Why do you consider LT&C an important initiative and why are you interested in membership?
Tourism is the largest regulated industry in the world, and where this is well managed has been shown to increase the viability of protected area management, with notable examples in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. The Kruger National Park, for example, received close to 1.7 million visitors per annum, whilst the entire protected area estate receives around 5.5 million.
Why is your case a good example of linking tourism and conservation?
Proceeds from Tourism within SANParks flagship parks, the Kruger National Park and Table Mountain National Park are able to maintain conservation management of the other 20 protected areas in our estate. In addition, successful management of these areas and tourism product diversification has ensured that SANParks
is now largely fiscally independent. Furthermore, these proceeds also support a wide variety of community beneficiation projects and environmental education/outreach project through the conservation fee communication levy, for entry into national parks. Through this, over 200 000 school students in South Africa benefit from
SANParks outreach programmes annually, which includes bringing deprived children from communities adjacent to conservation areas into the national parks for visits as well as providing them access to outreach activities such as world environment day, national water game amongst others. A number of other activities include such as youth camps and junior ranger programmes: https://www.sanparks.org/conservation/people/education/default.php
Are there plans to further improve your example of tourism supporting conservation in the future?
SANParks is constantly diversifying its tourism product portfolio to adapt to changing demands both in South Africa and globally. It has also recently developed a responsible tourism strategy which outlines the conservation growth path within a tourism context for the next decade: https://www.sanparks.org/about/responsible_tourism.php
How could your example be transferred to another protected area and how could your experience be shared with others?
SANParks is an active partner in transboundary tourism sharing management of conservation areas in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. And through this SANParks is an active collaborator in trans-continental tourism co-operation with other protected area management agencies, there are numerous examples of this that can be found on the
SANParks website as well as in popular and scientific literature. Importantly SANParks also has a strong scientific research agenda that is used directly to inform management.