Victoria Falls
: the resilience of tourism development in Zimbabwe under situations of fragility (1965 to 2015)

  • Kuda Felicia Munjaidi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This study focuses on tourism development in modern Zimbabwe in various situations of fragility, which have characterized the country for over half a century between 1965 and 2015. In these fifty years, unconducive conditions characterized by civil war, international sanctions, economic structural adjustment, persistent political violence and insuperable economic problems made Zimbabwe a fragile state. This study critically analyses how and why tourism development was possible despite the destination’s situations of fragility. Zimbabwe’s fragilities are investigated within four specific themes and historical periods: civil war and United Nations sanctions - 1965-1980; ethnically
based political discord during the first decade of independence- 1980-1990; International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) imposed economic structural adjustment program and the Zimbabwe Democracy Reform Act sanctions (ZIDERA) - 1990-2010; post conflict era including the muddled land reform, continued ZIDERA sanctions, political and election violence - 2010 - 2015. General perceptions of tourism development and state fragility in Zimbabwe stem from local, regional and international influences. This qualitative research adopts an interpretivist approach, using a single case study of Victoria Falls National Park to analyse the internal and external influences on tourism development. The study critically reflects upon the fragility of politics and policy and key issues framing tourism development in Zimbabwe. The methodology was steeped in archival document analysis and in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with ten key stakeholders from government and non-governmental organisations, the private tourism sector and academic practitioners. The study is the first of its kind in examining tourism development at Victoria Falls National Park in modern times, within the frameworks of state fragility and resilience theories. The thesis contributes novel knowledge about the multidimensional aspects of tourism development and destination resilience despite the existence of adverse conditions of its state of fragility. Tourism development and its resilience was primarily associated with infrastructural and economic development, continued tourist arrivals, tourism revenue generation, employment creation and poverty eradication. Key findings show evidence of the historical operations, existence and survival of tourism in Zimbabwe associated with its strong regional ties and maintained relationships with international tourism organisations.
Date of AwardSep 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorThomas Carter (Supervisor) & Marina Novelli (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Zimbabwe
  • Victoria Falls
  • fragility
  • resilience
  • tourism development

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