NSCI)
MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMean-value
Group 1: >100 USD2.8970.4682.6360.7082.9240.8032.6720.763
Group 2: 101–500 USD3.0522.7523.0052.639
Group 3: 501–1500.0432.7392.9352.526
Group 4: 1501 USD<3.0162.8283.0522.628
Factor 5: (PENI)Factor 6: (NENI)Factor 7: (ETI)Factor 8: (GI)
MeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-valueMeanP-value
Group 1: >100 USD3.0500.4412.3340.7922.2760.6983.4860.062
Group 2: 101–500 USD3.2042.2842.4043.258
Group 3: 501–15003.1052.4072.4553.234
Group 4: 1501 USD<3.1482.2122.3433.323

5 Conclusion

The current study set out to unpack the urban residents’ perceptions of tourism development impacts. Based on the findings obtained, implications for tourism development planners and destination managers exist, in terms of encouraging their engagement with urban residents in relation to tourism development. While the study draws some parallels with previous studies on residents’ perceptions generally, and especially those in the rural context, the main contribution of the research surrounds the effects of environmental consequences linked to tourism development. Overall, the study revealed that urban residents displayed a relatively positive perception with regards to the impact of tourism development within their community in the Zimbabwean context. Specifically, they expressed feeling more strongly about the environmental impacts of tourism development than about its economic and sociocultural impacts. The urban context of the study makes this finding significant, as it indicates an environmental consciousness among urban residents, with the perception of environmental impacts being of more importance/significance than the economic and sociocultural impacts. In the context of the existing literature, in which environmental concerns have typically taken a secondary position to residents’ perceptions in terms of tourism impact studies, the finding indicates a shift in the positioning of the residents’ focus, with environmental impacts becoming increasingly important, especially for urban residents. However, the concerns expressed with regard to the issues associated with changes in the local culture and with disruptions to the economic living standards brought about by tourism development in the area require addressing to obtain the support of the urban residents in relation to future tourism development.

In terms of the effects of demographics on the prevailing perceptions of the economic, sociocultural, and environmental impacts of tourism development, a gender effect found in relation to the positive sociocultural and environmental impacts of tourism development among the urban residents of Bulawayo suggests that the male respondents were more supportive of their sociocultural and environmental heritage, and, hence, more appreciative of contributions to it, than were the female respondents. The study also uncovered an impact awareness asymmetry in relation to tourism development impacts, as those respondents who worked in the tourism sector generally had stronger feelings towards the impacts than did those who did not work in the sector. Tourism-affiliated employees were discovered to have significantly stronger perceptions of both the benefits and the costs of tourism development, as compared to non-tourism-affiliated employees. The findings made were consistent with the anecdotal expectations involved, as those who worked in the tourism industry were expected to know more about the workings in the industry, and, hence the impacts, as compared to those who operated outside the industry.

The findings also suggest that the level of education possessed by individuals affects their perceptions of both the positive and the negative economic impacts of tourism development, but is inconsistent with direction of impact. Due to the data limitations experienced, the educational effect could not be investigated still further. As such, future studies that decouple the relationship between the level of educational attainment and the perceptions of the impact of tourism development among urban residents would be a welcome development. The study also provides evidence to support the findings of the existing literature in terms of the “duration effect” associated with the varying perceptions of tourism’s impacts, in that, the longer an individual lives in a particular community, the stronger is the sense of attachment that they are likely to feel towards that community, which translates into stronger feelings/sentiments about issues affecting it (Lankford, Howard, 1994). In the present study, the respondents who had stayed longer in the area were found to have more positive perceptions of the impact of tourism development on their community economically, socioculturally, and environmentally.

The study also found that income levels significantly affected the perceptions of tourism developmental impacts, especially among those in the lower income bracket. The above could, potentially, be attributed to the fact that tourism contributes more to the unskilled and semiskilled job market, as compared to the skilled job market, as was highlighted in the literature review. Zimbabwe, like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, has embraced the development of tourism as a key driver and vehicle for the harnessing of socio-economic benefits, including job creation and the elimination of poverty (Makoni & Tichaawa, 2017). However, the concerns and views of urban residents require consideration, as well as incorporation within all relevant plans and strategies, if their support is to be sought in future tourism developmental endeavours.

Acknowledgements

The University of Johannesburg is thanked for having funded the current paper. Thanks go also to Ingrid Booysen, for preparing Figure 1, and to Lebo Tawane, for providing statistical advice. Thanks to two journal referees for comments on an earlier version of this paper.

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CiteScore 2018: 1.11

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.218
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.591

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    Map of urban Bulawayo, showing the four stratums upon which fieldwork was based Source: Authors.

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