Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Adherence to Campfire principle benefits tourism

                                             Mark Saunders
Stephen Ephraem
CHIPINGE – A call has been made to adhere to Communal Areas
Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) principles in order to
benefit tourism.
This came out at an Environment and Tourism Indaba
that was organised by the the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality
Industry.
Campfire is a concept in which communities surrounding
wildlife areas are given 15 percent of revenue generated from tourism. The
funds are managed by rural district councils on behalf of CAMPFIRE Association.
The communities are then given their dividents by the end of each financial
year.
Presenting the challenges that tourism is facing in
the South East region of Zimbabwe, the Director of Malilangwe Conservancy, Mark
Saunders said Campire helps communities to reap benefits from their natural
resources.
“The region is losing 409ha of forest per year
due to encroachment. This should stop so that people protect their landscapes
so as to attract tourism investors in the communities. When people are
benefitting from Campfire the people might also stop ttrekking to neighbouring
countries to seek employment,” said Saunders.
He also revealed that Gonarezhou National Park, which
is Zimbabwe’s second largest public park after Hwange, has an excess of 11 000
elephants and that the excess has a negative bearing on Gonarezhou environment.
The Malilangwe Conservancy director challenged the
ministry to consider having an international airport for the Lowveld.
“In 2015 Malilangwe and Tongaat Huletts
refurbished Buffalo Range Airport so as to increase air traffic to the region.
We ask for the airport to be given international status.
“The region has all what is needed to have
international tourists come directly to the Lowveld. We have the Save, Runde
and Limpopo rivers in addition to all the beautiful landscapes and wildlife
heritage found here. The region can compete with Victoria Falls if given the
same level of attention,” he added.
From the mid 1980s when Zimbabwe adopted the CAMPFIRE
concept, it was mainly biased towards consumptive tourism that promoted spot
hunting in safari areas around national parks. A decade later, green groups
through Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites)
advocated for the abolishment of consumptive tourism in favour of consumptive
one which means the animal must be shot by a camera trigger than the bullet.
This saw the African elephant categorised as
endangered and could not be traded. Debate is still hot whether consumptive or
non consumptive tourism is the in thing for Zimbabwe.

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