023_Global12_InFocus_Tourism_5

Global issue 12

Global InsightSustainable Tourism are dwarfed by the scale of KAZA. The question is: Will it succeed? The vision of establishing a world-class conservation and tourism destination in the context of sustainable development will mean harmonising the conservation policies of the five countries, so that government wildlife and vet- erinary authorities all work together. One objective is to remove fences, allowing greater freedom of movement for wildlife across borders. But that’s not as easy as it sounds. Both Botswana and Namibia have large beef export industries, and strive to contain foot and mouth disease – endemic in Southern African wild buffalo herds – by quarantine and fencing. Small-scale farmers, who depend upon maize crops and cattle farm- ing, have a deep-rooted and realistic fear of wildlife. Elephants and baboons devastate maize harvests, and predators like lions and hyenas can prey on cattle. If a farmer has only ten cows, losing two might mean the difference between sending his children to school or not. The hope is that tourism – the fastest-growing industry in the region – will begin to tip the economic balance away from farming, by creating jobs as tour guides and other essential workers, and by sharing dividends from joint venture lodges and safari companies with communities. The Zambezi river just above the Victoria Falls – at the heart of the KAZA TFCA Dusty Rodgers runs Susuwe Island Lodge and several other joint ventures with communal conservancies in Namibia’s Caprivi re- would facilitate things more than anything else. If the hassle of vi- gion. He sees the future in tours that connect similar lodges in the sas and the wait at borders could be eliminated, new lodges might Caprivi – and beyond. He already links up with Simone Michelet- spring up like grass, bringing more tourists to the area and greater ti, an Italian investor who built the nearby Nkasa Lupala Tented income to local communities. Lodge together with Wuparo Conservancy. Both lodges are situ- Where once the ecotourism mantra was “take only photos; leave ated just outside a national park, and conservancies form a link only footprints”, the vision now is sustainable tourism. Numbers between Mudumu and Mamili national parks, creating a conserva- must be contained in order to protect the fragile habitat. One sa- tion zone rich in wildlife. Lion, elephant and buffalo lead the large fari vehicle with one or two families on board makes little impact species list, and there is a wealth of birdlife and excellent fishing on a park with a few sandy tracks, like Mudumu or Mamili. But in the area, which floods annually with water fed by the Zambezi, busloads of tourists, for which tarred or gravel roads would be re- Chobe and Kwando rivers. quired, would change the experience – and the landscape – for the Rodgers used to run a lodge in Botswana, and he regularly meets worse. So KAZA is looking at the luxury lodge and safari camp lodge owners from the KAZA countries at trade fairs. He also runs the concept to bring in the revenue that will keep the conservation vi- 5 Rivers Safaris with nine lodges and camps in Botswana, Namibia and sion alive. Zambia. The dream for Rodgers and Micheletti is to make the transit easier between the five KAZA counties, so that visitors can pass as free- ly as the elephants across the Chobe River. Steve Felton works for the WWF But that remains a dream for the moment. A KAZA ‘Uni-Visa’ a network of communities organised into in the Ethiopian highlands, which has suf- cooperatives that host visitors during over- fered environmental degradation due to in- night stops on treks. The guides have set tensive land use over the millennia. up their own businesses, while Tesfa Tours A CCA has been proposed in the deep now does the marketing and booking as a south of the country in Mursiland, home private company. to the Mursi people. With the pressures “Tesfa developed the concept of a net- of commercial agriculture – particularly work of community-run tourism enterpris- state-run sugar plantations under construc- es that would allow tourists to trek across tion – and two national parks, the conser- the remarkable landscape, getting closer to vation area could prove a lifeline for the the real culture of the Ethiopian highlands, Mursi, if it allows them to continue their and at the same time put precious money traditional lifestyles while benefiting from into the local communities for whom farm- Children in the Simien mountains hoping to sell well-managed tourism. However, for it to ing is becoming ever more precarious a some of the local handicrafts succeed, it will need not only the permis- livelihood,” Chapman says. partnership with the US Agency for Inter- sion but also the active support of the gov- Another area of promise is Commu- national Development. The framework is ernment in Addis Ababa. nity Conservation Areas (CCAs), several for local communities to be supported in of which have been established by the conservation and ecotourism development. Will Davison in Addis Ababa Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance in Such schemes are of particular importance globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l23


Global issue 12
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