Resident’s perceptions of the environmental impacts of tourism in mauritius

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Tourism has become the main focus for countries mainly for Small Island developing states and has affected residents in terms of economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts. So, there is a need to understand how local resident’s perceptions contribute towards tourism. The purpose of the study is mainly to provide a theoretical basis and framework for assessing host attitudes on the environmental impacts of tourism in Mauritius.

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Tourism and the environment are interrelated; the relationship between tourism and the environment has been universally recognized with the rapid increasing demand of tourists interacting with the natural environment. Tourism has the capacity to preserve as well as to destroy the environment. Studying the environmental impacts is a critical component of understanding how tourism affects the environment in Mauritius. An extensive literature covers the nature of the main interaction of tourist and host, characteristics of host-tourist relationship and their association with the environment. Researchers have been more interested towards the interaction between the tourists and the host. However, there are previous studies that have looked into the issue from tourist perspective. For achieving the purpose of the study a questionnaire was designed and a survey was done among the local residents. For the analysis part, quantitative approach was applied and the aim and objectives were in line with the majority of relevant literature. Consequently the methodology was elaborated, the sampling designs adopted, choice of instrument used, data collection follow the requirements, the limitation of the study was discussed and this leading to the conclusion and recommendation of the study.

1.1 Profile of Mauritius

Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean situated in the African continent. The area of Mauritius is about 2,040 sq.km. and its population is around 1.3 million. The ethnic groups consist of: Indo-Mauritians 68%, Creoles 27 %, Sino-Mauritian 3% and Franco-Mauritian 2%.Religions found in Mauritius are: Hindu 48 %, Creoles 27 %, Muslim 16.6 %, Christian 8.6% and others 2.5 %. Since 1968, Mauritius has evolved from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial and tourist sectors. The economy rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel and financial services and it is also expanding into information technology. Annual tourism growth has been in the range of 5 % to 6%. This remarkable growth has led to more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality and much improved infrastructure. Mauritius is has become is one among the most successful and competitive economies in Africa; 2010 GDP at market prices was estimated at $9.5 billion and per capita income at $7,420, one of the highest in Africa. Moreover, Mauritius also has international relations with countries found in the west ,with India and countries of southern and eastern Africa.

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