November 2017 – Wilderness Safaris’ Group Sustainability Manager Dr Sue Snyman recently took part in the UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation) International Conference on Promoting Sustainable Tourism in Lusaka, Zambia, together with several Tourism Ministers from various African countries and international tourism experts.
The conference was one of the official UNWTO events to celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and took place from 16-18 November. Its purpose was to raise awareness and provoke fruitful discussions on the topic of sustainable tourism for development at a local and regional level, calling for collaboration between multiple stakeholders including government, the private sector, local communities and civil society.
“This collaboration will enhance the crucial role played by tourism in conservation, socio-economic development, the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and will ultimately contribute to GDP”, said Dr Sue Snyman. “It was an honour to not only attend this conference but to also present on the challenges and opportunities facing sustainable tourism in Africa, as well as presenting the keynote speech for the Wildlife Conservation and Community Engagement panel discussion on inclusive tourism, highlighting the importance of communities in tourism and conservation in a way that empowers and uplifts them”.
In addition to the “Lusaka Declaration on Promoting Sustainable Tourism, a Tool for Inclusive Growth and Community Engagement in Africa” being officially adopted during the conference, the South Luangwa National Park was officially declared an International Sustainable Wildlife Park. According to the UNWTO this will ensure that the park remains a natural wildlife sanctuary that is managed in a sustainable manner. Zambia also used the event to officially launch the Pamodzi Carnival that showcases cultural heritage products with an aim to market Zambia as a multi-faceted tourist destination.
“It was a privilege to share ideas and knowledge with so many of Africa’s inspiring leaders in sustainable tourism – there is great potential if this collective effort and passion for sustainable tourism is replicated and implemented in other parts of the continent. With many of the outcomes of the conference aligning closely with our 4Cs sustainability ethos of Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation, we are confident that Wilderness Safaris will continue to play an important role in driving sustainable ecotourism in Africa”, she concluded.