PG TOPS TRAVEL AND TOURS and LUXURY SAFARIS owner Pieter Geldenhuys recently attended the SATSA (South Africa Travel Services Association) annual conference.
At the conference, the organization’s macro intervention conservation project was launched. The Tourism Conservation Fund will seek to align public and private sector organizations at scale to address the most important aspect of conservation in Africa: the human element.
PROBLEM: Human population is expanding exponentially, and available land for our animal kingdom is diminishing.
PROBLEM: Widespread poverty and inequal distribution of gains from a lucrative tourism industry to communities is creating an US-and-THEM situation which encourages poaching and disinterest in immediate conservation.
PROBLEM: Public Sector resources are overtaxed and underfunded to address the core of the problem, as well as police the resulting destruction of Africa’s resources.
SATSA under the leadership of David Frost has stepped in, with the charismatic stewardship of Colin Bell and widely supported by Peace Parks, SANPARKS and the Conservation Lab. An administered fund contributed to by the members through a voluntary levy on all future bookings of 0.5% should contribute a minimum of R200 million within two years.
We are wholeheartedly committed to support this endeavour, which will aim to fund and sustain vital conservation projects in and around our national parks, with a core focus on upskilling and engaging the local communities.
We firmly believe that this is the way to go. We will continue with our efforts at a micro level to upskill and engage through T.B.C. and other company level initiatives, but we will also actively contribute and engage with the organization to support this plan.