Development Crossing

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

PRESS Release – African Safari Lodge Foundation - Date: 17 March 2010


The African Safari Lodge Foundation (ASLF) is pleased to announce that Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) recently awarded tourism concessions on state land
and in national parks to several conservancies and communities. This is a
landmark event that will do much to change lives of the rural poor.


Peter John Massyn who heads up the ASLF says: ‘the signing of these concessions is a triumph not only because they will boost tourism development and poverty alleviation in
some of southern Africa’s poorest regions. Even more exciting is the fact that
this is not a one-off. It marks the start of a whole new way of doing business.
The Namibian government has now started systematically implementing its policy
of granting communities concessions in the country’s top tourism destinations’.


Concessions have been awarded to the Anabeb, Ehirovipuka, ‡Khoadi//Hôas and Omatendeka conservancies in Kunene Region and the Kyaramacan Association representing residents of Bwabwata
National Park in Kavango Region.  At the same event the MET approved the signing of an
operating contract between the Gciriku community and Namibia Country Lodges for
a development to start on a community tourism concession in Khaudum National
Park.


The concessions are for periods of 20 years, allowing the establishment of private sector/community partnerships to assist in the development and operation of the proposed tourism activities. Massyn says: ‘these concessions
are expected to attract capital investments of approximately N$110 million,
generate annual benefits for communities of about N$15 million and create 260 new
permanent jobs. This will go a long way to reduce poverty and uplift members of
some of Namibia’s most disadvantaged rural communities’.


Ed Humphrey, the ASLF representative in Namibia, says the signing of the concession contracts is a major step in the right direction. For the ASLF, this
milestone has been the pinnacle of more than four years work starting in 2006
with providing input to the National Policy on Tourism and Wildlife
Concessions, preparation of tourism plans in 2008 and 2009, facilitation of
concession applications by various communities, preparation of contract
documentation, and finally the signing of these agreements.  Personally, I
have been involved with helping some of these conservancies and communities in
tourism related issues since 1996 when receiving such long-term tourism rights
was still very much a dream’.  


 


The official signing ceremony of the concession agreements between the communities and the MET took place in Windhoek on the 2nd March 2010 and was attended by Minister of Environmental and Tourism Honorable Netumbo
Nandi-Ndaitwah and other dignitaries. Ndaitwah was quick to point out that over
260 jobs were going to be created by the five main tourism concessions and was
pleased at the projected outcomes. ‘Once implemented those concessions will
generate more than N$7 million annually in concession fees and taxes’, she
said.


The ASLF says that the signing of the concession contracts denotes government’s dedication to transformation and uplift. Humphrey says: ‘This landmark event clearly demonstrates MET’s commitment to enabling neighbouring
communities to benefit from tourism in protected areas. The process has been
lengthy and complicated, but the dedication of MET staff and the Hon Minister
to make this happen deserves tribute’.    


Humphrey says that in addition to the forward thinking of the Namibian government there are a number of key players that also deserve a mention. ‘The MET’s Integrated
Community-based Ecosystem Management (ICEMA) project (World Bank funded) has
provided co-financing to the ASLF to enable these activities to take place.
MET’s Strengthening the Protected Area Network (SPAN) project (UNDP funded),
has also supported the concession unit, as well as co-funded a tourism plan in
the Kunene Region.  MET’s Bwabwata, Mudumu and Mamili Parks Project
(co-financed by the Federal Republic of Government through KfW) prepared a
tourism development plan for the Kavango and Caprivi Parks. Other agencies that
supported the process include local NGO’s Integrated Rural Development and
Nature Conservation (IRDNC) and Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF)’.


These concessions will contribute towards rural development, address social inequities while alleviating poverty and earning foreign currency for Namibia. The concessions
will also assist in conserving important national resources and will do much to
enhance tourism development and sustainable resource management.


Humphrey also says, the award of Hobatere Roadside concession, which includes traversing rights inside Etosha National Park is a first for Namibia, and a very significant event. ‘We hope this will pave the
way for other community neighbours to also benefit directly from the Park in
future’, he says.


 


Humphrey is enthused by developments and points out that the ASLF team is ready to move ahead and do what is next required. He says, ‘The next big step is to support the implementation of these concessions,
including the identification of experienced and well-resourced tourism
operators to help with developing and running the concessions in partnership
with the conservancies’.


 


Massyn says that Namibia has huge potential not only as a travel destination but also as a leader in responsible tourism. ‘Southern Africa has seen strong growth in community-owned concessions in
recent years but it is in Namibia where this approach has been carried into
policy – and now practice - at scale. Namibia’s progressive approach to
community ownership of the country’s iconic attractions is showing the way for
the rest of the continent. We at the ASLF are privileged to share in this
exciting journey.’


 


Concessions at a glance


The Etendeka Concession in Kunene Region has been awarded to the Anabeb and Omatendeka conservancies, and will involve upgrading the current camp (10 tents) and the development of a new luxury lodge (15 rooms).


The Hobatere Roadside Concession in Kunene Region has been awarded to Ehirovipuka Conservancy, and will involve the development of a new lodge & campsite (30 rooms, 10 campsites) opposite the entrance gate to western Etosha
National Park.


The Hobatere North Concession in Kunene Region has been awarded to the ‡Khoadi //Hôas Conservancy, and will involve upgrading and expanding the current lodge (20 rooms) and the development of a new satellite camp (10 rooms).


The Ngoabaca - White Sands Concession in Kavango Region has been awarded to the Kyaramacan Association and will involve the development of a new lodge (20 rooms) and campsite.


The Khaudum and Sikeretti Camps Concession in Khaudum National Park, Kavango Region will involve the construction of 2 new tented camps, renovation of the existing campsites, and the establishment of day visitor facilities.

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