Meet Dr Sue Snyman - Wilderness Safaris Regional Coordinator for Community Development and Culture, and Children in the Wilderness Regional Programme Director.
Sue joined Wilderness Safaris in 2008, bringing with her over a decade of experience in the ecotourism industry in southern Africa, including guiding, community development and liaison, camp management and environmental impact assessments as an independent consultant.
Even more valuable, in 2008 Sue completed a Master of Business Science (Economics) from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and in 2013 received a PhD (Resource Economics) at the same university. Having completed coursework at the University of Goteborg in Sweden, the focus of her PhD research measured the socio-economic impact of high-end ecotourism in remote, rural communities adjacent to protected areas. It was based on over 1 800 community surveys in six southern African countries including Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Her research and academic publications have helped prove beyond doubt that ecotourism, practised responsibly, has had a significant impact not only on the standard of living that rural people engaged in the industry now enjoy, but also on attitudes to conservation and education.
Sue’s passion for protecting the future of wildlife and wilderness areas ascertained her position on the board of Children in the Wilderness, the non-profit environmental and life skills educational programme for children supported by Wilderness Safaris in 2012, which led to her current role as its Regional Programme Director. At the same time she continues her formidable research as Wilderness Safaris Regional Community Development and Engagement Coordinator.
Other acknowledgments worth noting include Sue’s involvement as the current Acting Vice-Chair of the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Groups (TAPASG). She is also a Research Fellow at the Environmental Economics Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town and is a member of the UNISA (University of South Africa) Tourism Advisory Committee.
Sue is also currently learning how to speak isiZulu at the University of Witwatersrand as she feels it is imperative in her role, and as a South African, to have the ability to communicate in an indigenous language.