July 2014 – Wilderness Safaris is proud to announce that Dr Sue Snyman, Group Community and Culture Manager and Project Director for Children in the Wilderness, has been elected Vice Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS).
The appointment, announced by TAPAS Chair, Dr Anna Spenceley, will put Sue’s 17 years of ecotourism experience to good use, as she assists the Group in supporting sustainable tourism in protected areas.
“TAPAS and Wilderness Safaris share a belief in the principles of protecting the world’s pristine wilderness areas through responsible tourism while sharing the benefits with communities”, says Wilderness Safaris Chief Sustainability Officer, Derek de la Harpe. “We are extremely proud of Sue’s ongoing achievements and are confident that her unique blend of skills and experience in this area makes her the ideal candidate for this role; we wish her every success as TAPAS Vice Chair.”
Being a member of TAPAS since 2011, Sue also served as acting Vice Chair from December 2013. She has attended various conferences and meetings on its behalf, including the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference in Kenya in September 2013, and the Insaka Research Symposium in Cape Town in April this year. She also played a role in the development of a new TAPAS membership strategy, and contributed chapter sections and case studies to the IUCN Best Practice Guidelines for Sustainable Tourism.
“I have spent the past 17 years pursuing a career based on the fundamental principle that tourism and conservation are intertwined, and that together they are greater than the sum of their parts”, says Dr Snyman. “I am passionate about conservation, protected areas and the positive difference that tourism can make in the lives of local communities. Through my role as TAPAS Vice Chair, I hope to play an important part in further entrenching the Group as an important role player in the marrying of tourism and conservation in global protected areas.”
Sue also recently received a PhD (Resource Economics) from the University of Cape Town, which focused on examining the socio-economic impact of high-end ecotourism in remote, rural communities adjacent to protected areas. Her research was based on over 1 800 interviews with rural people in six southern African countries, giving her unique insight into community perceptions of nature-based tourism.
While continuing her day-to-day work for Wilderness Safaris, Sue plans to drive the TAPAS Community Working Group to provide best practice guidelines for tourism stakeholders who engage with communities living in and around protected areas.