Original Research

Tourism business operators’ perceptions, knowledge and attitudes towards climate change at Victoria Falls

Kaitano Dube, Godwell Nhamo
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 16, No 1 | a778; | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v16i1.778 | © 2020 Kaitano Dube, Godwell Nhamo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 October 2019 | Published: 27 July 2020

About the author(s)

Kaitano Dube, Department of Ecotourism Management, Faculty of Human Science, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Godwell Nhamo, Institute of Corporate Citizenship, Faculty of Economic Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Climate change remains one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and is characterised by extreme weather events such as heatwaves, extreme droughts and floods. Regardless of the threat posed by climate change to the tourism business, there are still gaps in tourism business perceptions and knowledge of climate change. This research investigated tourism business operators’ perceptions, knowledge and attitude towards climate change at Victoria Falls. In this study that took a multidisciplinary approach, primary data were gathered using an online QuestionPro survey instrument and interviews. The survey was administered door-to-door to the identified 122 potential tourism business operators and other key stakeholders. A sample of 77 completed surveys (a 63% response rate) was realised. The study found that there was a general understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change on the tourism business operators, even though the tourism industry was not taking full responsibility for its role in causing climate change. The respondents also cited challenges and barriers in dealing with climate change, including the lack of knowledge and finance, ignorance and a lack of technical capacity. Climate change was deemed to have caused disruption in tourism activities at Victoria Falls because of reduced water flow levels at the waterfall and the destruction of tourism infrastructure during extreme weather events. The research recommended improvement in climate change knowledge, climate financing and build capacity to help the tourism industry meet both the Sustainable Development Goals and commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Keywords

tourism business; perceptions; knowledge; climate change; Victoria Falls.

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