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News Article

Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods through Wildlife Tourism


World Bank publication showcases wildlife tourism models

Wildlife tourism is a powerful tool countries can leverage to grow and diversify their economies while protecting their biodiversity and meeting several Sustainable Development Goals, including SDGs 12 and 15. It is also a way to engage tourists in wildlife conservation and inject money into local communities living closest to wildlife. A new report published by the World Bank presents success stories and lessons learned from nature-based tourism (NBT) in several countries from across the globe, that can be applied to other developing countries. The report offers solutions and case studies to bring insight into this sector as a mechanism for inclusive poverty reduction and global conservation.

This report explores innovative tourism partnership and investment opportunities to help countries unlock smart investment and grow tourism sustainably. It showcases sustainable wildlife tourism models from countries including Botswana, India, Kenya and South Africa. It highlights Namibia’s successful model of NBT that promotes community conservation and has contributed an estimated N$5.98 billion (approximately US$488 million at 2018 exchange rates) to net national income and created 5,147 jobs from the beginning of 1990 to the end of 2016. In Namibia, many small tourism enterprises have been founded on communal conservancies outside national parks. Benefits to local communities are also presented from Uganda, where the gorilla tourism around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has led women to be accepted as income earners, changing the social and gender dynamics in local communities.

Case studies in the report vary widely in scale. In South Africa, over a half million tourists per year visit the southern section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, supporting 1600 direc and 6000 indirect jobs. From Malawi, the Majete Wildlife Reserve attracts around 8000 tourists, raising US$400,000 in revenue in 2016.

Where NBT is successful and sustainable, local communities, private sector enterprises, and governments can all benefit from investments in tourism through increased market opportunities and linkages to tourism services such as agriculture production, hoteling, restaurants, transportation, health services, etc. Well-planned tourism reduces poaching and increases the non-consumptive value of wildlife through viewing.

Download the report from the World Bank Open Knowledge Repository. See also a Q&A with World Bank lead economist Richard Damania about the potential of wildlife tourism.

The Global Wildlife Program (GWP) is led by the World Bank and funded by a $131 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The program is working with 19 countries across Africa and Asia to promote wildlife conservation and sustainable development by combatting illicit trafficking in wildlife, and investing in wildlife-based tourism. 

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • David Simpson
  • Date
  • 05 March 2018
  • Source
  • World Bank Group
  • Subject(s)
  • Tourism