“Wildlife tourism is a rich segment of the industry, showing how our precious species can legitimately enrich tourism businesses without being harmed. In fact, the wildlife tourism market is so strong – worth five times more than the illegal trade – that it provides a strong incentive for communities to protect and display animals to the world rather than killing them for a one-off cash bonus.”
Highlights from the report include:
The study ties in with a report released earlier this year, which found that nature-based tourism is growing worldwide, and that Africa is uniquely poised to benefit, with potential for massive growth in tourism earnings in 10 years.
Warning bells were also rung, however.
“The natural assets that give Africa its global competitive advantage – its wildlife and landscapes – are under acute threat and could be lost forever unless they urgently prove their economic as well as ecological value
“Some protected areas receive only one in every $10 (approximately R153) they need, as governments grapple with financial shortfalls amid competing priorities like health, education, and infrastructure development.”
The Space for Giants team stated that bringing new private-sector investment to underfunded protected areas to capitalise on surging interest in nature-based tourism would help fund conservation without draining state finances, while driving sustainable local and national development.