Bodies unite in highland development pact

10 June 2006

THE mighty Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier project received a shot in the arm this week when several parties were signatory to a memorandum of agreement, which will ensure the natural and cultural heritage of this internationally recognised area remains intact and is utilised for maximum benefit.

Chief Executives from Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State Department of Tourism, Environmental and Economic Affairs, Eastern Cape Tourism Board, Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation, KwaZulu- Natal Nature Conservation Board and South African National Parks confirmed the status of the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Project in Durban. Each has been tasked with particular functions:
  • Tourism KwaZulu-Natal will position the province as a premier domestic and international tourism destination;
  • Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife will focus on becoming a world-renowned leader in biodiversity conservation and protected areas management in KZN;
  • Eastern Cape has been earmarked as SA's fastest-growing tourist destination and needs to capitalise on this;
  • Free State is to develop sustainable integrated and responsible community tourism development in its province;
  • Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation is to position the country as a premier adventure tourist destination;
  • South African National Parks is to concentrate on parks being the pride and joy of all South Africans, and to attract international tourists.

Recognising that poverty is the cause of environmental and cultural heritage degradation, it was agreed that poverty should be addressed through sustainable tourism development.

Biodiversity and cultural heritage conservation should also be established as key components of local economic development. The agreement is to remain in force until the end of 2011.

Sunday Tribune - 7 May 2006Myrtle Ryan

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