In support of the global efforts against wildlife poaching on the African continent UNWTO is currently conducting an extensive study on the economic value of wildlife watching tourism. Among other things, the study will include data based on surveys with Tour Operators and African Tourism Ministries and National Parks.
Poaching and Illegal wildlife trade in Africa
Wildlife in Africa is facing one of its greatest crises in decades, with illegal killings of protected animals reaching unprecedented levels. The international community widely recognizes that the poaching not only affects Africa’s unique wildlife as such but also has negative impacts on entire ecosystems, effectively depriving many local communities of their livelihood, and poses a serious threat to national security. Currently, international organizations and Governments around the world are mobilizing efforts to intensify the fight against poaching and illicit trade in wildlife products.
Wildlife Watching Tourism in Africa
Tourism is a principal export for many African countries and a significant source of foreign exchange. A region with great tourism potential, much hope is put into future tourism development as a vehicle for economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation.
Wildlife watching tourism is one of the main tourism products for Africa and as such a key contributor to the continent’s socio-economic development. While this observation might seem obvious, there is limited data on the overall figures of wildlife watching tourism.
With this backdrop, UNWTO is currently conducting a study to assess the importance of wildlife for the development of tourism in Africa, in order to support international efforts to fight poaching and encourage the tourism sector to collaborate in the strengthening of anti-poaching measures. The study will provide an overview of the economic value of wildlife watching tourism in Africa, including data on the dimension and characteristics of wildlife watching tourism in Africa based on surveys with tourism stake holders, and will serve as the basis for an upcoming UNWTO campaign against poaching.