Botswana: Eco Tourism Park Will Not Lead to Relocations

| February 25, 2016

By Kedirebofe Pelontle

Maun - The North West District Council's (NWDC) physical planner, Mr Steven Setimela, says the proposed Maun Eco Tourism Park (METP) will not lead to relocations of people as was initially thought.

Briefing the Maun Administration Authority (MAA) on Tuesday, Mr Setimela said there was a new set of recommendations that promoted the co-existence of people, livestock and wildlife.

The new recommendations followed concerns raised by councillors and other representatives such as dikgosi, who were against the initial METP proposal.

METP's main objective was to promote Maun as a primary tourism destination through the implementation of a community integrated tourism project.

Mr Setimela said the district had reached a consensus that the ecotourism park would not be fenced.

He pointed out that a study that was carried out by the South African Regional Environmental Programme (SAREP), who were tasked by the NWDC in 2015, had recommended fencing of the park.

"Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities and sustainable travel," he said.

Mr Setimela said the new recommendation was that the existing cordon fence be maintained and realigned when crossing deep water.

The ecotourism zone, he said, was home to people who originated there by birth.

He said they should not be relocated unless it was for their safety.

He noted that the ecotourism park would sit by tourism facilities such as hotels, lodges, cultural guesthouses, camping grounds, wildlife orphanage and breeding facilities.

Mr Setimela said the new recommendation called for careful and ecological planning, sustainable tourism and eco-tourism to maintain a balanced use of natural resources.

Maun councillors accepted the new recommendations.

Thito councillor, Mr Mmoedi Modiegi, said he believes that the Ecotourism Park will improve the livelihoods of local communities.

He also supported the idea of benchmarking on other countries. Bojanala Councillor Luke Motaleselelo said the concept is incredible, and hoped that the district would implement the study and new recommendations as they are on paper.

He also pointed out the need to educate people in remote areas for them to benefit in the long run.

The proposed Maun Ecotourism Park would traverse places such as Boro, Thamalakane River, Shorobe, Mochaba and Gabamochaa villages.

It is anticipated to improve the Maun tourism product.

Source: All Africa

Category: Governance

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