JOSEPH E. MBAIWA, UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA, BOTSWANA
Abstract: Multinational hotel companies operate accommodation facilities in nature-based tourism destinations of many developing countries. This paper uses the sustainable tourism framework to examine the relationship between the hotel industry and the wildlife-based tourism in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. The paper further examines the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the hotel industry in the Delta. Through the use of primary and secondary data sources, results indicate that the hotel tourism industry in the Okavango Delta is lucrative. The industry relies on multinational hotel tourism companies originating from rich countries and South Africa. Hotels and lodges in Delta offer game drives, walking safaris, boating, accommodation and restaurant services. Its socio-economic impacts include employment, income and infrastructure development. Negative impacts are: revenue leakages, poor jobs for citizens and the failure to alleviate rural poverty. Sustainable tourism approaches which include citizen participation in tourism can reduce the negative impacts of the hotel industry.
Keywords: hotel industry; multinational companies; wildlife-based tourism; international tourism.