On the occasion of the UNWTO Commission for Africa Meeting, a special debate was held on the on-going poaching crisis and its impact on tourism and the livelihoods of millions living off the sector in the region. In this regard, Member States mandated UNWTO to pursue its advocacy work in the area of anti-poaching, and explore how the tourism sector can help contribute to the global fight against wildlife crime.
A UNWTO report on the value of wildlife watching tourism in Africa presented at the Meeting confirms wildlife watching tourism as one of the main tourism draws in the majority of the region’s destinations. The report estimates wildlife watching tourists to represent between 80% and 90% of all visitors of protected areas. The report further identifies illegal wildlife trade as a serious issue, clearly affecting tourism development in the region, not only in terms of biodiversity loss, but also as a security threat and a negative factor affecting the international perception of African destinations.