By Thobo Motlhoka
Tourism related revenues in Botswana are projected to reach an estimated 15 billion Pula by the year 2022 provided the country’s biodiversity is well preserved.
This was revealed by the US Ambassador to Botswana, Michelle Gavin at the Wildlife Enforcement Networks (WENs) meeting held in Gaborone last week. The figure would be almost double the eight billion Pula revenue generated by eco-tourism in 2012.
She said however that poaching threatens the revenue African countries earn from tourism.
“Tourism, including eco-tourism, is playing an increasingly important role in Africa’s economic development; international tourist arrivals to Africa increased even during the recent global economic crisis, resulting in billions of dollars of revenue to governments and local economies,” she said.
Gavin said wildlife trafficking has now become an issue of economic development, of health, of rule of law, and of national security. She said wildlife trafficking evades the rule of law.
“It undermines the capacity of the state to control and protect its borders. It invites insidious corruption, and pries open space for other illicit activities and operates in fundamental opposition to the sound governance that is essential for peace and prosperous growth.”
Gavin said the US government has elevated wildlife crime from an environmental issue to a foreign policy priority.
Neil Fitt, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) said poaching is gaining ground worldwide. More....