Tourism in Uganda has over the years witnessed steady growth and is increasingly supporting economic growth and contributing to natural resource conservation. Although studies have been carried out to assess the impact of tourism on natural resources in Uganda, limited attention has been given to examining how tourism developments influence ecologically sensitive shore environments. Applying a cross-sectional survey, this paper identifies the spatial and temporal characteristics of the tourism establishments along Lake Victoria shores in Uganda, assesses their environmental and conservation performance and develops an environmental sustainable tourism planning approach. Using survey, non-survey and geo-spatial methods, quantitative and qualitative data was collected and statistically analysed using chi square, ANOVA, correlation and regression tools.
Results indicate that lakeshore tourism establishments are increasing in number and size, they are spatially clustered next to key urban centres and there is limited tourism planning and development control from local and central government. Analysis of results reveals that there is minimal contribution of tourism sites to nature conservation. Sites are characterised with poor solid and sewage waste management, contribution to poor water quality and limited use-intensity control. Rooted in the incremental planning theory the paper develops a linear regression based environmental tourism planning model using spatial distribution of sites, their characteristics, site conservation performance parameters. The paper notes that although the model may not provide a panacea to natural resource conservation challenges in the lakeshore regions, it represents a contribution towards planning for environmentally friendly tourism developments that reinforce lakeshore environmental conservation and sustainable tourism development.