. 2013. “Household spending patterns and flow of ecotourism income into communities around Liwonde National Park, Malawi.” Development Southern Africa : 1-18.
Rural Malawi is largely characterised by high levels of poverty, unemployment and high population densities. It is also seen as the ‘warm heart of Africa’, which, together with its abundant natural resources, makes it an excellent destination for international ecotourists. This paper looks at the impact of ecotourism employment on poverty reduction and the flow of ecotourism income into the villages adjacent to Liwonde National Park. Extensive questionnaire surveys were conducted with staff employed in ecotourism as well as with rural households in the villages adjacent to the Park. Comparisons of household income and social welfare highlight the important role of ecotourism employment in lifting people in these rural villages above the poverty line. Household spending patterns illustrate the flow of income from ecotourism into the local economy and the important impact of this on local socio-economic development. Suggestions for increasing local multiplier effects of ecotourism are put forward.