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Global issue 12

Global InsightSustainable Tourism Transfrontier conservation in Southern Africa The linking of sophisticated conservation of wildlife with both tourism and community development is the vision behind Southern Africa’s latest ‘peace park’, but much will need to be done to ensure better visitor access Steve Felton I tion. But with the launch of KAZA comes the hope that tour- parks or on communal land run on conservation principles. Elephants-The international KAZA model eschews mass tourism, and encourages the development of small lodges and campsites within national-n a world where tourism and travel leave very large footprints,it is not always easy to see how tourism can drive conserva ism will be the economic force behind sustainable development, and other wildlife will have greater opportunities to move freely be- wildlife and habitat conservation in the Okavango and Zambezi tween park and communal land, and across national borders, and river basins in Southern Africa. visitors to the five KAZA states will have greater opportunities to see The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA wildlife that is free to roam. TFCA) came into being last year, when ministers from the five The concept is not new. In the 1990s, the International Union for participating countries – Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identified at least 70 protected Zimbabwe – signed a treaty bringing into being Africa’s largest areas in 65 countries that straddled national frontiers. It was an idea conservation area. Over 440,000 sq. km – about the size of Sweden that resonated with Anton Rupert, president of the former South- – KAZA encompasses national parks, game management areas, ern African Nature Foundation, and President Joaquim Chissano communal conservancies and farmland. of Mozambique, so that there could be a permanent link between KAZA is a conservation area, not a park. But with attractions some of the protected areas in South Africa, Mozambique, Swazi- like Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta, its potential for tour- land and Zimbabwe. ism is enormous. Take two lodges in Namibia’s Caprivi region, A report was commissioned that recommended a shift away from sandwiched between Zambia and Botswana. Susuwe Island Lodge the national park concept towards an emphasis on a multiple land use and Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge are both situated next door to na- – for people and wildlife – by introducing the transfrontier conserva- tional parks, on communal conservancies run by local communi- tion concept. There was a growing recognition that tourism could ties, which have rights over wildlife and tourism granted by the help propel economic growth in rural Southern Africa and that a sep- Namibian government. arate organisation could coordinate, facilitate and drive the process Both lodges are joint ventures between private investors and the of setting up transfrontier conservation areas, or TFCAs; the Peace conservancies. The investors provide capital and training for staff. The Parks Foundation came into being in 1997. conservancies provide game guards and eco-services that minimise Kgalagadi became the first peace park in the year 2000, abolish- poaching, so that wildlife populations increase. Namibia’s communal ing the border within it between South Africa and Botswana. Great conservancies are often adjacent to national parks, or form links in a Limpopo, between South Africa and Mozambique, and Ai/Ais-Rich- chain between parks, creating large-scale conservation areas. tersveld between Namibia and South Africa followed, but all three Support needed for sustainability in Ethiopia The geographically and culturally diverse done to improve infrastructure and serv- the south near the Kenyan border, tours to country of Ethiopia in Africa’s horn is rec- ices for tourists, Hickey believes. the South Omo offer visitors the chance to ognised as a rewarding tourist destination Without better planning and administra- mingle with tribes like the lip-plate insert- for those looking for more than beaches tion, it will be hard for the country to move ing Mursi. and safaris. But while the government eyes concertedly in the direction of sustainable Partly through neglect, one of the main up the potential revenue, more needs to be tourism, operators maintain. The industry destinations, Axum, doesn’t yet have an done to improve the experience and give has been battling the tax authority over a international-standard hotel, Hickey says, the sector a boost. VAT directive and arguing over duty-free explaining the deficiencies. “The ruling party has never taken it seri- privileges to import vehicles, says Hickey. One operator that has made a successful ously,” says Tony Hickey, the manager of Currently, the vast majority of visitors venture into sustainable tourism is Mark the well-established Ethiopian Quadrants engage in classic tours that take them to Chapman, who heads Tesfa Tours. The op- tours in the capital, Addis Ababa. The gov- visit attractions like the obelisks of the eration has evolved from a charity in 2003 ernment has invested resources in other ancient Axumite civilisation, or the mag- called Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustain- strategic areas of the economy, such as nificent churches of Lalibela carved out able Future Alternatives, which was run leather and floriculture, but little has been of rock in the 12th and 13th centuries. In with donor support. The current model is 22 lwww.global-briefing.org fourth quarter 2012global


Global issue 12
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