23 May 2005
Significant progress was made in the development of the /Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (ARTP) last week when local stakeholders in the tourism industry gave the nod to a tourism strategy being developed for the ARTP and surrounding areas.
Representatives of the private sector, state organs and affected communities attended a tourism development workshop at Canyon Village near the Fish River Canyon. Relevant tourism master plans for Namibia and South Africa were tabled, as well as a tourism route being developed from Cape Town to Namibia through the Northern Cape.
Buy-in for the proposed tourism strategy and vision was sought from private landowners, tourism operators, conservation and other state agencies, affected communities and municipalities by Mr Johan Louw, a specialised tourism planner for Peace Parks Foundation.
Delegates discussed how best they could become involved in the tourism opportunities as well as possible partnerships. Note was then taken of the very important upcoming synergy between transfrontier conservation projects and maximising tourism benefits for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The natural linkage between the ARTP and the nearby Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park will be exploited in a tourism development strategy for desert tourism. The draft tourism strategy is attached as a PDF file.
The International Coordinator for the ARTP, Dr Peet van der Walt, was very pleased with the positive response from all delegates. Follow-up working sessions with an increasing attendance will contribute to the consensus gained.
The development of the transfrontier project is being driven by a Joint Management Board, appointed in February 2004 following the Presidential signing in August 2003 of an international treaty establishing the ARTP.
Peace Parks Foundation - 23 May 2005