Stakeholder perceptions of climate change threats to the Zimbabwean nature-based tourism sector

William Mushawemhuka, Jennifer M. Fitchett, Gijsbert Hoogendoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Nature-based tourism relies heavily on the weather and climatic conditions experienced at a specific destination. Weather influences the activities that tourists can take part in during their stay, their enjoyment of the vacation, and likelihood of returning to a destination. Adverse weather can result in cancellations or curtailed trips. Climate influences the distribution of the natural resources that promote nature-based tourism and the timing of peak tourist arrivals. Zimbabwean nature-based tourism is particularly reliant on these factors for the continued survival and development of nature-based tourism, yet vulnerable to the above-average rates of climatic warming and heightened frequency of drought events. This paper explores the perceptions of both tourism operators and tourists regarding climate change threats through thematic and content analysis of semi-structured interviews and survey questionnaires conducted in the four major nature-based destinations in Zimbabwe. The results confirm that the respondents are concerned about climate change in the study area. Most of these concerns stemmed from their specific environmental contexts; threats of drought and water scarcity were highlighted in destinations located in the Lowveld, while concerns of tropical cyclones were raised for destinations in the Highveld. The tourists' and operators’ perceptions of climate change threats were similar, as they both expressed concerns over the temperatures increases, reduction in precipitation and the occurrences of weather hazards.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100779
JournalEnvironmental Development
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Climate change threats
  • Manicaland
  • Mashonaland West
  • Matebeleland North
  • Nature-based tourism
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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