Khama talks animal conservation

The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama says Botswana is on the right track when it comes to wildlife conservation as the country continues to attract a larger number of visitors to its national parks.

Officially opening the 2015 Botswana Travel and Tourism Expo (BTTE) held in Kasane this week, Khama however noted that it was all coming at a cost for the government as first world countries rank Botswana as a middle income country, which means they no longer get aid for anti poaching or wildlife conservation.

“However in the last three years, I must say we have been very fortunate as we got some assistance particularly from Holland and recently China. But as Botswana we continue to commit and always will to our conservation strategy, and it is worth noting that the President fully supports this strategy.”

The Minister noted that is it through such conservation strategies and commitment that the world comes year in and year out to appreciate the beauty of the tourism product that Botswana has to offer.

Tshekedi added that what sets Botswana apart from other countries is the fact that it is fully committed to wildlife conservation. He however noted that there are some challenges such as demand on the natural resource from farmers and the wildlife.

“We need to manage this and that is why in Botswana we no longer talk about human wildlife conflict, we now have what we call human wildlife co-existence. The co-existence is possible because we work with our communities; we educate them and have community based natural resource management. These are the communities that derive their livelihood from our tourism so we will never achieve anything unless we work together,” said Khama

He said he believes the best decision that government has ever made was banning hunting because they realised that certain species were depleting.

The Minister however stressed the importance of taking stock of threatened species, to make sure that their decisions going forward are well informed.

The third annual BTTE is aimed at offering a unique opportunity for the global travel industry to establish business partnerships with local industry players.

It also offers a strategic networking opportunity and gives special insight into Botswana Tourism product, where one can reach to new markets and achieve their business objectives.

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