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National Parks in South Africa May Ban Wildlife Apps

These days, some national park visitors spot more wildlife with their phones than with their binoculars. Thanks to a new breed of animal-spotting app, tourists who come across a lion or a leopard can crowdsource their sightings, sharing their locations with fellow parkgoers and drawing huge crowds to particular spots.

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But according to South African National Parks, or SANParks, visitors might have to sharpen their other senses once again. Following an increase in road rage, speeding, and animal deaths, SANParks is considering a ban on these wildlife apps, the organization said in a statement.

Sightings,” which allows users to “ting,” or map, spots of interest, have become “a major cause for concern” for SANParks, the organization said in a statement last week. Though these apps may lead to more comprehensive trips, they also “tend to induce an unhealthy sense of eagerness for visitors to break the rules,” says Hapiloe Sello, executive marketing manager for SANParks.

Those guests committed to more traditional viewing modes are also feeling, well, cheetahed. “Most guests appreciate the leisurely drive through the parks and the potential reward of a good sighting as a key element of the visitor experience,” says Sello. “The usage of these mobile applications is in direct contradiction to the ethos of responsible tourism espoused by SANParks.”

Nadav Ossendryver, the creator of Latest Sightings, told the BBC he’d be happy to work with SANParks to make his app safer. For now, though, humans headed to Kruger might want to charge up their eyes instead of their phones.
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Source: atlasobscura


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London World Travel Market boosts travel to South Africa

There were 227,323 visits from Britain to South Africa between January and June, an increase of 17% over the same period last year.

Global arrivals increased fractionally to 1,149,253, but Britain is the most important market followed by Germany, France and the Benelux countries. These figures were revealed by Derek Hanekom who, once again, was among only 10 tourism ministers, out of almost 100 attending, to speak at the Global Summit.

In a debate on marketing, he said that South Africa’s slogan A world in one country was proving highly effective. There was some criticism of a fellow-speaker, Walter Mzembi, from Zimbabwe whose small pavilion included 13 exhibitors.

The pavilion of South African Tourism brought together 30 exhibitors, including Tshwane, Johannesburg and Durban (launching its plans for 2022) as well as the Voortrekker monument.  Various hotels and chains sent representatives as did Thompson’s destination management. South African Airways joined the others, but Rovos Rail had an independent booth next to an operator of tours in Ethiopia and Sudan.

Four safari companies and a combined total of 15 wildlife areas exhibited. Nopasika Mxunyewa from Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency said, “This is my first time here, but WTM has everything I need. It is possible to meet buyers, compare products and spot the consumer trends to use the right marketing tools”. 

Dianna Martin of Northern Cape Tourist Authority spoke at a seminar, and Heidi van der Watt, director of ICRT, Southern Africa, was among four experts talking about the impact of governmental touristic policies on local communities.   South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance publicised its recent awards for responsible tourism. Abercrombie & Kent won this year’s Ubuntu Award from South African Tourism.

Also highlighted at WTM was the current Cairo to Cape cycling race whose competitors include Mark Blewett, captain of the SA Cycling Team. The African Travel & Tourism Association had its own stand, but the continent fared badly at a crowded conference on safety.   A speaker from the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office in London said that the world’s most hazardous countries for holidaymakers were Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. Nigeria did not exhibit this year, but Egypt occupied double South Africa’s area which was not much larger than those of Kenya, Morocco or Tanzania.

Angola and Namibia were absent but the total of 53 African exhibitors did include Malawi, Senegal and Uganda as well as Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.   Madagascar and Reunion were present too, and so was Swaziland whose representative, Bongani Dlamini, said “This show provides us with a lot of opportunities to meet tour operators, mainly British ones. And we are on the right track for getting more airlines to our new international airport”.

Africa altogether took one-tenth of the space at WTM, as much as that for countries of the Near and Middle East. Criticism of the expenses and location, however, mean that next year’s show at ExCel will be shortened from four to three days. With 50,000 participants and 9,500 exhibitors from 186 lands, it still rivals ITB in Berlin, but Africa’s premier travel fair, Indaba International Expo, was getting registrations for its next show in Durban from 7-9 May.

Source: thesouthafrican


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Sustainable tourism in South Africa

Travel is the most shared experience on social media and with close to 13 million active Facebook users in South Africa, there is great potential for destination marketers to promote sustainability projects through storytelling online.

Creating a positive and lasting impact on the environment and community has become an increasingly important factor when visitors plan holidays. As one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and with South Africa being such a diverse melting pot of cultures, heritage sites, tourist attractions and adventure activities, our focus should be towards sharing the stories of change and preservation.

By offering visitors free wifi at or near attractions and within hotels, destinations can encourage content creation, resulting in a mass of curated content available at the end of click. Learning is one of the top five criteria used to book holidays¹. This is the perfect opportunity for those offering volunteerism activities, or educational tours to encourage visits and curate content.

South Africa is home to a large number of sustainable tourism service providers belonging to organisations such as Fair Trade, Green Tourism Active and Responsible Tourism South Africa.

Storms river Adventures in the Tsitsikamma is one such company: one of the first to offer canopy tours in the country, and one of the first to be Fair Trade Tourism certified over a decade ago. In addition to offering visitors a beautiful adventure in a forest of Yellowwood trees, visitors also contribute to community projects by investing time and money into the company’s activities. The eco adventure company is the largest new job creator in their sector along the Garden Route region and has funded the training of guides from the community, as well as support for community projects including HIV / Aids awareness and clothing distribution.

Source: bizcommunity


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Road safety and tourism

EACH year when we attend the Cape Getaway Show many prospective tourists ask about road safety, particularly involving the N2 thoroughfare between East London and Kokstad in the Eastern Cape.

This link is recognised as one of the most dangerous in South Africa and this reputation can act as a deterrent for visitors seeking to have holidays away from the Western and Cape.

Thankfully we can offer inquirers the hassle-free option to take the Karoo and scenic R56 option via the Eastern Cape Highlands to Kokstad and then on to the coast. Not many people know this, but it is in fact the shortest route from Cape Town to the South Coast.

I have driven the R56 many times and can say that the roads are excellent, not congested with cars, public transport, heavy duty trucks, people and livestock and certainly one of the most beautiful and safe routes one can take.

What is clear is that a route to, and roads within a destination that have a poor safety reputation, can get the consumers asking questions and heading off to less daunting places to have their holidays.

In local media reports, it appears there have been an unacceptable number of unfortunate and serious accidents which may be ascribed to speed, non-roadworthy vehicles, alcohol, carelessness or a combination of it all. This is a worry.

We are committed to all and sundry having a “Sunny and Safe” experience down here. Besides the need for drivers to continually act in a law-abiding manner, a zero- tolerance approach by the authorities will also induce the motoring public to be more responsible on our roads.

I have been told by visitors that it is very encouraging when there is strong evidence of law enforcement. Their presence provides comfort to the motorist in that attention to road safety is being lent and that transgressions are being curbed.

One of the buzz terms in our industry is referred to as “Responsible Tourism” and I would say that attention to road safety by the public and the enforcement entities fits into that holistic approach.

In 1976 I spent five weeks travelling throughout the United Kingdom and in all that time I did not see evidence of a single accident (minor or major). I was amazed and impressed as would our visitors if they went home with a similar view of our district.

We can turn negatives into positives, tragedy into triumph – it just takes a collective effort. Please be safety conscious on our roads.

Source: news24


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Winners of African Responsible Tourism Awards 2015 announced

A community of tourism businesses working together to make better places to live in and great places to visit was announced Overall Winners this afternoon at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2015.

In a special ceremony at World Travel Market Africa, Gansbaai took the coveted position of Overall Winner from of a selection of 22 finalists gathered from around

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Book your seat for this seminar at Sustainability Week.

Africa.

“It is exciting to bring the Word Responsible Tourism Awards family of the Awards to Cape Town & Africa” says Harold Goodwin, chair of the Judging Panel. “There are many world class winners being announced today. Since 2004 African businesses from 14 countries have won awards, 20% of the Awards winners have been from Africa, 20% of all of those awarded.”

Speaking before a packed audience of over 100 tourism professionals, media, ministers and officials, Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa pinpointed what makes the Award winners the leaders in responsible tourism in Africa: “Our winners have a vision that extends beyond the commercial – linking business success with the wellbeing of local communities and the longevity of their environments. They want to make profits with principles, communicate balance sheets alongside beliefs, and won’t undermine passion in the pursuit of professionalism. They are resilient, determined, humanising advocates for their destinations. They are the future of tourism in Africa.”

The Awards were sponsored by the Wesgro. Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, who handed out the Awards, said: “As the proud headline sponsor of the inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards, Wesgro is delighted to pay tribute to this year’s inspirational winners. As the official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, we continue to show our commitment to responsible tourism development both in our province and on the African continent. We are pleased to recognise the vision of the Award winners for providing leadership in their respective sectors throughout Africa, and effectively contributing to growing tourism in a sustainable manner.”

 

For more information on the African Responsible Tourism Awards, click here.
Source: Media Update

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Botswana: Magosi Calls for Responsible Tourism

Kasane — Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT), Mr Elias Magosi has called upon the tourism industry to ensure responsible tourism development with particular reference to environment sustainable practices.

Speaking at the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) annual conference in Kasane recently, Mr Magosi challenged tour operators to have strategies and encompassing development plans for running their tourism facilities and their surroundings with environmental considerations in mind.

“The challenge is how all these activities in this sector take place and continue to benefit today’s inhabitants while not diminishing the benefits of natural resources for future generations,” he said.

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Book your seat for this seminar at Sustainability Week.

He indicated that as a ministry, they had always tried to find the balance decisions for environmental integrity and assured them of the ministry role to do its part in policy reviews and assessments. “We will continue to look at efforts to facilitate liberalisation of our policies and regulations for long term economic development,” he noted.

He added that it was important to introspect on many of the policies that the ministry had and identify those that can enable businesses in the industry to improve.

Mr Magosi acknowledged that he was aware of the industry’s discomfort with the new guiding license requirements. He explained that the review of the licensing was brought about to ensure Botswana’s competitiveness in the region with regards to the quality of the safari experience as well as provide guides with a career path. He assured them that the situation was being addressed between the ministry and Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA).

He explained that the Chobe Riverfront decongestion strategy whose purpose was to protect the environment was in practice and asked for patience in rolling out the strategy. “At this stage it is premature to make judgments on its impact so we plead with you to be patient and participation in implementing this strategy,” he noted.

HATAB chairman, Dr Thapelo Matsheka highlighted that statistics from United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) indicated that Africa got only three per cent from tourism while Europe got the lion’s share at 42 per cent followed by Asia and the Pacific with 31 per cent.

With that in mind, he noted that prospects for growth remained robust and encouraging. He however decried lack of tourism data which he said made it difficult to determine how much the industry contributed to the economy. “The last statistics we have were updated in 2010 and for a crucial sector like ours, this is remiss as we need these statistics for planning purposes and mapping a way forward,” he said.

Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) research fellow, Mr Johnson Maiketso also decried the lack of readily available national tourism data. He noted that the tourism policy that was in place was 25 years old and as such outdated. “It is no longer relevant and so on what basis do we then evaluate the sector?” he said.

Regarding the outdated policy, the Director of Tourism Department, Ms Kelebone Maselesele explained that since 2008 the policy had been under review but never finalised which was why the industry continued to run with a policy that was developed in 1990.

In explaining the lack of data, she said Statistics Botswana was said to be experiencing a backlog since 2011 hence the insufficient updated data in the tourism industry.

Source: All Africa


 

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Tourism is the point of convergence between the economy and the environment. The prospect of tourism dollars justifies conversation and helps to place an economic value on the environment – as such the tourism sector should be a leader within the area of sustainable business practice, and for some leading companies this is the case.
Tourism is the point of convergence between the economy and the environment. The prospect of tourism dollars justifies conversation and helps to place an economic value on the environment – as such the tourism sector should be a leader within the area of sustainable business practice, and for some leading companies this is the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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City affords local tourism entrepreneurs an opportunity to take a spot on the global stage

Ten local tourism entrepreneurs were able to market their products and services at the City of Cape Town’s stand during the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, giving them the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the world’s top travel and tourism industry buyers. The WTM Africa is a part of Africa Travel Week which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 13 – 17 April 2015.

The 10 entrepreneurs were chosen according to set criteria and were able to engage with international buyers and trade visitors at the City of Cape Town stand in the exhibition area. Among others, they had to be Cape Town-based, have been in operations for five years but not more than 10 years, and had to motivate why they believed their business should be showcased at the event.

‘The exposure for these local tourism businesses was invaluable. WTM Africa afforded them the opportunity to meet potential distributors and buyers, test market interest, evaluate the competition, identify strategic partners and position themselves globally. Our small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) gained access to registered buyers; these are potential customers who are key decision-makers in the travel industry,’ said the City’s Acting Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

The local tourism enterprises selected to be represented at WTM Africa were:

  1. Nonkululeko Charters
  2. Daddy’s World (accommodation)
  3. 33 South Backpacker
  4. Khayelitsha Travel
  5. Stobers Shuttle and Tours
  6. Sesfikile Wines
  7. Kingdom Tours & Transfers
  8. Mzansi Restaurant
  9. Enchanted Guest House
  10. Bikes and Wine (tour guides)

Cape Town Stand

‘Through Africa Travel Week, our local tourism SMMEs were able to establish relationships with tourism industry experts from across Africa and the world. The tourism industry is one of the most lucrative sectors, creating 37 500 full-time and 15 100 part-time jobs. We need to ensure that these jobs are sustained and facilitate the creation of further jobs in the sector by making these opportunities available to our entrepreneurs. By increasing international trade, SMMEs are able to become sustainable and effectively contribute to the local economy,’ said Councillor Limberg.

Africa Travel Week is the continent’s largest international travel industry event. The show attracts approximately 500 international tourism industry buyers, 4 500 trade visitors, 220 members of the media and 1 700 exhibiting personnel from across Africa and the world. This year’s event comprised of the 11th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations and three co-located World Travel Market shows, i.e. World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, the International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTMA), and the Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Africa (IBTMA) events.

Source: Responsible Cape Town


 

Tourism is the point of convergence between the economy and the environment. The prospect of tourism dollars justifies conversation and helps to place an economic value on the environment – as such the tourism sector should be a leader within the area of sustainable business practice, and for some leading companies this is the case.
Tourism is the point of convergence between the economy and the environment. The prospect of tourism dollars justifies conversation and helps to place an economic value on the environment – as such the tourism sector should be a leader within the area of sustainable business practice, and for some leading companies this is the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Responsible tourism is about ethics, not marketing

Today’s tourists look for destinations that reflect their ethics. They want to visit real communities and have real interactions with real people.

“You can’t outsource responsibility,” says Harold Goodwin, a stalwart of the global move towards sustainable and meaningful tourism.

Giving the keynote speech at the 11th Responsible Tourism in Destinations conference – part of Africa Travel Week and World Travel Market Africa being held in Cape Town this week – Goodwin stressed the need for individuals in the South African tourism industry to make significant changes to the way they do business to make tourism more meaningful and sustainable.

Why not bool your seat in advance?
Why not bool your seat in advance?

“The argument for responsible tourism was made, and won, years ago in the United Kingdom and Europe,” says Goodwin. “The behaviour of tourists travelling from these markets has already adjusted, leaving them wanting authentic, genuine and sincere travel experiences, and yet the South African industry still insists on being provided with evidence that inbound tourists want sustainable and ethical, responsible holidays.”

Goodwin says today’s British and European tourists are “responsibly aware”, demanding long-haul holidays that offer local flavour and authentic experiences.

“They want to visit ‘real’ local communities and have ‘real’ interactions with ‘real’ people. They increasingly understand the political, economic and social impact their holiday choices have and look for destinations which support and reflect their ethics. They choose products and destinations that offer unique experiences, create a sense of place and contribute meaningfully to communities. They also understand that no two communities are ever exactly the same.”

Responsibility is free
Goodwin, professor of responsible tourism management at Leeds Beckett University in the UK, adds that making tourism “better” – better for tourists, better for tourism employees, better for local people and better for the environment – is the right thing to do.

He believes the South African tourism industry must stop insisting on being given a business case for responsibility, because there is none.

“You can either choose to be responsible or you can choose to be irresponsible. It’s a choice you make. Responsibility is free, it’s there on the shelf and you can take as much of it or as little as you like, any time you like.”

Responsible tourism means being responsible and ethical at every level of a tourism business. It is a choice of how to operate, not a marketing tool.

South Africa cannot afford to rest on its laurels, and has largely failed to capture the mass European market, says Garry Wilson, mainstream product and purchasing director of the world’s largest integrated travel group, TUI Travel. He effectively holds the world’s biggest chequebook when it comes to purchasing global travel products and he sees a lot of potential for tourism growth in the South African market if it can adopt a more responsible approach.

Although traditional inbound markets like the UK remain stable, South Africa has not seen significant growth from them over the past few years, and the number of visitors from emerging markets like China and India is in sharp decline.

Choosing how to operate
The marketing of the country as a tourism destination is handled by the government-funded South African Tourism, which does not actively draw attention to businesses or tourism products that are responsible and meet the ethical needs of visitors.

Responsible tourism is often misconstrued by marketers and industry professionals who present traditional culture and community activities that don’t offer sustainable benefits to local people.

“South Africa needs to focus much more on the transition to responsible, sustainable tourism practices and the development of products and infrastructure that support them,” says Wilson.

The challenge is to design better products, more effectively market those products and make tourism more inclusive and accessible, all of which are critical to sustainable tourism growth.

“Being responsible in the tourism arena helps to lower costs, has significantly lower impact on the environment, contributes to building better places for people to live and consequently better places for people to visit. It just makes perfect sense.”

Source: Mail & Guardian


 

Tourism is the point of convergence between the economy and the environment. The prospect of tourism dollars justifies conversation and helps to place an economic value on the environment – as such the tourism sector should be a leader within the area of sustainable business practice, and for some leading companies this is the case.
Tourism is the point of convergence between the economy and the environment. The prospect of tourism dollars justifies conversation and helps to place an economic value on the environment – as such the tourism sector should be a leader within the area of sustainable business practice, and for some leading companies this is the case.

 

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Countdown to WTM Africa 2015 begins

With just under a month to go, the City of Cape Town is gearing up for Africa’s largest B2B inbound and outbound travel trade show, WTM Africa. Taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) between 15 and 17 April 2015, this year WTM Africa will be offering a vast array of business opportunities for key travel professionals and international buyers. Included in the much anticipated 2015 program is the Responsible Tourism in Destinations Conference, Responsible Tourism Awards and the WTM® Buyers Club to name a few.

Open to all travel professionals working in the African travel industry, WTM Africa is the ideal meeting place for travel professionals and buyers, allowing them to engage in real quality business. The WTM Buyers Club attracts top-quality buyers and is renowned for generating sound business leads. Buyers’ Club Members primarily comprise of tour operators, travel agents, wholesalers and private travel arrangers with purchasing power.

The WTM Africa Hosted Buyer Programme provides a cost and time effective way for top level decision makers to source new suppliers, discover new destinations, be inspired, as well as network and connect with the African travel industry. Carefully selected Hosted Buyers can look forward to a variety of benefits at WTM Africa such as a personalized diary of appointments, a substantial financial contribution towards the cost of their flights, up to 4 nights’ accommodation, exclusive networking events, access to VIP lounge and post event tours.

“The WTM Africa Hosted Buyer Programme has been extremely well received this year with increased interest from a wide variety of key buyers. With 80% new Hosted Buyers and 20% increase to date on 2014’s pre-scheduled appointments, the opportunity for economic growth in both local and international markets is huge,” says Hosted Buyer Manager, Paulina Lund.

The Responsible Tourism in Destinations Conference will be running alongside WTM Africa 2015. A core theme and focus for this year’s show is responsible tourism and how the travel industry can help improve the impact their sectors have on social development and improvement within their country, on their continent and globally. The conference presents an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved in Cape Town, South Africa and elsewhere around the world, to document good practices applied by different producer groups, and set the agenda for change for the next 10 years.

Also included in WTM Africa’s exciting line-up is the African Responsible Tourism Awards. These awards aim to celebrate the efforts made by individuals, organizations and destinations on the continent, and to inspire change in the African tourism industry. The categories for the 2015 awards include; best for poverty reduction, best for beach tourism, best destination for responsible tourism, best for engaging people&culture, best for wildlife conservation and best blog for responsible tourism.

“The World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM have been a great success at World Travel Market over the past 12 years. I’m delighted that WTM Africa will be hosting The African Responsible Tourism Awards. Tourism is central to the continent’s economy, which makes it all the more vital that the African travel and tourism industry acts responsibly to preserve and protect its unrivalled natural resources. WTM Africa is ideal to highlight the best responsible practices in the African travel industry,” says WTM Africa’s Commercial Director – Sugen Pillay.

Apart from an outstanding 3 day event programme, WTM Africa is proud to boast partnerships with key, influential African associations such The Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO), South African Youth Travel Confederation (SAYTC) and The South African National Biodiversity institute (SANBI).

KATO is Kenya’s foremost tourism trade association, representing the interests of over 250 of the leading and most experienced professional tour operators in Kenya. SAYTC is a non-profit, membership-driven organization that aims to market South Africa globally as a preferred youth tourism destination. SAYTC represents operators within the backpacking, education, tours and transport and volunteering sectors. SANBI manages the National Botanical gardens as windows to SA’s biodiversity for enjoyment and education. The gardens are picture perfect havens for biodiversity and are situated in different parts of country.

Pillay says, “Our partnership with associations such as KATO and SAYTC and government agencies such as SANBI are pivotal in furthering the African travel industry on a global stage. We are glad to be providing the ideal platform for these organizations to increase brand awareness and network with relevant industry stakeholders.”

WTM Africa forms part of Africa Travel Week which comprises of three co-located industry events namely International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Africa, International Business Travel Market (IBTM) and WTM Africa.

Source: For Immediate Release.net


 

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South African communities urged to join fight against rhino poaching

The war on rhino poaching cannot be won without the participation of communities, Chief Executive of the South African National Parks (SANParks) Fundisile Mketeni said on Tuesday.

“While carrying out our work at national, regional and international level to address the scourge of rhino poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, work is also being done at community level by institutions such as SANParks to raise awareness of the plight of the rhino,” Mketeni said at a ceremony marking the World Wildlife Day in the Kruger National Parks (KNP), one of Africa’s biggest game reserves in northeastern South Africa.

The theme for this year’s World Wildlife Day is “Wildlife Crime is serious: let’s get serious about wildlife crime”.

The aim is to highlight the positive role that local communities can play in helping to curb illegal wildlife trade.

As the eyes and ears of the government, the communities must join forces in combating poaching by blowing the whistle on this heinous crime, Mketeni said.

South Africa has adopted a four pillar strategy towards addressing the rhino poaching scourge. A key pillar highlighted in the national strategy focusses on one of the critical game- changing interventions-namely creating opportunities for communities to make alternative economic choices.

South Africa bears the brunt of rhino poaching, losing 1,215 rhinos last year.

South Africa is the custodian of the world’s rhinos. In the country, the loss of rhinos could be equated to a loss of revenue for many communities resulting in a decline in living conditions, a loss of jobs through a decline in tourism and hunting through the country’s sustainable utilisation policy, and a sad loss to a part of the country’s natural and cultural heritage, Mketeni said.

South Africa is home to approximately 21,000 white and black rhinos, of which most are found in the KNP. This represents 93 percent of the world’s total rhino population, according to Mketeni.  “The South African population is one of the last viable rhino populations in the world, which makes it vulnerable. South Africa is, therefore, the last remaining hope for the world, in terms of rhino conservation,” he said.

Rhino poaching, worth billions of dollars, deprives local communities of income that could be used to create jobs and improve livelihood in the long term instead of benefiting a small group of criminals in the short-term, Mketeni said.

Even internationally, through the sustainable development goals, there are calls to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade by increasing capacity of the local communities so as to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for future generations, he said.

In going forward, South Africa is embarking on a number of new initiatives around the KNP with a focus on projects that support the game-changing pillar of South Africa’s integrated rhino strategy, according to Mketeni.

This includes, for example, addressing basic human needs such as water provision to poor neighboring communities to be funded through rhino-related programmes, to economic opportunities associated with various benefits derived from live rhinos through community-managed rhino conservation initiatives.

In the short term, the SANParks seeks to focus on communities bordering the southern KNP Intensive Rhino Protection Zone (IPZ) with the broader vision expanding around the extent of the park’s border.

The focus has been on the community and the youth-not only the role they can play, or are playing, in combating rhino poaching, but in assisting to protect the country’s natural heritage and their economic future, Mketeni said.

Source: Coastweek.com


 

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