Archive for the ‘Africa’ category

This Week in EcoTourism News

August 28, 2016

An article that I recently shared pointed out how purchasing experiences brings more happiness to individuals than purchasing things.  Purchasing a home, clothing, cars, and other material goods doesn’t come close to the happiness boost that experiences such as travel, dining with friends or family, or nature does.

Spending time in nature, while minimizing impact on nature, is a travel goal worth underlining, and worth promoting wherever in the world it happens.  This past week the following stories came across my desk:

  1. Romania Tourism Revamp Aims for more Danube, Less Dracula.  One man, Mr. Patzaichin, is bringing tourists to the Blue Danube of Strauss, rather than the focus in the past two decades on the culture and myths around Dracula. Romania is a country that can certainly have both.
  2. Apatani Tribe Giving Back to Nature.  In rural India, a tribe living in the Ziro Valley is notable for their low impact on their environment.  The customs and practices of the tribe may teach others how to use techniques that have the least impact on the environment.
  3. The Nenetsky Nature Reserve in Arctic Russia is opening a new eco-tourism route, called “Barefoot Across the Tundra“, in 2017.  It’s a five kilometer route, and sounds like quite an experience:  “Walking across the tundra barefoot is a fantastic experience. You have the indescribable feeling of sinking into the moss, catching your toes on the lichen, having berries burst under your soles, and then walking across soft, warm sand,” said Valentina Semenchenko, deputy director of environmental education at Saylyugemsky National Park.”
  4. In Maine, a Couple has Started a new Ecotourism Company, Venture Outside, which aims to provide tourists with “physical and holistic activities in natural settings around the world”.  Their most popular excursion is called the TMT  — the Try Maine Tri — a five-day adventure designed to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. The itinerary includes three sports, interspersed around other activities in various places throughout Maine, including the Boothbay-Camden area, Downeast-Acadia National Park region, and Baxter State Park.
  5. The Country of Ghana is getting a 1.2 billion Ultra Modern Ecotourism Park in its Capital City.  That funding will bring construction of amusement parks, orchards, an arboretum, wildlife safaris, museums, ecocommercial enclaves, and ecolodges, with as little disruption to natural vegetation cover as possible.

Kenyan Wildlife Service CEO arrested

April 4, 2012

Ecotourism Kenya has refuted claims by the Kenya Wildlife Service that they are not responsible for the arrest of their CEO Kahindi Lekalhaile last Thursday.

Kahindi had contributed to an article in the Nation newspaper suggesting that 2,000 elephants a year were being killed in Kenya. He was arrested but released on cash bail of Sh30,000 from Langata police station until March 29, when he has to report back to CID.

On Saturday, the Nation ran a short story saying that Kahindi was never arrested and the KWS did not instigate any arrest. That prompted Ecotourism to challenge the KWS denial. “Kenya Wildlife Service has no basis to deny that the arrest of Mr Kahindi occurred. The police cash bail receipt (which clearly states that Kahindi was arrested for ‘undermining the authority of a public officer’ i.e. the complainant, KWS Director), together with Mr Kahindi’s statement written in the presence of KWS officers and and the occurrence book record attest to and confirms Kahindi’s arrest, interrogation and detention related to a complaint by the KWS Director, Julius Kipngetich about Mr Kahindi’s published opinion,” Ecotourism Kenya said in a statement yesterday.

“The cash bail period extension was signed last Tuesday morning by the Divisional Criminal Investigations Officer at Langata police station in the presence of two investigations officers from Kenya Wildlife Service,” they added. “Ecotourism Kenya still agrees with Mr Kahindi that last year witnessed one of the worst episodes of ivory poaching in recent times, which may have resulted in the death of hundreds of elephants,” said the statement.

“The poaching menace has been continued since the beginning of this year and the situation is growing worse daily, given the high number of poaching incidents reported by KWS and other wildlife stakeholders, including tour operators countrywide. This is a big threat to tourism”, Ecotourism said.

The Coat of arms of Kenya

The Coat of arms of Kenya (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ecotourism in Nigeria

February 22, 2012

When those of us in the United States think Eco tourism, many other countries come to mind.  And when we think of Nigeria, Eco-tourism is not high on the list.  But eco tourism parks across the globe are huge sources of income to any nation’s economy through the tourism sector. Eco-tourism, is fast becoming a major tourism product which destinations now parade on their tourism calendar, as most vacation seekers, tired of city life, seek destinations with huge stock of wild animals and unspoiled green reserves, which Nigeria has.

The Nigeria National Park Service has seven National Parks which span across the various ecological zones of Nigeria (with the exception of the marine ecosystem), capable of enhancing ecological processes and life support systems.

According to the NNPS, the seven national parks are located in Kaduna-Kamuku National Park, Oyo-Old Oyo Park, Borno/Yobe-Chad Basin; Cross River, Gashaka Gumti in Adamawa/Taraba; Kainji Lake in Kwara/Niger and Okomu in Edo State.

Each of them has its own unique attributes in terms of biophysical and anthropogenic resources to offer to visitors. They cover a total land area of approximately 20,156 sq. km, i.e. about three per cent of the country total land area (i.e. 932,768 km2).

As in many parts of the world, the seven National Parks are on the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution and are therefore controlled and managed by the Federal Government being the highest legal authority in the land.

However, the federal government in recent times has been grappling with the challenge of effectively funding these parks and reaping the attendant tourism gains inherent in their effective management.

Also, the national parks are supervised by the Federal Ministry of Environment, which though has the capacity to conserve the parks for conservation sake and lacks the capacity to market the parks to foreign tourists.

Spokesman for the NNPS, Mr. Emma Ntuyang, said conservation is very crucial as it is the basis for tourism promotion.

At a media parley at the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation in Abuja, in 2010, the Nigeria National Park Service (NNPS) reaffirmed the need to rebuild its long-standing partnership with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) as part of efforts to promote the national parks. The Conservator General of NNPS, Alhaji Haruna Tanko Abubakar.

The NNPS Boss who came in the company of other top management staff of the Service said, “The purpose of this visit is to rebuild the long cordial relationship between the National Park Service and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation”

He sought the revitalisation of the partnership with NTDC by way of producing jingles, billboards and a national eco-tourism expo as a way of promoting tourism in Nigeria.

President Goodluck Jonathan (yes, that is his real name, and his picture, below) at the last Abuja Carnival in November challenged state, local governments and the private sector to key into tourism development in order to create jobs

He said that the Federal Government on its part was committed to effectively diversifying Nigeria’s economic base, against the over dependence on oil and gas. Represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Jonathan stated that the government would be focusing on stimulating growth in such sectors of huge potential as agriculture and tourism.

The starting point in making the parks contribute to the economy on the scale the President desires is however, the amendment of the constitution to remove national parks management from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent and Residual lists so that state and local governments can develop new parks and open them up for tourism.

Using the example in the Philippines, Eco-parks are money making ventures and ready campaign materials for mangrove awareness.

The Zoological Society of London have been working on two projects in that country including an 800m boardwalk for visitors to explore the mangrove swamps.

In South Africa, wildlife parks form major part of her tourism package and the marketing of these assets is aggressive and organised, with statistical data to show the number of tourists that visited the sites on a weekly, monthly and quarterly bases.

In recent times however, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has been promoting a public private partnership arrangement in the management of ecotourism parks.

It will be interesting to see how this develops in the future.

The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, a...

Image via Wikipedia


Ghana says eco-tourism is the fastest growing market in the industry

October 5, 2011
TETBURY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24:  Visitors to th...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Mr Edward Awuah, an official of the Forestry Commission in Ghana, has said Eco-tourism is the fastest growing market in the Ghanaian tourism industry.

Mr Awuah said according to the World Tourism Organisation, ecotourism had an annual growth rate of 5 percent and it represented 6 percent of the world gross domestic product and 11.4 percent of all consumer spending.

He said this is not a market to be taken slightly and urged the private sector to help in the development of more ecotourism sites in the country.

Mr Awuah who is also the Coordinator for Awutu-Agona Eco-tourism, said this when he and Mr Ernest Nkansah-Kwarteng, Winneba District Forestry Manager and some Tourism students from Cape Coast inspected the five forest reserves at Awutu Bewuenum.

The five reserves being developed into Eco-tourism by the Forest Commission and the Winneba District Forest are, Akrabong, Obotoumfo, Abasumba, Ahirasu Nos one and two, all near Awutu Bewuenum in the Awutu-Senya District of the Central Region.

Mr Awuah said the reserves have been designated as a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area and are being protected for their exceptionally high levels of biological diversity.

He said around the globe, eco-tourism is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of vacationing adding that the objective of the program was to create jobs and revenue generation whilst maintaining their statuses.

Mr Nkansah-Kwarteng said the Forestry Commission has constructed tourism centre at Awutu Bewuenum with hostel facilities for visitors adding that it had also formed Community Biodiversity Advisory Groups to protect the area.

Ghana’s Ellembelle District gets money from France.

August 23, 2011
Mangrove trees bordering a tidal estuary in Ev...

Image via Wikipedia

Supporting conservation efforts, the French government has provided 44,000 Euros to support the Amansuri Estuary, Mangrove and Swamp Forest Conservation Project in the Ellembelle District.

The project which will span 18 months, will give the Ghana Wildlife Society the opportunity to develop the ecotourism potential of Amansuri wetlands in areas such as Old and New Bakanta, Nzuleluenu, Ampain, Sanzule and Alabokazo in the Ellembelle District.

Speaking at the launch of the project at New Bakanta, the head of the community-based Natural Resource Management of the Ghana Wildlife Society, Reuben Otoo, said the project will involve biodiversity surveys, conservation education programmes, socio-economic surveys and demarcation of Amansuri wetlands as community reserves.

Mr Otoo said the project will make Amansuri estuary a preferred tourism destination for both local and foreign tourists.

He added that the project is an extension of the Amansuri/Amanzule Conservation and Integrated Development, project in the Jomoro District which was started in April 2000 with funding from the Netherlands Embassy.

Mr Otoo called for cooperation and support from the beneficiary communities to ensure successful implementation of the project, adding structures will be put in place to enable the community to own it.

The DCE for Ellembelle, Daniel Eshun, expressed appreciation to the French government, Ghana Wildlife Society and other development partners.

He said the project has come at an opportune time as it will restore sanity and conserve the area.

The DCE said the assembly is also in the process of gazetting its bye-laws to give legal backing to enforce the laws designed to protect the environment.

Mr Eshun appealed to traditional authorities to desist from outright sale of land to investors but rather use them as equity in business.

The President of Nzema Maanle Council, Awulae Annor Adjaye, urged the people to desist from unnecessary felling of trees along the Amansuri wetlands.

He appealed to the people to be watchful and report any oil spillage in the area.

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Seychelles meeting promotes ecotourism

February 20, 2010
:La Digue Seychelles Photograped by Mila Zinko...
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A week-long series of meetings was held last week in Victoria’s International Conference Centre under the theme “Wetlands connect life and culture,” which saw the secretary general of the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands attend the key meetings. A range of researchers, conservationists, governmental, diplomatic, and civil society participants also participated in the discussions.

The Seychelles was chosen for the global event to highlight the country’s commitment to protect the fragile marine ecosystems and mangrove forests along sections of the islands’ shores. Three of the archipelago’s already protected wetlands are now listed as global RAMSAR sites, including the Aldabra atoll, which is only a small part open for explorer and adventure tourism so that the area can be kept free of too much impact. Research and monitoring has clearly a higher priority than promoting a Galapagos scenario. An additional three sites have been earmarked to join the RAMSAR list in the near future, which includes the fabled Vallee de Mai on Praslin Island, home of the coco de mer palm trees.

The Seychelles’ two major economic activities, tourism and fishing, both depend on intact ecosystems and a high level of environmental protection, and it appears that government and civil society are committed to the preservation and, where necessary, best mitigation measures possible.

A new promotional brochure was launched for the tourism industry under the heading “Wetlands and Ecotourism in Seychelles,” which will give visitors to the archipelago added up-to-date information about these critical areas. The new material covers the 20 best-known ecotourism attractions on Mahe, a further 8 such sites on Praslin, and 7 on La Digue islands, while 9 more have been highlighted from other islands across the extensive island chain.
The policy and research unit at the Seychelles Tourist Board has confirmed that this initiative is a result of committing the country to the principles of ecotourism since 2003.

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South Africa an eco-friendly travel destination

February 12, 2010
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Thinking about a trip to South Africa? One travel expert has commented that the country is one of the best for its drive towards eco-tourism, something that could please people intending to visit the region.

Jeremy Smith, author for Rough Guides, described the way South Africa has embraced eco-tourism as “amazing”.

“When they do it well, they do amazing engagement there, you really connect with South Africa and meet the communities,” he explained.

Mr Smith pointed out that exploring off the beaten track is the best way to truly discover the spirit of a country and have memorable experiences while travelling.

He added that eco-tourism does not need to be expensive, noting that opting for a home stay rather than a hotel is just one cheap way that holidaymakers can give something back to the community.

According to a report released by the Co-Operative Bank in December, spending on eco-travel has increased nine-fold since 1999, reaching £1.7 billion in 2008.

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