Poverty in prime tourism areas worries Botswana minister

IT is a serious concern that many people in prime tourism areas continue to live in poverty, says Botswana’s tourism minister Tshekedi Khama. And the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in its Kasane Call to Action says the value of wildlife is a key asset of destinations.

Speaking at just ended UNWTO International Symposium and Annual Conference under the theme “Empowering Tourism Destinations’ Sustainability through Innovation”, Khama said there was need to put in place laws and regulations that would force investors in the tourism sector to declare how much they make from the sector.

“It’s a serious concern. I have been talking to the finance ministry to fasten regulations…for example, if one tour investor makes a fortune, they can be using underhand methods to give audit of at least 40 per cent and therefore communities will benefit only six per cent.  It is wrong,” said

Khama who also wondered how tour operators who claimed to be making losses had continued to do business. And the UNWTO says there is need to work in partnership with stakeholders of a diverse nature to advance shared goals to multiply results on biodiversity and wildlife issues.

The delegates at the UNWTO symposium exchanged experiences and knowledge of innovative approaches to enhance tourism and conservation planning, financing and marketing and also discussed the role of the tourism sector in fighting climate change.

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